Climb the Training Ladder

Invest in education and build future success

"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 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, a library of shorter on-demand voiced-over modules on how to use programs effectively, similar to that of mini case studies and online training using a virtual workstation.

Dealers can also find a specific section on the Web site 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?'"

A big part of training also comes from being in the field and at security tradeshows held each year across the country. The PSA-TEC conference, presented by the PSA Security Network, Westminster, Colo., brings dealers and systems integrators together for an entire week with one focus-training, training and more training. While attendees have to pay to access the event, (for members, the cost is $399 for the week; for non-members, the cost is $449), the value in attending educational sessions without interruption for vendor visits allows folks to really make the most of their time and get the targeted training they paid for.

"Installers have to invest in their education," said Sharon Shaw, director of Education, PSA Security Network. "It comes to the question: 'are you working on your business or in your business?' We have a lot of integrators who focus quite a bit on employee development. But often times, people get stuck trying to evaluate what training is going to bring back to their business." Shaw added that Webinars, whitepapers and additional online resources are a great way for professionals to educate themselves throughout the year.