There are few things in life more aggravating than trying to figure out something complicated with bad directions. Residential Systems contributor Jason Griffing knows this frustration and has launched a solution for the home technology industry, called HomeTech Academy.
Rolled out last week with material covering a select group of software providers, HomeTech Academy is positioned as a resource for busy professionals seeking vendor-specific product training and in-depth reviews through a single, convenient, and free-to-use website.
According to Griffing, the inspiration for the service has roots in his days working as a full-time programmer. “On many occasions I'd run into a challenging programming request, or even something relatively simple that I just couldn't remember how to do,” he said. “The control manufacturer's support materials consisted mostly of lengthy PDF reference guides, and a small scattering of video tutorials. Not only was the production quality pretty low, but the videos were released in very long clips, with little organization, making it nearly impossible to find the one piece of information I needed to get the job done.”
In his search for alternative guides, he kept coming up empty, save for some commentary on dealer forums. Years later, Griffing said this gap had yet to be adequately met, giving impetus to his founding of HomeTech Academy. “While the original idea stemmed from my time as a programmer, my industry experience has since expanded to cover a wide swath including operations, sales, and system design,” he said. “I've yet to touch a part of this business that couldn't benefit from the availability of more robust education and training resources. It's our hope that HomeTech Academy can become the industry's go-to resource for this sorely needed offering.”
Griffing is targeting his service to pros of all levels, but envisions the ideal user as an individual with a solid amount of industry experience who’s looking to take his or her career or business to the next level. “There seem to be a fair amount of resources out there focused on training entry-level technicians,” he said. “But it's like you get to this level in our line of work where there's nothing available to you other than the school of hard knocks.”
Presently, the site has courses for three software solutions: Domotz, a remote system monitoring and management tool; Slateplan, a quick budgeting and proposal software; and Ihiji Service Manager, a platform designed to help technology professionals get the most out of RMR efforts. In the future, he plans to expand the offerings to cover all facets of the industry.
“To that end, we are actively seeking feedback from our users about the kind of educational material they'd like to see on the site,” he said. “We also plan to engage with thought leaders throughout the channel to produce premium courses on a variety of the most important topics facing our industry.”
Since launching last week, however, Griffing said that users are happy with the current courses. “So far the feedback we've received from our users has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “In terms of company partners, across the board those we've spoken with have been very enthusiastic about getting involved. They see a lot of value in making sure their users receive the best possible training. And from a business perspective, there's a real case to be made for these companies to work with a partner who can help supplement their internal training materials.”