Samsung has just bought Harman and although best known for its sound-based technologies, including speakers, the US-based company also has a whole load of connected car technologies under its belt.
Although Samsung has suggested it wants to enter the autonomous or connected cars market, it hasn’t really announced much insight as yet. Buying Harman for $8bn (£6.45bn) would allow it to start seriously considering how it can keep up with its competitors including Apple.
“Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, chief executive of Samsung Electronics.
“The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade,” Young Sohn, Samsung’s chief strategy officer, added.
“We see substantial long-term growth opportunities in the auto technology market as demand for Samsung’s specialised electronic components and solutions continues to grow.”
Not only does Harman make the sound systems in the majority of car models, it also has created some of the most impressive in-car entertainment systems including navigation, multimedia and displays. However, it’s the technology you can’t see that could make the biggest difference for Samsung.
Harman acquired Redbend Software and TowerSec recently, which enabled it to deliver better OTA to cars and automotive cybersecurity – two areas Samsung sill need to consider it it decided to roll out connected cars.
Other potential applications for Samsung to introduce into the cars using Harman’s expertise are information systems that advise when cars need to be serviced, help electric car users locate the nearest charging point and parking spaces.
“Only 40 per cent of cars are currently connected with such technology. In 10 years, that will increase to 90 per cent. It is set to be a $100bn market,” a source close to the deal told the Financial Times.