Harman won't be just about speakers
Normally when we hear or read the name Harman, we just think of things like good quality audio, be it for home or for your car. Actually, Harman’s reach goes far beyond the brand that bears their name (Harman Kardon) and does own a variety of brands that are used by a lot of automakers. JBL (Ford, Toyota, etc.), Infinity (Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, etc.), Lexicon (Rolls-Royce, Genesis), Bang & Olufsen (BMW, Ford, Audi, Aston Martin, Genesis, etc.) and Mark Levinson (Lexus) among others.
Yes, they have a wide reach, but they’re looking at expanding that even further now that the company is under Samsung.
At the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), Harman announced that they are venturing further out from just producing audio systems for cars to reinventing the entire in-car tech experience. Harman has actually been working on a suite of advanced tech features intended at enhancing safety and entertainment while on the road.
Harman calls their display at CES the Explore Showcase 2023, and they’ll be demonstrating a variety of new and advanced in-car features that can do a variety of things. Harman has a system that can listen for the sounds of emergency vehicles (e.g. ambulances) and glass breakage (e.g. if someone broke in). They have a feature that can detect your eye activity and calculate how anxious, drowsy, or distracted you are. They will even have (based on what the information says) a feature that will have a kind of in-app purchase for upgrades and the like… as if we need more of those.
But as car enthusiasts, the features we’re more interested in are what Harman has in the way of a heads-up display (HUD) that will have augmented reality (AR) technology. They call it the Ready Display and it displays a variety of information via Neo QLED (thanks Samsung), while the AR system is called Ready Vision.
“The consumerization of automotive has rapidly and drastically changed expectations for what vehicles today need to deliver,” said Christian Sobottka, President, Automotive at HARMAN International. “We all expect our vehicles to become an extension of our digital lives and deliver the same connected experiences we enjoy at home, at work, and everywhere in between.”
Harman really is venturing far beyond just making great speakers with clear audio.