There will be increased retail presence over next few years: Harman India country head

Written by FE Online | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 28 2014, 20:35pm hrs
Harman IndiaHarman International (India) Country Head and Managing Director Lakshminarayan.
With two large development centers in Pune and Bangalore, Harman India has made significant investments in the country to offer customers here customised audio and infotainment solutions. The company has also established a manufacturing facility and a state of the art Acoustics lab in Pune with the first phase of manufacturing focussed on production of next generation audio and infotainment systems for Tata and Fiat projects. In an interview to financialexpress.com, Harman International (India) Pvt. Ltd Country Head and Managing Director Lakshminarayan speaks about the companys plans

What is Harman's product roadmap in India

A: India is a very important market for us. Recognising this, we continue to introduce a new line up of market relevant products, increase our footprint, strengthen our service and support network and enhance our reach through associations with our partners across our three business units:

Lifestyle Division (home and multimedia, car after market): Our 12 exclusive JBL stores, 2 Harman/Kardon Lounges spread across the country, present in large format retail stores like Croma, Reliance and network of luxury audio stores set up in association with our distributor Sahil International, ensure a wider reach and easy accessibility of our products. In addition, we also now have a brand new online store, harmanaudio.in, a one-stop shop for JBL, Harman Kardon, Infinity and AKG.

Infotainment Division: We have our very own manufacturing facility and state-of-the-art acoustics lab in Pune. The first phase of the manufacturing facility, which is currently operational, focuses on production of next generation audio and infotainment systems for TATA motors, Fiat and Volkswagen (OEM) projects. We have over 500 engineers developing products for Indian as well as worldwide customers.

Professional Division: We have a vast and varied range of industry leading, benchmarked audio brands - ranging from mixing consoles, microphones to loudspeakers with solutions catering to market segments Install, Portable PA, Tour Sound and Martin Professional range. In addition, with the acquisition of Martin Lighting we have a comprehensive portfolio in the India market. We have changed the dynamics of the professional audio industry by not just making industry leading solutions available, but by looking at important areas like service and support.

How do you plan to make these products more popular

Our brands have a very strong appeal across the globe. In India, we continue to strengthen our product portfolio, presence, distribution channel and our service and support efforts that we believe are key for continued customer loyalty. So increased retail presence over the next few years is definitely on the cards.

Which segments of products sell the most in India for Harman

JBL as a brand is the most popular across consumer, professional audio segment and the in-car after market segment. Brands like AKG are very popular among professional artists who use our microphones and headphones for recording purposes as well as live performances. Also, our Harman/Kardon continues to have that premium positioning in the market.

What products are you looking forward to launch in India

While we cannot talk about product specifics, there are a host of new and very innovative lifestyle products that will hit the market in the next couple of months that we are very excited about. Our recently launched JBL Authentics series seems to be garnering very good reviews. In addition to this, our new Harman/Kardon range of products like Esquire, Nova, Onyx and Soho Headphones are also getting good traction.

What differentiates Harman's products from the competition

Being a house of legendary brands, we really are uniquely placed when compared to most of our competitors. Our different brands cater to unique requirements across different segments of consumers. So whether the consumer is at home, in the car, or on the go our brands touch their lives. In addition, our other key differentiator has been Innovation; for instance our recent offering called Clari-Fi, a proprietary of Harman software technology that reconstructs a compressed audio signal. Up to 90 percent of an original audio recording can be discarded during the compression process. Clari-Fi addresses the deterioration of quality in compressed audio by automatically analyzing the source of the audio whether its satellite radio, streaming video, an MP3, etc. and restoring what has been lost. This feature is available today in the new JBL Authentics Series wireless home entertainment sound systems and will soon be incorporated into a range of Home, Multimedia, and Automotive products in the coming year.