A couple of days ago I wrote about my forthcoming attendance at the Panasonic 2011/12 Home Appliances Launch in Sydney which was held in the penthouse at the Diamant Hotel. Tonight, I’m going to share with you my thoughts of the event itself and what I saw as an invitee on behalf of the Panasonic Insider Crew (as the Insider Guru) with other attendees from Soup.
I’ll go into more depth about some of the products in future articles over the next week.
In terms of the venue, you could be forgiven for thinking that a penthouse is a very strange place to hold any sort of product launch. Particularly for those of us in the technology industry we’re used to those formal events with keynote speakers up on stage. Perhaps they will stand behind a lectern and show images of new products and talk about them. Others still might give you a glimpse of the device but not give you the opportunity to get up close to get a good look.
Well, the penthouse afforded the opportunity to see these devices in a setting resembling that of a household which I think was a nice touch that could stir more natural thought from attendees particularly around how the devices might fit into their own homes (such as hinge options on a fridge to prevent banging into an adjacent wall).
There were also some fantastic views of Elizabeth Bay and the Harbour Bridge out the north side of the penthouse and some very tasty nibbles (the duck crepes were quite yummy) and suitable beverages for the non-drinker
So anyway, after introductory “om noms” and mingling we were ushered upstairs for a short welcome from Soup (Michele Bray) and then an introductory piece from Panasonic (Matt Harrison) touching on the new “ECONAVI” designation that sought to combine ease of use with environmentally friendless in light of rising energy prices and energy efficiency scrutiny. After that, we were split up into several groups. I ended up in the “yellow” group for what it’s worth which was also the smallest group (which I thought was a bonus). The groups moved around to view the various appliances on show with a chance to ask questions after each presentation.
My group started off in the bathroom to have a look at men’s shavers and the electric toothbrushes.
There was quite a range of shavers on show with anywhere between one to five blades. As the only male in the group I was worried if my beard (which primarily exists out of my ongoing laziness to get up out of bed early in the mornings to shave) looked appealing for a demonstration but there were no problems there.
We then had a look at electric toothbrushes.
There were two models on show with the battery operated travel toothbrush at the front (those mascara looking cylinders) and the more substantial and powerful rechargeable toothbrush off to the right.
We were then lead out to the bedroom to have a look at a new cordless phone featuring new technology allowing continued used of the phone during a blackout as well as a TFT LCD screen with very good contrast (which is perhaps important for blackouts in the middle of the night). Unfortunately none of my photos turned out right though given the dim lighting but I will try and source one from elsewhere and include it in the follow up article.
We were then escorted back out to the lounge area for a presentation on air conditioners.
The unit mounted at the top was actually operating which was interesting given that I thought it needed its external counterpart and plumbing to work. Nonetheless, we could see how its ECONAVI sensor worked and reacted to the number, position and movement of people in its vicinity. More on this in a future blog post.
After that we went downstairs to look at the new front load washing machine (which has only been on the market for six weeks) and new fridges due for release next year.
First up, I need to mention that the production washing machines will not come in a transparent chassis (much to my disappointment). This model shown was transparent so we could see its innards while we had an explanation on how the various elements were significant to the overall design (particularly the huge 10kg drum in a standard 600 x 600mm chassis plus a larger door). I will be writing more about this in another update.
We then swivelled around to check out the new range of fridges.
These fridges did look rather stylish and sported some interesting features such as a technology designed to keep vegetables fresher for longer, the freezer being accessible as a drawer and a “quick freeze” function.
We then went back upstairs to the kitchen to check out microwaves, a bread maker and rice cookers.
Finally, we checked out an iron which has received a number of design awards overseas. Panasonic have actually been making irons for eighty years – a very long time!
Now I do iron my own polo shirts from time to time so irons are not a completely foreign concept to me. You’ll notice that the soleplate is an interesting shape. While conventional irons have one pointy end (for want of a better technical term) you get two of them which helps to cut down on awkward wrist twisting when you want to manoeuvre a pointy end in between shirt buttons for instance.
After that, the night was wrapped up with some more nibbles and drinks and some door prizes before we scooted out.
So anyway, I am partnering up with Judith Carson who will provide some more product coverage and Tia Porter who will be covering all of the kitchen appliances on her new dedicated technology blog while I will be covering the rest, specifically:
- the air conditioners,
- the cordless phone,
- the shavers,
- the electric toothbrushes,
- the washing machine.