Anand Ramamoorthy, Country Head & Managing Director, India Operations, Harman International (India) Pvt. Ltd., shares his views with Telematics Wire about the in-vehicle infotainment segment and road ahead for the company.
Q Could you please tell us about the Harman International India initiative?
Harman International Industries Inc designs, manufactures and delivers a wide range of premium audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, profess ional and consumer lifestyle markets. Harman began its India operations three years ago and has been growing steadily in size and scale since then.
Q How has been the presence of Harman International so far, in the Indian market space?
In the last 15 months we have grown aggressively. Our headcount has doubled (150 to 350+) and we recently inaugurated our new development center in Pune and acquired our third office space in Bangalore. We have built sales and marketing infrastructure for our consumer lifestyle and automotive business from scratch. There has been a complete realignment of distribution channels aimed at profitably growing the India business from the current $50M level to $300M in less than 3 years.
In April, we were awarded the Tata infotainment business valued at $250 M (lifetime revenue). As a part of this deal, Harman is creating custom audio, navigation, and multimedia solutions for vehicles across Tata’s model lines. Additionally, we won the Branded Audio business from Tata and we would also be supplying speakers to Mahindra Reva’s NXR. We are in advanced discussions with many Indian and Global OEMs for India Infotainment and Telematics Solutions. We are working towards setting up a manufacturing facility which is expected to be operational by Q3-2013.
Q While Harman has been into the high end vehicle entertainment segment, do you think we in India are ready to move towards the much anticipated infotain-ment in the vehicles?
Increasing penetration of smart-phones and tablet devices has helped deliver information and media content to an Indian consumer in way that was not possible earlier. A consumer today has a strong need to be connected and online always. In addition, the preference to have a high quality audio experience in the car is also increasing. These trends are driving greater adoption of line fitted Infotainment systems by OEMs in India. We believe Harman India with its global experience, strong local engineering and understanding of Indian customer needs is well positioned to deliver.
Q Do you feel the growth of infotainment and more and more devices and application getting integrated to the infotainment system is adding to the distracted driving?
Harman is a world leader in enabling technology and device integration in a safe, driverfriendly way inside an automobile. Harman works very closely with the biggest automakers across the world in bringing tight integration of personal smart devices such as phone and tablets into the car while ensuring compliance with automotive safety standards. A good example of this would be Harman’s Aha Radio & Connected Car technology platform which brings media, news and other content in an automotive friendly manner inside the car.
Q Would you like to comment on recent acquisition of Interchain Solutions and how it adds to the value proposition or market presence for Harman in Indian market?
Telematics is a strategic growth segment for Harman India and we are actively focusing on targeting customer opportunities in this space. Acquisition of Interchain enables Harman to deliver both entry and high level Telematics solutions to Automotive Passenger & Commercial OEMs, Transportation, Logistics market segments in India.