Connected Mobility - Touching the Future at HARMAN

It’s an exciting time to be at HARMAN. Our employees are working with cutting-edge technologies to create innovative products that connect people, vehicles and the environment. This is not technology for technology’s sake - it’s leveraging innovation to enable connected experiences on the go and to make the world safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

A Safer Journey

We lose more than one million people every year in road accidents around the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Every day,​​ almost 3,700 people die in crashes involving cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. Sadly, road accidents are the No. 1 killer of children and youth ages 5 to 29. More than half of these vulnerable road users are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Many transportation agencies from around the world agree that these accidents are preventable. 

For me, our mission isn’t solely about creating the best products. It’s also about serving a greater purpose: delivering a connected mobility experience that’s safe, smart, sustainable and secure for everyone. And there’s no better way to galvanize a workforce than through a shared purpose. Strategy serves as a lighthouse for a company, but it’s not the answer for everything. People want to be inspired by something more meaningful – values and purpose. 

Vision Zero

Leveraging 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and HARMAN Connectivity products with C-V2X and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), HARMAN can truly enhance situational awareness by providing real-time information about road conditions, driving hazards and more. Through these life-saving technologies, we are delivering on our purpose while also contributing to the industry’s mission for zero road fatalities, dubbed “Vision Zero.” 

The HARMAN Advantage

With the acquisition of Savari in 2021, HARMAN established a clear leadership position in connected safety in automotive and infrastructure. Connected infrastructure like traffic lights, road signs and sensors all enable better traffic control, and real-time data analytics help us with more adaptive traffic management. Data from connected road infrastructure enables insights with near real-time context of our surroundings to add enhanced safety and connected experience to vehicles and drivers.

We are now leveraging IoT and edge technology including an award-winning Cellular-Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) stack to realize the full potential of delivering connected mobility with situational awareness for the in-cabin experience. 

I was attracted to HARMAN because of its unique positioning as an automotive company with the full spectrum of connectivity products. HARMAN has both automotive experience and Vehicle-to-Everything / ITS (V2X ITS) all under one roof. You will not find this in other companies – there are either automotive experts or ITS experts. 

Not only do we have a close relationship with automakers, but we also work and contribute through automotive standard bodies and engage with federal transportation agencies such as the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This gives us a unique vantage point and better understanding of the entire ecosystem. We can evaluate pain points of OEMs, transportation agencies and consumers – and prioritize product development based on that insight. 

The HARMAN Approach

We recently launched an initiative to upgrade our organization with a focus on delivering a new level of consumer experience in the car. We call this value proposition Consumer Experiences. Automotive Grade. This upgrade spans the hard (strategy, structure, systems) and soft (shared values/superpowers, skills, styles and staff) “S’s” of the organization including the culture and mindset transformation. 

Historically, product development leveraged a shared organization across projects and products. As the old adage goes, the tyranny of the urgent prevails and resources would be pulled over from product development to address immediate project needs. In support of the upgrading of our organization, we now have a dedicated focus on product and project and a self-sustaining product organization that is steadfastly committed to product timelines and market opportunities.  

As the mobility industry works together on its quest for electrification and safety, we’re adding another dimension to our product engineering at HARMAN – sustainability. We are exploring how to incorporate sustainability metrics into our product design, as well as considering different choices in our product engineering from procurement of raw material sourcing to energy/water reduction. If we do this right, it will be an enduring competitive advantage, and we’re all committed to it.

The Future Is Now 

Change drew me to HARMAN. In a word: possibility. The transformation of our company was a fundamental driver of my decision to join the team. There are not many opportunities in a lifetime to work at a company disrupting the status quo where you can put your thumbprint on the future and be part of the solution. Our talent is solving real-world problems – saving lives, reducing emissions and making the driving experience richer and more immersive. 

At the same time, we’re participating in an automotive industry that is undergoing massive transformation through electrification, software-defined-vehicles (SDVs) and autonomy. As the industry undergoes this metamorphosis, it offers employees, both new and existing, the opportunity to grow in new areas from engineering to AI, wireless communication, cybersecurity and product management. 

In the not-too-distant future, your car will be an extension of your home and workplace where you consume and create content. Connected mobility is the fuel for this future. At the forefront of technological innovation, it brings together various fields such as automotive transportation, IoT and data science. Our employees have the opportunity to make a tangible impact on how technology improves lives and how people and goods move through the world. 

The Ultimate Playground

Working on connected mobility products means working with bleeding-edge technology like autonomous vehicles, electric propulsion, 5G connectivity, generative AI and more. This is the best playground that any engineer, curious mind or tinkerer could possibly find where this confluence of technologies exists. Our culture of experimentation is exactly what’s needed to transform our business and the industry.

Cultural change is so important. It’s critical that we think beyond structure and systems to people and culture. Culture is like a bonsai tree – if you don’t curate it and take care of it, it will grow on its own. You have to be mindful and keep pruning in order to guide the entire company in the same direction. I am one of our change agents and have enlisted people across levels and teams to join together in inspiring this shift.

The culture at HARMAN is something that I have not seen anywhere else. I am proud and thankful for our leadership, vision and ability to achieve disruption in a scaled manner. I get up every morning jazzed and charged – and feel this same passion and engagement in my employees. 

Our connected mobility products offer an exciting and dynamic environment. Everyone has a chance to work on this transformation not only from a technology perspective but also with a view to create a more sustainable and efficient future of transportation. This field promises growth and lifelong learning, but most importantly, a unique opportunity to make a difference in the world. 

About Me – More on Suman Sehra 

After almost two decades in the high-tech industry, I joined HARMAN just over a year ago in the Automotive Connectivity Business Unit. As Global VP of Product Portfolio Management and Innovation, my team serves as a catalyst to drive products, platforms and solutions for the connected vehicle and the transportation infrastructure to enable smart, safe and sustainable mobility for all. ​​

​​​​Suman Sehra​

VP of Product Portfolio Management and Innovation​ ​​at HARMAN International​​

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