In today’s age where data is king and smart technologies are abundant, customer experience is more important than ever before. But is the world ready to fully embrace the intelligent technologies that are being designed to boost consumer engagement and productivity? At the HARMAN Technology Forum, hosted on October 10th in partnership with Fast Company, industry thought leaders and business luminaries took to the stage to answer this question and provoke thoughtful discussions about today’s technological landscape.

To kick things off, Shibani Joshi, TV journalist, Former Fox Business TV Anchor, and HARMAN Tech Forum Host, welcomed attendees before introducing Ralph Santana, HARMAN’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing officer, who set the stage for in-depth discussions about how businesses need to think about consumer insights differently in order to compete in our “experience centered” world. Read on to learn about the key takeaways from the morning’s sessions:


Welcome to the Mysterious World of a Thinking Business
In his opening keynote, Paul Zikopoulos, Vice President of Big Data Cognitive Systems at IBM, broke down our trillion-sensor and socially connected economy to show how Artificial Intelligence can help businesses make sense of all available data. By sharing examples of practical applications of AI and how data-first decisions can help businesses identify new opportunities, Paul outlined how Big Data and machine learning will be the survival tools of every business as we move into the future.



Can the Connected Car Keep Up with its Driver?
It’s no surprise that today’s cars are well on their way to becoming an extension of our connected lives. Automakers are already leveraging cutting-edge technologies to create immersive in-vehicle experiences that customers have come to expect from their vehicles, but how will the auto industry continue to bridge the gap between technology and experience to exceed the customer’s growing demands?

During this mobility-focused session, Liane Yvkoff, Senior Contributor at Forbes, led a thought-provoking discussion on the future of the connected car between Robin Chase, CoFounder, Zipcar, GoLoco, Buzzcar, and Veniam; Joanna Pena-Bickley, Innovation Speaker, Head of Design, Internet of Things, Amazon AWS; Jeffrey Hannah, Director North America, SBD Automotive; and HARMAN’s own Chief Digital and Information Officer, Nick Parrotta.


Is Retail AI Creating an Insatiable Consumer?
Recent innovations in retail technology have set the bar high for brands and retailers when it comes to meeting consumer demands. Companies have found themselves walking a fine line between creating meaningful experiences and meeting the demand for convenience and seemingly bottomless expectations of today’s consumers.

Led by Fast Company’s Abigail Basset, Krishna Motokuri, CEO & Co-Founder, Zippin; Chris Smith, National Leader of Grant Thonton’s Strategy & Transformation; Ameen Kazerouni, Lead Data Scientist, Zappos; and Juliet Noland, Senior Director of Strategic Planning, TraceyLocke, explored the role of technology – including checkout free systems and machine learning – in helping brands and retailers provide shopping experiences that are both convenient and enjoyable.


Fast, Forward, and Focused.
In the closing keynote session, Robert Herjavec, Founder and CEO of global cybersecurity firm Herjavec Group and Leading Shark on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning show “Shark Tank,” explored the evolving trends around AI. Robert delivered a compelling introduction into the rising opportunities that AI presents, as well as a closer look at the side effects these innovations bring to our professional and personal lives. The HARMAN Tech Forum program ended on a high note, as Robert also revealed some behind-the-scenes secrets from inside the Shark Tank that would inspire everyone to keep up in our fast-paced world.


To close out the show, Dinesh Paliwal, President and Chief Executive Officer of HARMAN, emphasized how our connected world requires all companies to think about data in new ways. During his closing remarks, Dinesh stated that while the opportunities ahead of the industry are tremendous, they are increasingly complex and will require powerful partnerships and collective wisdom to deliver winning consumer experiences.

Hosted in tandem with JBL Fest, HARMAN’s signature 3-Day brand experience, the HARMAN Tech Forum provided a meaningful platform for experts to share their thoughts and insights on the ways companies are leveraging intelligent technologies to improve the ever-evolving consumer experience across the automotive, retail, technology, and business industries. To learn more about JBL Fest, check out: