‘Navigating the Tech-Led Future: d&b audiotechnik CEO Amnon Harman on Industry Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities’

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

As the live events industry anticipates a busy year ahead, companies like d&b audiotechnik are looking to where technology will have the greatest impact. Here, CEO Amnon Harman provides his perspective on the state of the sector, the challenges it faces, and where he sees the live events ecosystem heading in 2024 and beyond.

How would you describe 2023 from a business and technology perspective?

Amnon Harman: 2023 has been an important and successful year for d&b audiotechnik and has been the point where our industry, which saw a significant decline in 2020, has now returned to its pre-pandemic levels. This year, d&b experienced 30% growth, exceeding market growth and delivering another record year. The US led the recovery in touring and production, with Europe and the Middle East closely following. The Asia-Pacific region is still in the process of catching up, but we are very confident about its continued recovery in 2024.

From a technical standpoint, the post-pandemic era has ushered in a new emphasis on interconnectivity. Our systems are increasingly becoming part of larger ecosystems, a trend that depends on providing seamless integration with other standards, software, and control systems, as well as technologies such as AR and VR.

What is the greatest challenge the industry is facing?

Amnon Harman: Looking ahead, there isn’t a single overriding challenge; there are several that the industry must address long-term. For instance, post-pandemic, globalization has morphed into 'glocalization', with companies seeking suppliers closer to them. This is only one example of how trends from the past have changed after COVID.

Looking at our industry, we are seeing three major revolutions that have an impact on our future. First is a 'purpose revolution' where people are seeking more meaningful things in their lives and a better work-life balance. This once-in-a-generation level of social change is substantially affecting both the workforce and consumer behavior.

Second is the “sustainability revolution,” another big challenge for the industry. Artists and event organizers are increasingly focused on reducing their carbon footprint, particularly by using environmentally friendly technology. This trend is driving tech innovation, including better audio, visual, and lighting capabilities that are more energy efficient.

Another major challenge is presented by the “digital revolution,” which, accelerated by the pandemic, has led to the rise of online and hybrid event formats incorporating AI, AR, and VR. These developments have a significant impact on technology providers like us, as we focus on leading the way in enabling these important developments.

What is the most interesting trend you see in 2024?

Amnon Harman: In 2024, the integration of live events with other media formats is a trend we're closely watching. d&b is already addressing the associated integration requirements as the virtualization concept continues to evolve. What we’re certain to see is more live events being streamed to and shared with remote audiences, so those who can’t attend in person also get to share in immersive live performances. Overall, the industry is seeing increasing levels of tech-led innovation and creativity across the board, with examples such as the Las Vegas sphere entertainment concept indicating the levels of investment organizations are prepared to make to deliver outstanding live experiences.

Where do you think the industry will be in 5–10 years, and what needs to happen in order to get there?

Amnon Harman: Over the next 5–10 years, artists will not only perform in front of live audiences but also reach digital audiences globally. This dual presence will become standard practice, allowing those who cannot or prefer not to travel to still experience live events in a new, innovative format.

To achieve this, a significant transformation in how we equip live music venues is essential. These spaces need to be reconfigured to seamlessly connect and synchronize audio and video components, catering to both on-site and remote audiences. This evolution will not only accelerate innovation but also improve our collective sustainability initiatives as artists and venues alike strive for more environmentally friendly practices.

How is d&b preparing for a more sustainable future?

Amnon Harman: Sustainability has been an important driver of d&b's business model for many years, and today it represents a core aspect of our business philosophy. We have consistently worked towards reducing our environmental impact and energy consumption year after year, including developing more efficient manufacturing processes.

In the past, the drivers for our environmental focus were a “green consciousness” and commercial aspects like energy savings and less waste. In the current landscape, sustainability also encompasses a broader social element, including aspects such as gender equity and responsible corporate governance. To formalize this commitment, we created an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework that helps us understand and articulate our position on various sustainability issues.

Looking ahead, we're not just stopping at manufacturing sustainable products. We're also developing software solutions to assist our customers in measuring and managing their carbon footprint during events. These tools will enable event organizers to optimize and reduce their environmental impact continually. This approach to CO2 management and reduction is not just a service to our clients but a testament to our dedication to leading the way in sustainable event management.

As CEO, what fuels your drive to embrace change and inspire the company to break new ground?

Amnon Harman: My journey as the CEO of d&b audiotechnik has been fuelled by a combination of personal passion and the dynamic nature of the industry. Over the last decade, leading d&b's development, scaling it from a team of 300 to 1,000, and growing our revenue have been incredibly rewarding.

Ultimately, my motivation, and indeed the company's success, lies in the inherent drive that exists across the audio technology industry. This industry is unique in its relentless pursuit of the next innovation, whether it be in event production, technology, or service delivery.

At d&b, we've embraced this by clearly identifying our opportunities, defining our objectives, and developing technologies that not only address current trends but also set new ones. Being surrounded by like-minded people who share a similar enthusiasm for innovation and excellence has been incredibly stimulating; it drives us to push boundaries and elevate d&b to the next level.

 

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