But it doesn’t just come down to the installers and dealers getting the right training. Instructors and trainers are adopting new training methods as the shift to online services is becoming increasingly popular. The use of Webinars, tutorial YouTube videos, whitepapers, informational e-newsletters and even the advent of online tradeshows have seen an uptick. And even some businesses are now requiring new hires to have some sort of “online” activity background, whether blogging or proactively using social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to build a brand. Trainers are also seeing requests for a more hands-on approach in the classroom.
“A lot of our attendees want the next level of training while others want to have a switch in front of them that they can program,” said Jeff Stout, network solutions manager, Tri-Ed/Northern Video Distribution, Woodbury, N.Y. This hands-on approach using hardware switches in class would be targeted in the second tier of training, which encompasses students getting training from manufacturers. “And we will help facilitate that to get folks to that next level of vendor specific training.”
The Level II IP training seminar addresses IP topics including network design best practices; IP naming structure; the OSI model; and switch basics. The class is being offered at every Tri-Ed/Northern Video branch location throughout 2011.
“If training is not interactive, it will fail,” Stout continued. “Training is a hot topic but it is a dry topic. Everyone is talking about networks and IP. Most of the vendors out there have something that is network-based. Resolution can be very boring but if you can take practical applications and address the questions and challenges these installers run into on the job, that is where you get their attention.”
Yet while in-classroom training can provide a more hands-on approach, outside of the classroom, students are able to become trained more at their own pace and also cut travel costs, one of the benefits to utilizing online training, according to Jeff Taylor, director, Channel Strategy & Marketing for March Networks, Atlanta.
“Training our dealers and end-users is something we take very seriously,” explained Taylor. “Education is the linchpin. Educating our resellers, there are three things that I keep in mind—quality content, accessibility and relevancy. It’s not educating about product but about the applicability of those products. We want to make sure we offer a lot of different ways our dealers and integrators can access this information.”
Video management solutions provider March Networks offers a number of resources in an online structure, including data sheets and a library of shorter on-demand voiced-over modules on how to use programs effectively, similar to that of mini case studies. With the company’s new Virtual Classroom environment, CSPs can now complete online training using a virtual workstation loaded with March Networks video management and client software and connected to VideoSphere IP cameras, hybrid NVRs and other hardware products. The training is free for March Networks CSPs, accessible 24 hours a day and requires no software downloading.
Training resources and online certification courses are offered to March Networks’ partners and dealers and can be accessed through a partner portal. The Web site also offers a specific section dedicated to the company’s Partner Connections program, which provides incentives for dealers including the HD PowerPack, product bundles, competitive displacement programs, deal registration and more.
Another resource to turn to for education is your local distributor. Distributors are working with their vendors to provide more technology-driven Webinars which serve as a great source for those who are at the stage in choosing a provider to partner with.
“The distribution model is such an important factor in the security space, if we don’t take a leadership role and offer a value-add service like training and facilitate that, then I don’t think we are doing our job for our dealer base,” confirmed Stout. “We work with our vendors and give them an idea of what we want, which is a technically-based presentation and not just product literature cut sheets on a PowerPoint slide. We wanted a technical presentation that addressed the question: ‘how do I install this camera or NVR or software on a network and make it work?’”