By Jean-François PIERI
Harman – “powered by Samsung” – bringing a whole new world of opportunities to the hospitality market
In one of the most important announcements affecting the global electronics industry in the past couple of years, Samsung announced, at the end of 2016, that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Harman for around US$8bn. Samsung expects the combination to deliver significant growth opportunities and bene ts to customers by leveraging Samsung’s and Harman’s complementary technologies, resulting in increased market penetration across important end markets. As Samsung is renowned in the hospitality industry for its custom offerings, it was thus time to take a look at what repercussions this new partnership will have on this industry in particular. We put the question to David McKinney, Vice President, Hospitality CSU, Harman Professional Solutions.
THROUGH THE SOLUTIONS WE PROVIDE, WE ARE HELPING THE HOTEL TO ENSURE GUESTS HAVE A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE
The Harman offerings in hospitality cover all areas of the sector with solutions for the guest room right through to meeting spaces, conference facilities, F&B, spa, and gym… Within Harman we have many industry leading brands that cover all aspects of the hospitality experience, from audio, video & control, and lighting solutions. As Harman is now part of the Samsung family this is the perfect complement to Samsung in offering a full system solution in the Hospitality industry. Through our vast range of technology offerings, Samsung and Harman focus on creating unique experiences in the various spaces in the Hotel and Casino technology ecosystem.
Please tell us more about how the two great companies are working together.
With Samsung’s acquisition of Harman in 2017, both Harman and Samsung are combining strategies and technology offerings to expand the partnership we have with many hospitality customers. Samsung has been the leading display brand in the hotel business with a strong focus on the guest room, whereas Harman has been one of the leaders in public spaces in the hotel with its JBL Professional, AMX and Martin lighting brands. Putting these strengths together and having a combined voice to the customer with enhanced support is where Samsung and Harman can offer much more value to the customer compared to individual brands. Being able to offer such a complete system from one company is unique in the industry today.
How is digital affecting the hospitality industry today?
Social media plays a significant role now in all businesses. However, in the hospitality market, it provides guests with opportunities to voice their opinions on their experience at the hotel. It is now very easy for a guest to share a negative experience, and this challenges hotel management to react quickly. How they react is obviously key to how there are perceived by other guests and customers. Sometimes, however, a positive experience is voiced, and this can help drive demand to the hotel. At Samsung and Harman, we strive to ensure that through the solutions we provide, we are helping the hotel to ensure guests have a positive experience; either through the immersive audio, lighting and display solutions, or from simple interactions with our products.
Connectivity is also having an impact on hospitality in all areas of the property. With many of the solutions from Harman being fully connected, it provides an easy way to answer hoteliers’ concerns on seamless control of their installed solutions.
What do you see as being the biggest challenges for the industry in the mid- term?
Technology is moving rapidly and so are guest expectations. Rapid advancements in the home are driving new expectations in the hotel guest room, whether it be in voice, connectivity with devices or in new unique experiences. The hospitality industry is changing rapidly to meet these new demands and expectations to ensure that the hotel guest experience is something that keeps guests coming back. As we move outside the guest room, we see even more challenges and competition in the meeting and conference space in which technology is playing an important role. Having ways of being able to connect to the technology in a meeting space without a delay is a guest expectation for which Harman and Samsung are true specialists. The younger generation of guests expect things to happen immediately and don’t want to wait. Keeping everything simple and having an intuitive user interface is key to being able to meet these demands.
AS HARMAN IS NOW PART OF THE SAMSUNG FAMILY THIS IS THE PERFECT COMPLEMENT TO SAMSUNG IN OFFERING A FULL SYSTEM SOLUTION IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY.
How do hoteliers benefit from your work?
The hotelier has many advantages of looking at Samsung and Harman as one provider, not only for the latest cutting-edge technology and solutions we provide, but also from the installation and support we offer. Dealing with fewer suppliers to create one system is certainly a common theme we hear all the time, and this takes away a lot of headache for the hoteliers. Products from Samsung and Harman integrate very well together as a system and one can only assume that as we release new technologies in the future, they will integrate even more seamlessly.
Photo: David McKinney, Vice President, Hospitality CSU, Harman Professional Solutions.