Interview: Ramesh Jayaraman, Harman Professional Solutions

Interview: Ramesh Jayaraman, Harman Professional Solutions

In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts what the year ahead holds. Today we talk audio visual with Harman Professional Solutions’ Ramesh Jayaraman.

How have Australian workplaces coped with COVID? Will things go back to normal?

In our work with Australian government and defence organisations we’ve seen our clients cope relatively well. Many have adapted their operations and are still proceeding with digital transformation and update projects with HARMAN audio visual technology. Other areas have struggled, for example, the education sector. But we are seeing them starting to plan post-COVID recoveries and are bullish about the prospects for AV technology in education.

For 2021 it’s extremely difficult to say what will happen, but I am cautiously optimistic. There was clearly a big shift to working from home in 2020 and our products serving this area saw a strong uptick in demand in Australia. The technology we provide is essential to ensure the continuity of conversations, so a lot of our discussions with customers this year were around how best to harness HARMAN technology to do that.

Which new technologies will reach critical mass in 2021?

As large government institutions look to get increasingly networked, we believe there will be an increasing adoption of AV-over-IP technology. It’s already in place in several places, but we’re expecting interest to rise. If you think about ‘audio visual’, we’re really talking about conference calling and live video and that is dependent on seamless connectivity. So networked video and audio will become an even more crucial part of operations. HARMAN has been a leader in networked video and was one of the first companies to enter the space. With our SVSi range, which is part of AMX, we will be launching new solutions to accelerate our presence in this market.

What more can governments do to counter cyber attacks?

The most crucial thing to do is work with a trusted technology brand that will give you the foundation to run strong and secure operations. We know this first-hand because our AMX equipment has been granted formal certification by Australia’s ICT Security Branch and the Head of ICT Operations. We’re also certified by the US Department of Defence’s Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), with over 50 models approved to this standard. We are the only AV company to receive this certification.

So, in terms of technology hardware, it is essential that governments work with trusted technology brands but also select a good integrator for the installation work. Because even with the best equipment in the business, if it is not installed correctly then you are still vulnerable.

How will IT improve operational efficiency in 2021, and who should lead the charge?

Enterprise technology, such as the kind we offer through HARMAN brands including AMX, SVSi and JBL, will produce new levels of workforce efficiency and productivity, reducing cost levels and improving outputs. So IT will continue to transform work, and the increasing adoption of technologies such as AI, machine learning and voice activation in conjunction with trusted data systems will accelerate that.

In terms of whose responsibility it is to drive that, I feel that technology is an integral part of the whole management agenda, not just the responsibility of the CIO or CEO. It should be part of the discussion at the Board and C-suite levels, as they look at economic levers and how to improve their operations.

Ramesh Jayaraman is Vice President and General Manager, APAC, at Harman Professional Solutions. He leads the organisation across the region, including in Australia and New Zealand. He has an MBA from the University of Illinois in the US and currently lives in Singapore with his family.

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