Products & Innovation
At HARMAN, we provide cutting-edge automotive and consumer listening experiences that transform the way our customers experience the world. Innovating and driving new solutions is one of the six key pillars that drive our mission, vision and values as an organization.
As our markets grow and change, we are exploring exciting solutions that meet emerging needs. The automotive industry, in particular, is entering its greatest period of change in decades. The prioritization of sustainability and global climate change concerns have inspired widespread innovation and encouraged the development and sales of electric vehicles. In fact, according to research from the Experiences Per Mile Advisory Council—a coalition of mobility leaders that HARMAN and SBD Automotive formed in 2019, 24% of new cars sold in 2030 will be electric, up from just 3% in 2020.
HARMAN is committed to meeting the diverse and evolving needs of customers and being part of a sustainable future. Through our learning mindset, which yields continuous improvement, we are developing award-winning products that utilize energy efficient technology, reduce carbon emissions, and incorporate sustainable materials.
Our innovation and design teams evaluate emerging market trends and are inspired by the future needs of our customers. We harness what we have learned through each phase of the design process. We begin with the development of a compelling idea and determine whether it is achievable and attainable. We then refine and reiterate what we have learned to ensure our focus delivers on our goals for final use and performance. By communicating our learnings with relevant business units, we leverage the momentum from one design idea to inspire and generate new questions and concepts. A sampling of eco-friendly products and solutions that HARMAN unveiled or enhanced in 2019 and 2020 follows.
HARMAN’s commitment to sustainability and increasing consumer demand for green products inspired the JBL Flip 5 Eco edition, HARMAN’s first portable Bluetooth speaker made out of 90% recycled plastic. The speaker packaging is also eco-friendly, including a protective case made of biodegradable materials. As the number one selling portable speaker in the world, the JBL Flip 5 Eco edition is a pioneer in its category. This eco-friendly product and case also conform to the global 3R1D (recycle, re-use, reduce, and degradable) sustainability standard. HARMAN is excited to further evaluate and incorporate the use of recyclable plastics and biodegradable materials in more consumer electronic products.
HALOsonic is a suite of sound management technologies that makes electric and hybrid vehicles safer, potentially increasing the adoption of these low emissions vehicles. It can add and remove sound without adding weight to the vehicle which would in turn increase carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. HALOSonic solutions include Electronic Sound Synthesis (ESS) and Engine Order Cancellation (EOC). EOC is a radical new way to reduce engine noises that bypasses the traditional heavy, noise-dampening insulation. EOC technology sends a noise-cancelling audio signal through the vehicle stereo, tuned to engine speed. ESS technology equips electric and hybrid vehicles with audible feedback both inside and outside the car.
As growth in the electric vehicle (EV) market continues to accelerate, so does consumer demand for premium, personalized in-cabin experiences. With a focus on efficiency, EVs have not always offered the same level of premium in-cabin features available in traditional vehicles. HARMAN’s EV Plus+ Solutions were developed to fulfill the needs of the eco-conscious consumer seeking a premium in-cabin experience. EV Plus+ Solutions provide a scalable, lightweight, and reduced complexity system architecture that provides double the acoustic power and performance when compared to a traditional audio system.
Through EV Plus+ Solutions, HARMAN has developed audio systems with improved energy efficiency that require fewer parts than traditional systems. Among the EV Plus + Solutions, HARMAN’s Ecotect technology is more lightweight and consumes less power than traditional systems while delivering premium audio quality. To further support the EV marketplace and HARMAN’s eco-conscious consumer base, HARMAN has also developed the Audio Marketplace and the eESS Safe and Sound system. Both elevate the EV experience through the enhancement of audio and communications devices as well as aiming to improve pedestrian safety outside of the vehicle through external speakers which inform pedestrians of an EV’s speed and location.
Some of our luxury products –like Mark Levinson amplifiers, the Lexicon DD-8 multi-room amplifier and the JBL Synthesis SDA series multichannel amplifiers – all meet or exceed worldwide regulations that push for energy efficiency, including the EuP Directive 2005/32/EC, which calls for products to have 0.5W or less of power consumption in standby. The new generation of Mark Levinson amplifiers offers three standby modes, so owners can tailor the power consumption-versus-startup-time trade-off optimally for their needs. New Mark Levinson products, including the No 519 streaming audio player, consume less than 0.5W of power in “Green Standby” mode – a setting that is available on all recent product lines.
Software platforms such as AMX’s RMS Enterprise can manage the remote power-down of Audiovisual (AV) assets simply and effectively. They can also support tracking and displaying information on energy management for all monitored assets in the system, regardless of their location. For an IT or AV manager, this means clear visibility of energy utilization along with the ability to remotely place AMX and other equipment in standby mode. AMX building automation systems also use occupancy sensors to ensure lights and other AV equipment are turned off in empty rooms. Other inventive applications of room automation solutions include end-of-meeting and end-of-day timed shutdowns that serve energy efficiency needs by turning down the power after meetings, workdays or in case of idle activity.
Our customers are increasingly seeking packaging that is recyclable and sustainably sourced and produced. This is an opportunity we are excited to continue to explore. We are evaluating the incorporation of recycled and sustainably sourced materials in our packaging. In addition, we are investigating ways to reduce packaging waste through minimization of packaging materials and the removal of individual component plastic wrapping or bags.
The materials used to build our durable casing are also an important consideration. For example, we have carried out Lifecycle Assessments (LCA) for a subwoofer and an amplifier to understand the environmental impacts these products have and identify opportunities to further integrate sustainability into their product design.