Playing Games, Recording Studio and Live Concert In-Car ExPeriences from HARMAN

Automotive technology provider HARMAN made several announcements today. HARMAN showed its new ExPs and 5G technologies.

Through extensive consumer insights, HARMAN uncovered unmet needs and pain points that exist for consumers today by unveiling three new HARMAN experience concepts – or ExPs – that solve for modern mobility needs. These new ExPs are on display at HARMAN’s technology showcase, ExPLORE, , in advance of CES 2021.

During today’s HARMAN Automotive ExPLORE 2021 Event, HARMAN unveiled and demonstrated three new immersive HARMAN ExPs that showcase how connected technologies can redefine the in-car experience for consumers and create new opportunities for automakers. As the industry leader, only HARMAN can provide the robust combination of core automotive technologies – including Digital Cockpit, Telematics, Car Audio, Cloud-based Software Services and ADAS – with a deep understanding of consumer mobility trends and extensive industry partnerships to create this level of compelling experiences for drivers and passengers.

The three new HARMAN ExP concepts – Gaming Intense Max, Creator Studio and Drive-Live Concert –demonstrate these capabilities meet in-demand consumer needs and preview the future of what’s possible in mobility. By taking a consumer-centric approach that ensures technologies work seamlessly together to create rich, relevant mobility solutions, HARMAN ExP delivers experiences that matter.

Each ExP features an expertly-curated mix of HARMAN’s leading technology solutions – including HARMAN’s Compute Platform, HARMAN Ignite Service Delivery Platform (SDP), branded in-car audio and acoustic technologies, HARMAN OTA, HARMAN Ignite Store and the latest OLED, QLED and LCD display technologies – to create meaningful experiences in the vehicle.

“At HARMAN we believe cars should be for living, not just driving. With the addition of our new HARMAN ExPs, we’re transforming the car into a ‘third space’ that delivers the experiences consumers demand, and delights with meaningful moments of magic,” said Christian Sobottka, Executive Vice President & President of HARMAN Automotive. “What differentiates Harman from others is that we leverage our deep understanding of consumer needs and in-vehicle preferences, while also doubling down on HARMAN’s experience-driven approach instead of focusing solely on individual technologies, OEMs will benefit from advanced personalization and technological synergies, while drivers will enjoy a connected experience built purposefully for their needs.”

Based on the company’s latest market insights, HARMAN has expanded its ExP portfolio with additional consumer-centric experiences to address the growing needs of today’s digital consumers, allowing drivers to maximize their Experiences per Mile. Insight studies show at least 60% of consumers expect their cars to deliver more than just transportation, and nearly half look to their cars to help safely multitask. During today’s HARMAN ExPLORE Showcase, available on-demand in the HARMAN Newsroom, the following ExP concepts were unveiled:

HARMAN ExP Gaming Intense Max

According to HARMAN consumer research, it’s clear that people often find themselves with downtime in their cars – waiting on friends, an appointment, or their kids at school. This downtime is often filled with distractions like playing games on their phone, but phone gaming can be a very limited experience. That is why HARMAN created Gaming Intense Max.

For game lovers, any space can transform into a multiplayer arena, and the car is no exception. HARMAN ExP Gaming Intense Max leverages HARMAN’s Scalable Compute, 5G TCU and HARMAN Ignite SDP to create a fast and truly immersive gaming experience. In addition, Gaming Intense Max leverages HARMAN’s audio technologies like ClearChat to reduce echo and background noise during gameplay – while HARMAN’s In Car Communication (ICC) solution ensures clear, two-way communication while in the vehicle. Lastly, high-fidelity sound, integrated headrest speakers, advanced haptics and high-resolution OLED and QLED displays create a fully immersive environment. It is not only designed to feel like a truly interactive gaming experience, but a way for gamers to feel like they are a part of the game itself.

HARMAN ExP Creator Studio

As consumers are looking for more places to create content, HARMAN has transformed the vehicle into a creative space with the all-new ExP Creator Studio. Creator Studio leverages a variety of technologies and services to make sure creativity has no boundaries. Solutions like HARMAN’s Personal Audio Headrest extends the experience for fully immersive sound, while audio levels automatically adjust to create optimal audio balance. Interior lighting is set to its most flattering mode, while multiple cameras switch to record the best angle based on head movement and activity. With content captured, the virtual assistant has all the tools to prepare for publishing and can even give the video a title and cover image.

Bringing the power of a pro-recording studio right inside the vehicle, this premium in-studio experience offers the ultimate user-friendly video setup and ability to edit content via controls on the steering wheel as well as automatic background noise reduction to ensure any audio is clear for their audience.

Live Interactive Virtual Experience (L.I.V.E.) Platform: Personalize Your Concert and Engage with Artists in Entirely New Ways

Delivering the thrills and immersive experiences of a live concert, HARMAN’s Live Interactive Virtual Experience (L.I.V.E.) platform offers remote and socially distant concertgoers the ability to directly interact with the venue, the artist, and the music all from the comfort of their vehicles, homes, or wherever they happen to be while also allowing artists to reciprocate with interactions of their own. With this unique, two-way flow, fans can use L.I.V.E. to do things like cheer, make song requests, vote for the next song played, or request that a specific instrument be featured in the next solo. In parallel, artists can receive and respond to fan interactions during their set, give shout-outs to fans, and play fan-requested songs to recreate that otherwise lost sense of engagement with the audience.

Leveraging high-quality live streaming, a consumer interface, a software control application and world-renowned HARMAN professional lighting and sound capabilities, L.I.V.E. can be deployed into software applications for vehicles, mobile devices and personal computers. Central to L.I.V.E. is an interactive “fan space,” a hub that projects the energy, enthusiasm and applause from fans directly to the artist via in-venue screens and lighting elements. L.I.V.E. supports many new types of fan interactions, including cheer-based event triggers, in-venue light shows, artist merchandise purchases and fan giveaways, along with fan voting capability. This unlocks a powerful connection between fans and performers – fans can channel their excitement remotely and digitally, while artists can receive this energy to feed it back into their music.

L.I.V.E. also enables concertgoers to curate their own sight and sound experience from the performance. Fans can select from a variety of camera angles for a deeper up-close and personal feel – whether it’s zooming in on their favorite drum solo or focusing on the lead singer – while HARMAN technologies such as Virtual Venues and Personi-Fi provide users with the freedom to personalize the concert audio to their specific preferences. Further, 5G technology enables high-quality audio and video streaming along with automatic access to real-time bonus information, such as song lyrics, band member bios, details on the instruments being played onstage, similar music recommendations, and much more. With L.I.V.E., music lovers no longer have to compromise with static, one-way live stream performances.

Personal Audio Headrest Platform: The Next New Level of Immersive Audio

Creating immersive audio experiences in the automotive space requires meticulous attention to quality, safety, ergonomics and practicality. With an innovative, modular headrest-based design, HARMAN’s new Personal Audio Headrest platform is designed to be automotive-friendly from the ground up. Developed in collaboration with leading automotive interior and seating system supplier Grammer, the Personal Audio Headrest platform delivers elevated levels of audio performance with safety, comfort, and seamless in-cabin integration for OEMs.

The Personal Audio Headrest platform powers the most advanced audio features on the market – from 3-D spatial audio experiences to individual sound zones, to the most detailed levels of acoustic personalization. The Personal Audio Headrest platform is available now to OEMs for integration into upcoming vehicles.

In the vehicle, headrest audio provides powerful acoustic benefits through two product tiers:

  • Personal Audio Headrest offers the ability to adjust the level of surround sound and 2-channel audio in accordance with personal preferences, giving vehicle occupants the opportunity to customize their individual audio experience and delivering the level of premium HARMAN audio consumers have come to expect.
  • Personal Audio Headrest Plus adds mechanized wings in the headrest, which deploy for the most immersive experience while driving and retract on-demand to resemble a traditional automotive headrest. This offers an even more premium audio experience, with higher performance and greater customization capabilities – including advanced features like sound zones and spatial audio. The movements of the wings occur safely, quietly and comfortably, without blocking critical sightlines or visibility.

HARMAN ExP Drive-Live Concert

In a world where many live performances have been put on hold, the ability to provide an immersive drive-in or virtual concert experience has never been so valuable. Now, HARMAN has created an entirely new experience to bring fans together and keep them connected to their favorite artists by transporting the energy and action of a live performance to wherever they are.

With HARMAN’s premium audio, 5G capabilities and cloud services, the car can become anyone’s favorite concert venue. Drive-Live Concert delivers all the energy of a live performance right into the car. To bring the experience of a concert to life, this ExP allows remote and socially distant concertgoers the ability to directly interact with the venue, the artist and the music all from the comfort of their vehicles. What’s more, with Drive-Live, the artists can see the interactions and respond right back. Inside the vehicle, the steering wheel retracts to open up more space to enjoy the show, while the main display extends to provide amazing visuals. At the same time, the headrests automatically move forward enabling incredible, immersive audio. In-vehicle lighting also synchronizes with the music, while the integrated in-vehicle platform enables full personalization of your concert experience. Outside, the rear display and exterior speakers rise, creating a perfect environment for the music to move the audience. Fans also have the ability to direct the show and personalize what they see, according to their preferences.

Leveraging a consumer-centric approach to design and innovation to create more Experiences per Mile, HARMAN is turning the car into a true “third living space” for both passengers and drivers. OEMs, app developers, fleet companies and service providers can now partner with HARMAN to deploy and completely transform connected experiences in the car.

HARMAN  announced HARMAN Turbo Connect (TBOT), a new intelligent software agent that anticipates and mitigates vehicle connectivity discrepancies on the road. The newest solution in HARMAN’s telematics portfolio, HARMAN TBOT satisfies the current demand for high-speed connectivity with low latency, especially when used alongside 5G-enabled technologies like HARMAN’s Smart Conformal Antenna and full 5G and 5G-ready Telecommunications Control Units (TCU).

As consumer expectations for connectivity continue to grow, automobile manufacturers have both a responsibility and an opportunity to capture attention with incredible vehicle experiences. But limitations like latency, bandwidth and rapid technology evolutions make maintaining the pace challenging. As a result, the in-vehicle consumer experience is at risk of lacking the needed connectivity for long-term operation. With the 5G-ready TCU and TBOT, HARMAN will provide its automaker customers a nimble way to adapt to ever-evolving and growing experiences.

“A foundational element of all modern cars on the road today is, of course, connectivity,” said Vishnu Sundaram, Senior Vice President, HARMAN Telematics. “By introducing TBOT into vehicles, we are able to anticipate poor or congested connectivity, thereby mitigating any streaming or latency issues before the driver or passenger even observes a problem. Music streaming can go uninterrupted, navigation functions can continue, and conference calls can be held, even in areas of poor network service.”

Using the increased capabilities offered by 5G network adoption, HARMAN’s TBOT technology provides drivers a number of benefits, including:

  • Heightened user experience: HARMAN TBOT predicts and optimizes the available connectivity options to match the bandwidth and latency demands of live streaming, gaming and other performance-demanding applications. This allows for an uninterrupted connectivity experience for drivers and riders, as well as saving money and energy.
  • Increased cost-savings: With the ability to anticipate the connectivity status miles in advance, TBOT can prepare for future more costly connectivity zones by increasing its download in free or low-price connectivity areas, driving down the cost of data consumption.
  • Lowered energy consumption: TBOT can also boost vehicle parameters such as battery life by optimizing performance, shutting off transmission and reception during periods of no connectivity, thereby decreasing energy usage—and boosting battery life—in both electric vehicles (EVs) and traditional combustion engine vehicles, and reducing range anxiety in EVs.

HARMAN TBOT, acting on behalf of both the vehicle and user, resides in the TCU, roadside nodes, on the Edge, and in the cloud. Its actions are aimed at changing parameters, adapting behaviors and features of the device, and initiating communication within the ecosystem.

HARMAN’s TBOT is only one of many enhancements enabled by 5G connectivity, which will increase in-vehicle communications speed and lower latency across the spectrum. HARMAN’s 5G-enabled telematics suite includes its 5G-ready TCU, which provides scalable mobile network connectivity for connected cars using either the current 4G network infrastructure or the faster 5G network of tomorrow.

HARMAN also offers a 5G-ready multiband conformal antenna as an optional feature for its TCUs. Harman’s conformal antenna is the right option as cars are configured with many radio services, each requiring a dedicated antenna; it can host as many as 14 antennas.  The conformal antenna is mounted below the vehicle’s body surface providing improved aesthetics and more efficient aerodynamics. Used in place of the familiar “shark fin” antenna, which first appeared in the early part of the 21st century, the conformal antenna package gives vehicle designers a clean surface to design for the future. When integrated with the HARMAN TCU, the smart conformal antenna also improves communications performance and system reliability. It also facilitates easier factory installation.