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HARMAN and Sierra Wireless bring 4G/LTE broadband connections to the road
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HARMAN and Sierra Wireless bring 4G/LTE broadband connections to the road

Posted by Jeremy CowanNovember 14, 2011

Karlsbad, Germany – HARMAN, the global audio and infotainment group (NYSE:HAR), is ready to begin road tests of an LTE module integrated into production-ready infotainment systems, as first reported at iot-now.com in January.

The companies are testing through LTE-networked areas in Europe and tests in the US will follow. Test vehicles will be equipped with the latest infotainment system platform technology integrating an AirPrime™ embedded wireless module developed by Sierra Wireless, a leader in high-speed mobile computing and wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) communication (NASDAQ:SWIR) (TSX:SW).

As LTE continues to emerge as the next generation broadband connection to the car, HARMAN and Sierra Wireless are enabling drivers to have a truly connected driving experience by giving them access to a wide array of web content and services right from the cloud.

HARMAN is committed to advance innovations around connecting the full range of digital devices and platforms, so that the automobile becomes a natural extension of both the office and the home – with a critical focus on safety. Next generation automobile services include off-board navigation, video-on-demand streaming, internet radio, dynamic loading apps, interactive online manuals and other telematics functions or new driver assistance features such as traffic light recognition. These bandwidth-rich applications require a reliable anytime, anywhere broadband data connection to offer leading automakers and their customers the ultimate on-road experience.

“HARMAN is leading the industry to bring the best ‘always on’, ultra-fast connectivity experience to drivers. Broadband connectivity in your car is becoming a fundamental expectation and lifestyle requirement,” said Sachin Lawande, HARMAN’s Chief Technology Officer, and Co-President of HARMAN Infotainment Division. “Just as HARMAN is meeting today’s demands for integrated navigation and infotainment solutions, we are pleased to work with Sierra Wireless to address the emerging requirements of automakers for an increasingly connected car.”

In anticipation of growing demand from automakers for 4G/LTE solutions, HARMAN started its collaboration with Sierra Wireless a year ago and was the first OEM supplier to announce support for the Sierra Wireless AirPrime embedded modules for LTE networks. With data download speeds of up to 100Mbps, and uploads as high as 50Mbps on LTE networks, HARMAN is able to offer auto makers a multi-faceted media, office and online experience within the vehicle.

“HARMAN leverages deep experience in providing broadband connectivity to vehicle systems and combines this expertise with Sierra Wireless AirPrime™ intelligent embedded modules for LTE networks. First vehicle prototype integration into HARMAN’s latest infotainment system generation is ready and shows promising results, with peak data rates up to 70 Mbit/s and average speeds of 20 Mbit/s in urban conditions. This will enable us to push this technology into next generation vehicle systems”, said Manfred Schedl, Vice President Connectivity of HARMAN’s Infotainment Division.

According to automotive researchers Strategy Analytics, 70% of vehicles produced globally in 2009 were equipped with connectivity solutions. This number is expected to increase to 95% by 2012. Consumers show a strong desire to seamlessly control content from the cloud – such as music, movies or navigation apps – through a car’s dashboard or steering-wheel controls as they are used from their smartphone or tablet. HARMAN and Sierra Wireless are working to address consumer-driven, vehicle-centric demand for wireless enabled, mobile broadband solutions and applications.

“We are excited about the potential for 4G/LTE in the connected car, with its ability to provide a richer multimedia experience that can increase both safety and convenience for passengers and drivers,” said Philippe Guillemette, Chief Technology Officer, Sierra Wireless. “This collaboration is a first step in realising this potential.”

In addition to its 4G/LTE collaboration with Sierra Wireless, HARMAN helped lead the expansion of the ngConnect Program to China in July 2010, with a public demonstration of an LTE Connected Car during the Shanghai World Expo.

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Jeremy Cowan

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