Market Opportunity Analysis for Harman Applied Technologies

High Tech Strategies was hired to provide a market opportunity analysis and select the market segment with the fastest adoption rate and shortest path to both commercialization and financial return.

road noise cancellation

The Challenge

A small group of experienced design and engineering professionals formed within Harman International Industries Inc to investigate the potential of applying the company’s design and manufacturing expertise in new markets.

Specifically, they wanted to determine whether transducer and actuator technology might help solve certain long-standing technical and commercial problems.

Market Opportunity Analysis

Harman’s Applied Technologies Group wanted to explore the potential of applying loudspeaker technology in new markets. Their goal was to evaluate both near- and long-term applications for Harman’s core technology:

  • Evaluate the business potential of a wide range of both established and emerging applications
  • Build awareness and attract the interest of potential customers in the early market
  • Identify the business models that are available, and under which conditions they should be considered
  • Create competitive advantage to protect the key attributes of these new applications from aggressive competition

The Solution

Harman turned to Warren Schirtzinger at High Tech Strategies for help selecting the industry with the fastest adoption rate and shortest path to commercialization and financial return.

Warren conducted an assessment of high-growth opportunities which included interviewing potential opinion leaders and technology enthusiasts. This assessment provided objective information about the early market’s understanding of noise and vibration control, their perspectives and biases, their needs for information and their sense of the potential for the technology.


The Results

From audio speaker components to road noise cancellation

Based on strategic guidance from Warren Schirtzinger, Harman selected road noise cancellation in the advanced mobility sector as their initial target market.

Representing the first of its kind in the automotive industry, Harman’s Road Noise Cancellation (RNC) technology minimizes unwanted noise generated when the vehicle tires roll across the road surface. RNC enables automakers to use lighter weight materials and improve fuel economy without compromising on vehicle noise levels.

High Tech Strategies’ Contribution

  • Target market characterization – We leveraged our ability to assess and prioritize various markets, and describe the characteristics of economic buyers within top growth opportunities.
  • Segmentation – We successfully defined the group of customers who share similar needs and buying behaviors, and are more likely than others to adopt our client’s solution
  • Reachability of channels – Our ability to identify and prepare the best distribution channels to drive awareness and sell the complete solution was a critical success factor
  • Buying process – The client trusted our knowledge of the B2B buying process. This gave the company the confidence to embrace the six distinct customer activities required to successfully complete a sale.

The Impact

Traditional methods of road-noise reduction in cars was achieved by thickening window glass and windshields or by structural damping. Because active noise cancellation, as opposed to simple isolation, works on continuous low frequency sounds, the driver still hears sirens, honking horns and other vehicles. The result is greater safety because emergency sounds stand out, while road rumble and exhaust noise are dramatically decreased.

Business-Growth Reactivation

High Tech Strategies identified road noise cancellation (RNC) as the market segment with the fastest adoption rate and shortest path to both commercialization and financial return.

RNC is presently ready for widespread market adoption because it enables automakers to use lighter weight materials and improve fuel economy without compromising on the driver safety or experience.

  • New growth opportunities. Rather than continuing to rely on a declining category as its primary source of revenue, Harman was able to “restart” the adoption lifecycle and sell products in brand new markets.
  • Partnership with opinion leader. The Genesis GV80 by Hyundai uses active noise cancellation developed by Harman. Hyundai promotes the technology in their Genesis GV80 luxury SUV by comparing it to the noise-cancelling technology used in premium headphones. The result is a dramatic reduction in background noise in Hyundai’s premium US brand.
  • Faster time to market. In addition to rapid product development, Harman was able to benefit from learning-curve cost reduction, the use of value-based pricing, and the ability to attract the best and brightest talent to their new business initiative.