HARMAN reinforcing growth across the professional segment

Interview

HARMAN reinforcing growth across the professional segment

HARMAN post acquisition by Samsung has registered impressive growth across the professional segment and reiterated its position as a leading player in the market globally. Under Prashant Govindan, Senior Director, India & SAARC region for HARMAN professional, HARMAN has seen remarkable growth in India and other regions.
In an exclusive interview, Prashant reveals the growth of HARMAN across the market segment and the game plan for the future.

Prashant Govindan

Senior Director of Harman Professional for India & Saarc

Q. We understand that you now have a new role defined for you. Please tell us briefly about your new role and responsibilities

I have been in my current role as the Sr. Director, India and SAARC for HARMAN professional for about 2 years. I head the professional solutions business with P&L responsibility for the geographies mentioned here. The role comprises managing sales, marketing, business development, application engineering, finance, supply chain and general management. We have several verticals such as cinema, touring (sound and lighting), recording & broadcast, and live sound in our entertainment solutions business. In the enterprise side, we look into installed audio, video and lighting solutions for hospitality, corporate, education and government verticals. I also look after our business in the SAARC nations which includes Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

Q. HARMAN offers a complete range of products for various segments which include Broadcast Radio, Broadcast TV, Cinema, Recording Studio, Live Entertainment …etc. Which is the segment which gives the largest business/sales in India?

India has traditionally been a strong live sound and cinema market for us. We continue to have leadership position in these verticals with double digit growth YoY. In addition to this, we are making rapid strides into lighting, video and control systems. Some of our recent wins are in the architectural lighting segment especially in creative lighting of facades and interiors. In terms of verticals we have seen strong growth in the corporate AV market, especially with renewed focus on AV over IP systems.

Q. Tell us briefly about the new products launched by HARMAN and their USP and how do you think it will have an impact on the market?

Our continued focus on providing cutting edge and timely solutions to the touring and rental segments have resulted in the new touring line array loudspeakers and lighting products. Of special mention here is the JBL VTX A series line array products which was showcased during the PALM Expo in Mumbai. The JBL VTX A8 3-way compact line array system provided sound reinforcement at the HARMAN Live Arena. This product has been winning accolades including one at the PALM awards for the best product in its category. Also, we launched a new range of lighting products under the Martin brand including the MAC Allure – next generation profile products for stage and façade and the ELP line – full color ellipsoidal profiles for stage and theatrical applications. In other segments, we have introduced a range of JBL Nano series value engineered desktop monitors keeping the prosumer market in mind. These monitors will target the hitherto unaddressed markets for online content creators, you-tubers and audiophile consumers who expect excellent quality of sound at affordable prices. In our continuing push within tier 2 and tier 3 markets especially for live sound, we have created all-in-one sound system product bundles at very attractive price points.

Q. How has the growth been for HARMAN in emerging markets like India? How do you compare the growth with markets in other parts of Asia?

Our growth in India has been a remarkable story. HARMAN established its R&D and sales office 10 years ago in Bangalore and then gradually expanded operations across the country. We currently employ over 5000 people in India across our four divisions including connected car, lifestyle, professional solutions and connected services. India has transformed into an important hub for both connected car and professional solutions R&D and software development for global customers.

Overall, our emerging market strategy for professional solutions has been to provide value based solutions without compromising on quality or service. We embarked on our focus on BRIC and other emerging markets about 7 years ago. In India we went one step ahead and took over the onus of distribution to channel direct in 2012. This has given us rich dividends in terms of market presence and revenue growth. The next step we took was in making product available across India at accessible pricing and backed it up with extensive support and service. We were the first ones in the market to introduce 3 years

warranty service from an International brand. We have now embarked on creating products specifically for India and SAARC markets. Our first product line has been in building value oriented products like mixer-amplifiers and entry-level rugged loudspeakers for rural and semi-urban markets.

Q. HARMAN has seen a major growth with its acquisition of leading brands in the past few years? Is there any major acquisitions plan on the anvil?

HARMAN’s success has been in acquiring brands and technologies and leveraging on the strengths of the individual brands and bringing out joint synergies. Our acquisitions have been keeping in mind opportunities in extending our existing lines of produces while leveraging on the potential opportunities in adjacent markets. I’m not in the position to discuss/comment on our acquisition strategy going forward.

Q. What’s your mantra for growing the business for HARMAN in markets like India?

As mentioned before, HARMAN is committed to investing in emerging markets like India and creating products and solutions for such markets. In the professional solutions division we are focused on providing Audio, lighting and video solutions to markets ranging from corporate AV, education, transportation, houses of worship, recording & broadcast, cinema, live sound, entertainment venues, nightlife and government & public facilities. In doing so, we have expanded our offerings from what we traditionally offer in tier-1 markets to now cater to the requirements in tier-2 and tier-3 markets. We want to be culturally relevant while providing cutting-edge solutions to all segments.

Q. How has the acquisition of HARMAN by Samsung helped in the overall business strategy for brand Harman?

As you are probably aware HARMAN was acquired by Samsung in 2017 and is now a fully owned subsidiary of Samsung. The acquisition has opened several avenues for synergistic growth and we continue to leverage on Samsung’s leadership position in electronics. In the professional solutions division we closely work with Samsung on everything from corporate AV solutions to hospitality solutions to next-generation cinema solutions.



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