Inavate + Harman: Refreshed & energised

Atul Ghaisas from Harman gives us an update on AMX’s portfolio upgrade and how the manufacturer was able to circumvent supply chain issues while addressing modern customer needs with its efforts.

An extensive upgrade of the AMX portfolio is underway as the brand looks to refresh 60% of its offering to the market. Two core components of this upgrade have already been launched by AMX in the shape of Jetpack and Varia touchpanels. Both were made available to AV professionals late last year and have already made an impact on the market.

Atul Ghaisas, director of business development, APAC video and controls at Harman, talks about how the new products are performing: “With Jetpack there were two objectives we had in mind, we wanted to keep it simple, and we wanted it to be scalable. It was launched in November last year, and our initial forecasts for how the product would perform in the market have already been beaten. By the end of December 2022, we were looking at perhaps close to three times the demand for the product that we had anticipated for the first six months. More importantly, we have found that end users have been able to come up with a lot more applications for Jetpack than we had originally imagined. It’s being used everywhere from digital workplaces to control rooms. This is heartening and we are working on software updates to expand the capabilities of Jetpack.”

He continues: “With the Varia touch panels we are looking to meet the various demands and expectations of our customers. Varia is a new generation user interface app-based device. It supports four different personas out of the box and one of these is room booking supporting Microsoft modern authentication, second one is meant for control, similar to our legacy touch panels. The third persona is frameless web browser. As long as Varia is connected to any web browser, it can be used for various applications like wayfinding or as a dashboard. It supports Zoom Rooms natively and can fit into those systems seamlessly. And we are planning on releasing more apps for it and customisation for specific applications.”

New products are always appreciated by AV professionals especially in recent times as the technology landscape evolves to solve new customer challenges. But putting these products in their hands is a different matter and has been a stumbling block for many manufacturers recently. Supply chain issues and chip shortages have replaced disruption caused by Covid-19 as the number one challenge faced on projects today. The question on every AV professional’s mind is ‘do you have product?’

Harman has found solutions and Ghaisas details: “When we decided to embark on the product refresh, one of the things we considered was the fact that we wanted our supply to be resilient and consistent. Being 100% disruption proof is not possible, but we had the opportunity to design these new products in a way that could take into consideration the supply chain and chip shortage challenges. The driving force was of course figuring out how these new products could solve the problems our customers were facing. But we also had the chance to make sure that the supply chain for the components these products would use was robust. I think we were able to anticipate the supply chain issues and address them in the design phase. We were able to be ‘predictive’ rather than reactive. And seeing that the supply chain issues are forecasted to persist into 2023, I think we have been able to circumvent a lot of the disruption due to the decisions we made in the design phase.”

Harman is also working to ensure that it continues to stay ahead of supply chain issues in the future. Ghaisas elaborates: “Additionally, we have also implemented a number of process improvements internally to make sure that any supply chain disruptions being caused by factors within our control, either on our end or on the end of our suppliers, have been addressed. We are giving our partners more information well ahead of time to make sure that our manufacturing and delivery remains on track. And we have been actively engaging with our customers, distributors, and partners so that we can continue to provide them proper support and meet their expectations.” While new products roll out, Harman is also keen to assure partners and customers that its pre-existing portfolio of products is not going anywhere.

Ghaisas says: “The new products are meant to solve the new problems being faced by customers. Concurrently, we are going the maintain the continuity of our existing range because there are existing projects and deployments that we are committed to supporting. And of course, our product range will maintain compatibility across the portfolio as required.”

The refresh of AMX’s portfolio is not yet complete and more products are expected to be released as the year progresses. Harman will be following a clear philosophy moving forward which Ghaisas details: “We’ve made a conscious decision to stick to what we are good at. We are not going to go and create an AMX videoconferencing soundbar, there are plenty competing in the market at the moment. Our aim is to provide products that could be companions and parts of the bigger systems required today. We want to be in a world where we can integrate our core products into a true ecosystem with interoperability to create optimal solutions.”

Harman is also cognisant of the evolving user needs when it comes to technology, and these have been actively factored in. Ghaisas says: “It’s such a dynamic world and things are changing every single day and moving pretty fast. One clear aspect to us is that because of the dynamic nature of the market, demand for new products that solve new challenges is going to continuously get higher and higher. But that means that customer demand today is going to be different from what customers demand tomorrow. So, the products that we are creating have to suit their requirements as they change and evolve.”

Ghaisas gives a glimpse into what else the AV community can expect from AMX in the coming months: “Jetpack falls into the traditional video products space providing 3x1 switching and a signal transport solution with software. Varia is our new generation touchpanel. But as we have stated, we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of AMX with a refresh for 60% of the AMX product portfolio. And if you think about the products the AMX brand has historically be known for and what is missing, it is easy to deduce what is coming next. We will be releasing lot of new and exciting products in the coming year, and you can expect more details at ISE 2023.”

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