Every day, the bright minds at HARMAN are hard at work innovating with the goal of unleashing connected technologies and solutions that will change the in-car experience as we know it, all to make it more engaging, seamless and personalized. HARMAN Global Marketing Director, Automotive, Karen Piurkowski is engrained in that effort. Her work with HARMAN's automotive solutions makes her uniquely qualified to discuss the stunning innovations that are delivering HARMAN ExPs. 

  1. At a high level, explain to our readers what the HARMAN ExP approach to automotive technologies and solutions represents?

At HARMAN, our core belief is that cars should be for living, not just driving. With HARMAN ExP solutions, the intent is to center the experience on consumers and to ensure the vehicles of the future don’t just transport them but add value to their lives. The solutions do this by providing bonding time with family, productive time to work, relaxing time to escape, and so much more. There are three levels to HARMAN ExP: we start with human understanding; we use that understanding to develop new opportunity spaces; and then we develop ExPs—suites of technology that bring those experiences to life and create moments of magic for drivers and riders.

  1. What are some of the HARMAN technologies that combine to create these ExPs?

HARMAN technologies can be brought together in countless combinations to create a variety of unique experiences. During the HARMAN EXPLORE event in January, we announced three HARMAN ExP solutions, all designed to deliver exceptional in-vehicle experiences to consumers. HARMAN ExP Gaming Intense Max creates a truly immersive gaming experience for those who find themselves with a lot of downtime in the car. HARMAN ExP Drive-Live Concert delivers personalized and interactive live concert experiences directly into the vehicle. HARMAN ExP Creator Studio brings all the power of a pro-recording studio right inside the vehicle for the ultimate user-friendly audio, video and photographic setup.

Let me describe how we combined various HARMAN technologies to create Gaming Intense Max. This HARMAN ExP solution includes the latest display technologies such as multiple QLED and OLED displays, and are integrated to create the digital cockpit of the future. For multiplayer gaming, the displays switch to split screen. In the back seat, the display dramatically extends and swivels into position. In addition, the HARMAN Ignite automotive cloud solution enables streaming services, apps and content that take the in-vehicle gaming experience to the next level. Several car audio technologies are included as well. With ClearChat we can use world-leading beamforming microphones, echo cancellation, and noise reduction algorithms to remove unwanted cabin noise for the gamer. For sound, the gamer has a choice to use JBL Quantum Gaming Headphones or enjoy the experience through the HARMAN Audio System, including the immersive Personal Audio Headrest. Personal Bass Impact adds another dimension to the experience as it turns all action happening on screen into things you can feel as well as hear.

  1. How does HARMAN work with OEMs to build out these incredible, leading in-car experiences and technologies?

It’s important for OEMs to stay ahead of the rising demand for automotive innovation. At HARMAN, we work with OEMs to understand customer pain points, wants and needs in order to deliver the best vehicle experience possible. We help OEMs further differentiate their brand in the marketplace with customized, personalized experiences, which helps them launch new solutions in the market faster with technology that works seamlessly together.

  1. We are seeing a huge move to EVs, with major investments from Ford and others recently announced – how does HARMAN and the ExP approach play into this trend?

The HARMAN ExP approach applies to all vehicles, including EVs. In 2020, we announced the HARMAN ExP EV Plus+, a solution designed to deliver a compromise-free electric vehicle experience. Range anxiety and compromised user experience are common EV consumer pain points. With EV Plus+, you don’t have to sacrifice UX for extended range. As the first audio suite of integrated technologies designed specifically for electric vehicles, the potential impact EV Plus+ has on the automotive industry is immense, and it recently won three awards to prove it.

  1. What do you consider the most important megatrends affecting the auto industry today? What about five years from now?

The push for more Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric mobility solutions (CASE) is affecting the auto industry tremendously now and will for at least the next decade. These megatrends are impacting the way consumers think about vehicles, meaning automotive companies must find new ways to adapt, or risk being left behind. In anticipation of this monumental shift, HARMAN and SBD Automotive teamed up to create the Experiences Per Mile Advisory Council in October 2019. To date, the EPM Advisory Council has formed two industry reports that assess this change in the industry. The first report, “Experiences Per Mile 2030: Ensuring the Next Decade of Mobility Transformation Puts the Consumer First & Foremost,” addresses the massive mobility transformation currently underway and diagnoses why consumers are not getting the most out of today’s mobility model. The most recent report, “Experiences Per Mile: Charting an Ambitious Course to Measure Mobility Experience for the First Time,” identifies how current research methodologies have fallen short of measuring the holistic mobility experience, what constitutes a useful and actionable metric as well as how the EPM Advisory Council is leading the industry toward a new way forward.

We at HARMAN are passionate about creating top-of-the-line, connected experiences for consumers around the world. The function of the car is quickly changing to promote unprecedented personalization and connectivity, and we cannot wait to continue to redefine the automotive industry with our unique ExPs and much more. To learn more about the next decade of mobility transformation, check out