In-depth: Inside the Harman Professional Solutions Experience Centre London

posted on Friday, 6th April 2018 by Geny Caloisi

AMX  Samsung  HARMAN  JBL 

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The Inside CI team was recently at the opening of the Harman Professional Solutions Experience Centrer and EMEA headquarters in Hemel Hampstead. Referred to as the ‘London’ centre (although not in London at all), this is the fourth global showcase from the expanding company. So what did we think?

The site is certainly impressive. The company has invested in the region of US$ 4million on this 25,800-square-foot multi-functional facility. 

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The centre is designed to demonstrate the integration of all Harman’s brands including JBL Professional, AKG Acoustics, AMX, BSS Audio, Crown International, dbx Professional, DigiTech, Lexicon Pro, Martin, Soundcraft and Studer; as well as wider integration with parent Samsung technology.

The product showroom is filled with Harman products, while the foyer shows the company’s sponsored racing car, boardroom and auditorium solutions.

Erik Tarkiainen, Vice President Global Marketing at Harman International guided the tour of the facilities. He started by highlighting the fact that Harman is the proud owner of three Grammy awards for its innovations in recording technology. The Grammies were won for AKG, Lexicon and JBL.

Our first stop was at the Connected Retail Experience, where visitors get to see integration of Harman and Samsung solutions for digital signage and retail. The store includes mirrored screens and cameras with facial recognition; in-store object sensor information; and a master control that can show the store’s visitors flows as well as change the music lighting and mood of the place at the touch of a button.

Harman’s hotel room scenario presented a JBL sound bar with no button controls, a TV, curtains and lights controlled by a voice operated JBL alarm clock and speaker. 

“I don’t know you, but I never have any troubles switching my lights or TV on and off in my home, I know where they are and how to use them. “ said Tarkiainen, ‘but when I go to a hotel, I don’t necessarily know where everything is, so being able to ask for the lights to be switched on or the curtains drawn just by giving a voice command is ideal.’

Harman presented its ‘Digital Assistants’ and Voice-Controlled speakers at this year’s CES. It also introduced the JBL LINK series, which merges JBL’s Signature Sound and Google’s Voice Assistant technology.

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The experience centre’s office space/recording studio showed how Harman technology empowers emerging artists and aficionados to record and produce great quality audio at a fraction of the price.

The showroom is a particularly interesting place to visit for audiophiles. Recording samples of various instruments on the whole range of the AKG microphones are available for anyone to listen and hear the difference. You can also try the portable JBL Eon One, an all-in-one linear-array PA that can be packed and carried in one hand.

For a bigger gig, you might want to audition the Harman Portable PA system, which automatically recognises anything that is plugged into it, and can be operated remotely on an iPad.

The Harman array of products includes architectural lighting and projection. For concerts, the company has its P3 software that allows easy to set up video mapping on any stage using lights as well as LED screens. Its cleverly engineered line array loudspeakers are designed to save time and transport space.

The boardroom, Huddle Space and education areas were dominated by AMX integrated technology. Our tour ended in the auditorium, demonstrating Harman’s offerings for theatre, conferences and events.

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Tarkiainen concluded: “We have closed our central London offices and we opened here our EMEA headquarters to offer companies and potential clients an opportunity to see the full range of products we have. Many people have a fragmented notion of what we have to offer, but in here they can get ideas on how it can all integrate. A brand is not a place or a location, but products and solutions and this are what we have on show.”

Also read: Harman opens Experience Centre and new EMEA HQ

Geny Caloisi

Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications. 

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