AVNation’s Tim Albright highlights the AtlasIED story, which is one of innovation, growth, and taking care of our community
When the team at AtlasIED began talking with me about their new Atmosphere product launch, I was quite humbled to be asked to help. AVNation was able to create a unique experience for both the AtlasIED team, their dealers, the press watching, and curious AV professionals. As we began digging into the details of this project, there was an underlying story that had nothing to do with technology. This is a story of innovation, growth, and taking care of our community.
Samsung bought Harman in November of 2016. In the fall of 2017, Harman Professional let go 650 employees; roughly half of their workforce. These layoffs impacted product managers, salespeople, technical support, and even our own Bradford Benn. The job elimination also cost a number of engineers their livelihood.
At the time, the engineers at Harman created BSS audio DSP (digital signal processors), Crown amplifiers, JBL speakers, and AMX control and video processors. These were a smart group of brains who suddenly had nowhere to go.
John Ivey has been in the process of evolving AtlasIED in recent years. The company has been known for creating airport and transportation communication system. If you have flown within the United States, there’s a 90-percent chance you have heard an AtlasIED system. Throughout the world, the company has a 50-percent market share. Now Ivey has set his sights on creating solutions for the commercial audiovisual market.
These two stories cross with a gentleman I met through my friend Bradford Benn. Tom Lureman was an engineer with Harman when I met him at ISE 2016. Bradford can be rather loud so anyone else is quiet, comparatively speaking. Tom was even more so. But his quietness disguises his intellect. Lureman is a creative and smart engineer. Bradford had begun having talks with Ivey about joining AtlasIED. Within those talks, Benn introduced Ivey to the Harman family — or, former Harman family. Tom Lureman was one of the first ex-Harman engineers that John Ivey hired. Lureman was out of the Elkhart, Indiana office. There were others there as well who had created an impressive team atmosphere and none had a desire to move. So, Ivey hired the entire team and bought offices in Elkhart to house this brain trust.
The next step is what puts this story above and worthy of writing. Internally, the newly appointed engineer team, and executive management were in conversations about what areas of audio technology to focus on. The Elkhart team mentioned that there was a cache of talented engineers on the market in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake was the site of Harman’s BSS Audio team. John Ivey hired almost the lot of them. Shortly afterward, AtlasIED’s Salt Lake City office was opened.
In all, John Ivey and the AtlasIED team hired dozens of former Harman employees that had been let go. It was this team that set out with “a blank sheet of paper”, according to Ivey, and crafted Project Apollo. Apollo would eventually be introduced to the world as Atmosphere, a brand new digital audio ecosystem.
Ivey says: “AtlasIED is one of the best places in the AV space to work, we just need to let people know that.” Not only did Ivey put his proverbial money where his mouth is, in doing so, he was able to evolve AtlasIED into a solutions provider and create a new ecosystem for dealers and their clients.