Samsung grabs piece of the action around connected car
Samsung has identified connected technologies, and in particular the connected car as a top priority market; Samsung expects that this market segment will grow to a volume of more than $100 billion within the decade ahead. With more than 30 million vehicles currently equipped with Harman’s connectivity platforms and audio system, Harman is regarded as the market leader whose expertise also covers the fields of telematics, connected safety and security. This field includes software updateability for cars across the air interface (OTA), a feature on which the automotive industry is currently feverishly working. Samsung, on the other hands, already has significant expertise in complementary technology fields – namely 5G and cyber security solutions.
In addition to technologies related to the connected car, Samsung also expects beneficial effects in the fields of semiconductors, displays, and consumer electronics. In the latter area, Harman has a very broad range of well-established audio brands like JBL, Harman Kardon, AKG, or Bang & Olufsen – to name just a few.
It is planned that Harman will operate as a standalone subsidiary of Samsung, and Dinesh Paliwal will stay at the helm of the company. Likewise, Samsung plans leave Harman’s work force, headquarters and facilities widely untouched as part of a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics.
Over the past year, Harman itself was a very active player in acquisitions and takeovers – for instance, in 2004 the company bought the QNX real-time operating system from the eponymous software company and resold it to Research in Motion (vendor of the Blackberry secure smartphone family) in 2010. QNX was and is widely used in the automotive industry, including in Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system. In 2014, Harman bought S1nn GmbH, an infotainment engineering company based in Stuttgart with customers ranging from Audi to Porsche and Tesla. One year later, Harman acquired Redbend Software for its expertise in OTA technology.