Today, HARMAN is a global connected technologies leader, developing powerful, reliable and superior solutions across industries like audio and automotive. This is not possible without the dedication, hard work, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of HARMAN’s highly talented engineers all over the world. As we celebrate Engineers Week in 2021, we wanted to remind everyone of some of the remarkable things our engineers are working on right now. And in that spirit, we recently sat down with HARMAN’s Senior Director – Head of Products and Platforms, Prakash Tripathi, to discuss what he’s been working on lately and any tips he has to offer to future engineers!
1) Tell us about your role and some of your current focus areas at HARMAN.
I currently lead the technology group at HARMAN’s DTS (Digital Transformation Solutions) group, where I am responsible for building products and platforms that allow us to elevate our value proposition in the market from a service provider to a solution partner. As part of this group, we have assets in areas such as Voice AI, Video AI, Virtual Care, 5G CoE (Center of Excellence), Enterprise Asset Management, and Contact tracing/Social Distancing alert solutions that can help employers to enable their employees to safely return to work.
2) How would you describe what it’s like to be an engineer at HARMAN?
These are exciting times to be an engineer at HARMAN. Across our internal R&D teams and as a key partner to our customers in their digital transformation journey, we are continuously solving problems that allow us to deliver software-powered solutions, which enhance the user experience while improving the performance of the technology. Our engineering centers have also built up specific CoE’s across various domains – now as our customers seek solutions spanning various domains across hardware, embedded, mobility, Cloud and AI technologies. There are strong elements of collaboration here, which take place across multiple sites at HARMAN to deliver a complete solution to our customers.
3) What are some of the technologies, partnerships, or products that you’ve worked on at HARMAN that you’re most proud of?
In the past few years, we have seen many industry-first solutions coming out of HARMAN’s DTS group that are particularly special to me:
Our industry-first Smart Femtocell to Sprint solution. Adding IoT and Voice AI to their legacy small cell technology.
World’s first cruise line with a Voice AI-based digital cruise assistant. Here we worked with MSC Cruises to help them roll-out a Voice AI solution on each of their cabins supporting 7 different languages within the first release.
A partnership with Roche to deliver our first VR-based Digital Therapeutics solution for autism treatment.
4) What are some of the major trends you think will affect engineering and design over the coming years?
Beyond the widely discussed themes around connected systems, HARMAN sees Cloud and AI as major technology drivers, and I see the following aspects as particularly interesting:
The complexity of systems is expected to grow to a great degree – our customers will increasingly look for us to support them across the entire product/platform technology chain, including industrial design, hardware, embedded software, edge computing/AI, Cloud, Analytics, Application integration – 3rd party system interoperability, etc.
Solid domain knowledge across top verticals will be key to delivering solutions that work for our customers.
Managing data while keeping data protection, privacy and regulatory aspects in mind will be crucial to designing our solutions.
Designing platforms that are open and easily interoperable with 3rd party systems will be important. Multi-cloud solutions that are not closely coupled with a single cloud partner will gain momentum as well.
User experience will be a major differentiator. Our customers will demand that software engineering play a pivotal role to go beyond technologies that meet functional requirements, to delivering differentiated experiences to users as they choose new ways to interact with HARMAN - and our customer products and platforms.
5) It’s Engineers Week in the U.S. What guidance would you have for someone who’s either studying to be an engineer, or at the beginning of their career in the field?
Let me begin by congratulating those who have chosen engineering as a profession. It is a profession where we do miracles with technology for the betterment of humanity. But as with any rapidly evolving field, it requires us to maintain a curious mind, a willingness to learn by experimentation and to keep enhancing our skills. When we finish our formal education in college, a new chapter of education begins at the workplace – where each day budding engineers should try to learn at least one new thing (a better way to code, to test, to document, etc.), and help to make our connected products better. Similarly, they should aim to understand more about how ML and AI technologies can enhance the - solutions and enhance their skills in these areas. Also, I would recommend to anyone who is joining new projects, to not be afraid to ask questions and proactively share ideas to do things in a smarter and more efficient way.
6) Any final thoughts for our readers? What might they expect next from the HARMAN Engineering teams?
These are exciting times for us. Technology -- 5G, Edge Compute, Cloud, AI/ML -- finally seems to be catching up with human imagination. Today we have tools at our disposal to build the next generation of life-ware -- hardware + software -- to deliver solutions that have been imagined for 21st-century living. Our engineering teams are full of enormous talent, with experience of having delivered industry-leading solutions. They are fully prepared to rise to the opportunity and we can expect an even greater pace of innovation, as we continue to deliver products and platforms that truly transform the user experience.
We at HARMAN cannot thank our engineers like Prakash enough for the devotion, passion and creativity they bring to work every day, as they design, develop and launch our world-leading connected technologies. This Engineers Week, please take a moment to thank all the incredible engineers around you for all that they do. Finally, if you’re an engineer looking to join a global technology leader that nurtures, values and celebrates the contributions of all its impressive employees, check out: http://jobs.harman.com