Connectivity and digitization driving change in car industry, CEO of Samsung's Harman says

  • Dinesh Paliwal, CEO of Samsung subsidiary Harman, was speaking to CNBC at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.
  • The cars we drive are packed with a range of cutting edge innovations, from parking assistance to inbuilt satellite navigation systems.

Personalization, digitization, user experience and live connectivity in cars are driving change in the industry, according to the CEO of Samsung's American subsidiary Harman.

"Cars used to be where we spent a lot of time, and very private time," Dinesh Paliwal told CNBC's Annette Weisbach at the Geneva Motor Show on Wednesday.

People felt disconnected in their cars through not having the "same ecosystem" as the one outside their vehicle, Paliwal said.

Today's cars boast a broad range of technological features, from Bluetooth and automated parking to digital assistants and inbuilt satellite navigation systems.

Earlier this week, for example, the Hyundai Motor Group announced it had developed a digital key that enables drivers to unlock, start and drive their car using a smartphone.

According to Paliwal, there had been a "major awakening" in the industry. "They're saying, 'this is an existential issue, we need to keep up and catch up the digitization and personalization in the car'."

This was fueling a whole new discussion, he explained. "It's not about brakes, it's not about the new lights, it's not about… new luxury, it's about new digital ecosystems."

Harman specialises in the design and engineering of connected technology. The business was acquired by Samsung Electronics for $8 billion in 2018.

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