Vice President and General Manager
HARMAN Professional Solutions, APAC
Ramesh Jayamaran has served as Vice President and General Manager of HARMAN Professional Solutions in the Asia Pacific region since mid-2016. In this exclusive interview with Speed, Ramesh shares his plans and visions for the company, discusses his strategies for the business in the Asian region, and talks about the emerging technologies and the latest products of Harman Professional Solutions. He also gave us a slight glimpse of his personal life—what he does on his free time and the things he is passionate about. Read on.
What does your job as vice president and general manager of HARMAN Professional Solutions (APAC) entail?
I am responsible for HARMAN Professional Solutions’ regional operations in Asia Pacific. We cover 23 countries, including the Philippines, and many industry verticals. We have a network of highly experienced distribution partners and along with our channel and business development teams, we ensure that the connection between us and our partners is as close as possible.
How do you bring together all the brands that HARMAN Professional Solutions has acquired in recent years?
HARMAN Professional Solutions has a great heritage, with the AV industry’s most iconic brands working together under a single division. Over the last 18 months in APAC, we have focused on streamlining our operations to offer a solution from HARMAN Professional that combines our brands and products into integrated solutions.
HARMAN is now part of Samsung. How does that impact the business?
Samsung is very bullish on the future of HARMAN Professional Solutions and its AV brands. The company sees an opportunity to leverage our ability to sell in places where the addition of one of its displays would offer customers a complete solution.
You can already see how the synergies between Samsung and HARMAN Professional Solutions can work. For example, digital cinema screens integrated with JBL speakers, or the AMX Acendo Vibe conferencing sound bar, which is ideal for pairing with a Samsung display.
“[HARMAN Professional Solutions] have so many iconic brands with huge brand-loyalty in our customer base. But we need to recognize that we have to find new ways of connecting with the next generation. “
How do you decide which product lines are launched in the Asian—or specifically, Philippine—market?
We have the most complete line of products in the AV Industry out of all our competitors. Even then, we strive to continue to listen to feedback and understand the needs of the customers. Through understanding our customers’ needs, and putting them first, it allows us to build solutions and products that benefit them the most. This led us to begin developing “Asia for Asia” line of products.
A great example is in our Hospitality sector. We introduced our JBL Pro Soundbar, which is a straightforward, easy-to-use and maintain solution, offering our world-renowned sound quality and volume control in a single touch operation. This was developed in consultation with leading hospitality chains as per their requirement for a simple operational system that provides their customers with world class audio.
What are some of the latest HARMAN Professional Solutions products that you’ve brought in to the country?
We have our new AMX Acendo Vibe available in the country. With the Acendo Vibe, working from home is easier. It’s also a great tool for smaller group working in huddle spaces within offices. As mentioned earlier, there’s also our JBL Pro SoundBar PSB-1, which is designed specifically for hospitality applications, such as hotel rooms. In the retail space, we see a lot of interest in our JBL EON ONE PRO, which is a portable, all-in-one PA system, perfect for indoor or outdoor use.
Is there a plan to put up an Experience Center, like the one in Singapore, here in the country?
We now have five partner experience centers around APAC—Vietnam, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, and Thailand. The Philippines is in the horizon. For now, what you can see is our products in a growing number of retail stores, which serves as another form of Experience Center.
What upcoming technology are you excited about for the company?
We need to be sure we don’t discuss new products before we’re ready to announce them, but at a high level, “Connected” for us is a theme.
Let’s take for example our recently launched Connected PA product, which was developed to bring unprecedented ease-of-use, from setting up the loudspeaker to enhancing the enjoyment for everyone at any event. In Connected PA, you see a combination of technology from our brands all of which have a strong heritage in providing the best.
What’s your work philosophy like?
My approach to market is “Inch-Wide, Mile-Deep.” We have a great team that handles the region and as we explore each country level strategy, market segment, and vertical present opportunities for growth. It is important for us to identify within each country, the vertical we are strong in, how we can build our business in those verticals with support from our country partners, and achieve market leadership. This helps us to focus our energy on growth opportunities and pursue them better.
On top of this, I want us to focus more on engaging with our younger audience. We have so many iconic brands with huge brand-loyalty in our customer base. But we need to recognize that we have to find new ways of connecting with the next generation. One of those will be making it easier for customers to find our products. You’ll see us diversifying into a wider range of retail outlets and in fact that’s already happening in The Philippines.
What gadgets do you use for work and for play?
I use the MKII reference studio monitor speakers in my office and never get bored of testing their capabilities! During my leisure time, I use the AKG K872 headphones to enjoy my favorite rock bands’ music. I listen to a lot of music at home and have both AKG and JBL headphones. I still think you get the best sound from headphones with a cable so I’m not ready to go wireless just yet—at least not with my music. My kids are really into creating and listening to music, too, and they tend to prefer the JBL brand as they say it’s cooler.
Of course, I’m a big Samsung fan and have a Galaxy S9 phone and a Galaxy Tab.
What are the most used apps on your S9?
Staying connected is a great part of who I am, not just at work, but personally. As such, both LinkedIn and WhatsApp have got to be my most frequently used applications.
You’re a busy man. How do you relax when work is over?
I love to spend time with my wife and kids after work and that’s relaxing for me, even if my kids are full of energy.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
With this job plus four kids at home I really don’t have a lot of time to myself. But if I ever get the chance I love to get away, to try new food places, and auto racing!