In today’s Innovator Spotlight, I would like to shine a light on Graham Hammell, an extraordinary engineer and prolific innovator based at the HARMAN Professional Solutions campus in Salt Lake City, Utah. As Director of the Platform Group for application and protocol development, Graham oversees teams in Utah and Bangalore, India that are responsible for designing and developing software applications and protocols that enable customers to configure and control HARMAN products. Notably, he is the lead engineer who designed and developed HiQnet London Architect, the application used to configure and control BSS Soundweb London hardware.

Graham was born in Stockton-on-Tees in North East England, where he lived for 18 years before attending college. “I graduated from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the U.K. with an honor’s degree in Software Engineering,” said Graham. “Shortly after leaving university, I worked for a company that developed CAD software for the printed textile industry. After six years, in January 2000, I joined HARMAN with BSS Audio. In 2009, my family and I relocated to Salt Lake City and the HARMAN Signal Processing facility.”

Graham was originally hired as a senior software engineer and initially worked on a control app for the JBL EVO loudspeaker series. “That was a fairly small project, but I was soon leading the team that worked on applications to configure BSS Audio Soundweb DSP products,” he said.

HARMAN Professional Solutions has a wide range of products that need to work together to form complete systems,” said Graham. “Our main protocol in use today is HiQnet, and the main applications are HiQnet Audio Architect for installed sound and HiQnet Performance Manager for tour sound.”

Graham has been involved in many HARMAN products, but the one that has consumed most of his time is the BSS Soundweb London series of networked DSP processors for the installed sound market, and the applications used to configure and control them. “BSS Soundweb London is an open-architecture DSP product in which the audio processing that happens within the product is all configured by the customer,” he said. “The software applications, HiQnet London Architect and HiQnet Audio Architect, allow the customer to completely configure the DSP processing and system control within Soundweb devices to create custom installations.”

As the main engineer for HiQnet London Architect, Graham designed and architected the binary logic system that runs on the hardware and also simulates in software. He was also involved in the development of BLU Link, HARMAN’s proprietary audio transport, and the user interface for configuring and managing the system.

Audio Architect

Audio Architect

Later, he guided the team that developed HiQnet Audio Architect, which integrated BSS Soundweb London with amplifiers and other HARMAN audio equipment.

Graham also directed the development of the BSS HiQnet Contrio Server, HiQnet System Architect, HiQnet Performance Manager, JBL SRX Connect and JBL PRX Connect. “I architected the BSS HiQnet Contrio Server, a PC-based appliance that enhances the capabilities of the Soundweb London processors by providing additional capacity in system-wide functions, such as logic, scripting, media playback and the self-healing of audio components, a functionality that is unique to our industry,” he said.

By monitoring amplifiers, DSPs and other devices, if a piece of equipment fails, the self-heal functionality of the Contrio Server can precisely configure its replacement. This can entail updating device firmware, configuring network settings on the device, sending configuration information to the device and setting its last known parameter values, allowing the system to be back up and running as quickly as possible. “Without the ‘self-heal’ functionality, if a device fails and is replaced, it would take a trained technician to reconfigure the new device to be like the old one, a process that can take time and is prone to mistakes,” said Graham. Based on his efforts, HARMAN has a pending patent application on, among other things, the self-healing functionality.

Graham has also co-developed methods for identifying transducers and analyzing connectivity in line arrays. Around that work, HARMAN currently has another pending patent application that pertains to an automated method of identifying speakers in a line array.

When he isn’t busy in his lab, Graham enjoys working on his home entertainment system, tinkering with computer technology and making the most of Utah’s beautiful environment. “Living in Utah means that there are plenty of outdoor activities. I like to ski, mountain bike and enjoy camping with the family. I also like to play computer games and especially VR [Virtual Reality],” he said. “We have a pretty decent audio and home cinema setup at home, courtesy of HARMAN AVRs and speakers. Having an interest in PC architecture means I am called upon by friends and family when they need help or advice with anything computer related. Occasionally, if I am need of something specific and there is nothing that meets my needs, I will write some software.”

Many thanks to Graham for his insights and many innovative contributions. We’re grateful to have him on our team.

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