Making Sense of Samsung’s Harman Acquisition

Samsung’s recent acquisition of Harman International for $8 billion has been the talk of the AV industry. Though the full impact is still a year or two away, AVWeek broke down the potential changes on the way in Episode 273, “Watson’s Seoul.”

The consensus among AV insiders is that Samsung is looking to make a play in the smart car arena. Acquiring Harman, which is primarily known for providing branded audio systems and solutions to vehicle manufacturers, is a strong first step. According to the podcast panelists, cars are the next frontier in consumer electronics and customers expect them to be just as connected and functional as smartphones, computers and integrated home electronic systems. This acquisition will help Samsung create a more connected life for customers, allowing them to move seamlessly from a connected car to a connected home and beyond.

But the Harman acquisition brings much more than just a foot in the door of the automotive industry. Harman is innovating in other technology ecosystems as well. For example, Harman has a close working relationship with IBM and the super-computer, Watson. Using Watson’s cognitive learning capabilities, Harman just completed a proof of concept at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, using Watson as a voice assistant in patient rooms. Drawing on its extensive base of knowledge, Watson was able to assist healthcare professionals deliver on specific needs by finding relevant solutions and applications.

This sort of IoT capability has broader applications in education, government, and corporate settings. For example, in a smart conference room a meeting organizer could tell the room to schedule a follow-up meeting using information already stored in connected applications such as Outlook. This biggest concern associated with this type of innovation, especially for government and financial clients, is security.

Security concerns notwithstanding, however, this acquisition as a whole is pretty much all upside. Integrators will be able to package and sell higher quality integrated systems, and developers will have greater opportunities to create the synergy and easy-to-deploy solutions customers are looking for.

Learn more about the Samsung/Harman acquisition and the good things that lie ahead by listening to the full podcast today.

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