We live in a fast-paced industry and things change constantly. Five years ago, we were installing stand-alone AV systems that were just that—audio and video. There might have been an Apple TV for Netflix, but the network wasn’t important. Today, the network is core to what we do and is a large percentage of our revenues. That doesn’t come easily; it took a lot of time and effort invested into trainings and demo product to make sure we were capable of managing and owning the network. I continue to praise the benefits of attending as many training classes in-person or via webinars, as possible.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about choosing a new control platform and how difficult it is for dealers to make the decision with little to go on by company reputation and a meeting or two with a sales rep. Coincidentally, just before that blog went live, as part of being a writer for Residential Systems, Control4 sent me a link and log-in for their Associate Installer online training. This is the pre-requisite training course before taking Control4’s certified training program. While we aren’t Control4 dealers, I know several companies exploring the home automation space who are interested in companies such as Control4, Savant, Crestron, Elan, Clare Controls, and the like, that ask for my opinions. I figured it would be great to take the training and get myself familiar with the brand and what it can do. While the training was really targeted at the installer who will be on-site and connecting and configuring a system, not programming or customizing it, it gave a good feel for the Control4 line of products and how easy the system is to configure for a basic set-up. In fact, the entire thing can be done via app, from registering the processor to configuring the connections and therefore the remote and Control4 app interface to setting up basic lighting scenes.
Control4′ and Pakedge gear
All in all, I got a good feel for what Control4 is all about. And that brought me back to my earlier blog. Why isn’t something like this (or a modified version that gives a high-level view of the products, the configuration, the programming, and the user interface) available for dealers to familiarize themselves with a product line before making a huge time and financial investment? Even just making this online training available would help many dealers to make a decision. I have a couple of friends who were looking at Control4, and I invited them over to take the Associate training with me. It was the clincher for one of them, and he has since submitted his dealer application to Control4 and is in the process of scheduling the four-day training session in Charlotte. Before taking this two- to three-hour training, he was totally on the fence and unsure of the decision because he just didn’t have enough exposure to the product line. If pictures can tell a thousand words, an interactive training can tell a million!
On top of that, I have a new-found appreciation for the brand and what it is capable of. I have recommended Control4 to a few other dealers I know who are looking for an easy-to-implement control brand that doesn’t require extensive coding.
Just taking the time to do a quick online training has changed my opinion of a company and has opened up the doors for a few different dealers. So I implore you to not only train on the product lines you carry, but learn everything you can about other product lines. You never know when you’ll find something that you find a great fit for your business or that of a colleague. And you should never stop learning in this industry. Things change all the time!