Essential Install | Training Owen Maddock, owner of Bristol-based home technology specialists, ConnectedWorks, gently suggests you might need some training. Filling knowledge gaps Manufacturer training CEDIA – industry-specific, brand-neutral Training and sales Owen explains: “For me, it was about catching up. My previous job didn’t have a training budget, so the free manufacturer training was all I had. When ConnectedWorks started, I had a reasonable working knowledge of installation practices, system design and data networks, but I knew there were gaps and I wanted to fill them.” In 2015, ConnectedWorks ‘grabbed the opportunity’ to join CEDIA. They now carry all the main CEDIA certifications – ESC-T Technician, ESC-N Residential Networking Specialist, ESC-D Designer, and Owen is a CEDIA Accredited Presenter. Owen expounds: “Brands come and go – they change distribution, get taken over or just fall off the pace. If you learn general principles to start with, it’s much easier to adapt.” CEDIA training covers many aspects – networks, CAD, cinema, documentation, rack building, lighting, and even branding. “The team at CEDIA were great at helping me pick the right courses to fill those gaps and pass my certification exams”, Owen says. Credibility “Clients don’t know much about home technology,” Owen points out, “that’s why they need our help. No-one wants a self-taught solicitor, dentist or structural engineer. Certifications enhance your credibility – with clients and the other professionals on the project, and may also help you justify why you’re a little more expensive.” AWE offers courses in smart home control 64 | August 2017 Logic and Variables, understanding network requirements and integrating third party control products, including QMotion, Philips Hue and HEOS By Denon. The next course is on October 11. The AWE Smart Home Academy offers five expert training courses, including The Foundation Workshop, Whole House Integration with URC Total Control, HDMI Owen emphasises the importance of manufacturer training, noting recent developments in this area. “I remember spending whole days being aggressively sold to, but these days it’s very different” he says. Owen underlines that recent training from Invision, HDA, Pulse Cinemas, Meridian and Habitech have all been excellent. “Knowledge is profitable,” Owen states. “Networking training leads to improved hardware sales – I understand the issues much more thoroughly, and can explain – ‘You work from home a lot. Let’s segment the network so your young daughters can’t even see your work stuff.’ Straight away that’s a high quality managed switch and VLAN-capable router.” He continues: “In the same way, as a Cinema Design Specialist I’ll specify a better cinema, justify my selections, explain it all to the client, and get the job. That robust network or better cinema then becomes a very effective advert for ConnectedWorks and the process repeats.” There is a direct correlation between additional training and an improvement in sales performance. This is not just with the volume, Owen suggests, but also with quality and success rate. “People say yes to better equipment that is more suited to their needs. Do the badges impress customers, or is it the confidence that comes from thorough training? In all honesty, I couldn’t tell you. But it doesn’t matter!” and 4K Distribution with HDanywhere, Wirefree Blind Course with QMotion and HDBaseT Expert Installer. AWE lends its facility to CEDIA as an official base for CEDIA education. Crestron certification forms part of a new ETO (Electro- Technical Officer) training course. The course, launched by Just ETOs Ltd, has brought certified audio-visual systems training to ETOs. The Yacht Entertainment Systems course is a three day event run near Amsterdam and managed by Scott Molloy and Sjoerd Appelboom. The course serves as an overview of the most commonly encountered system components including Crestron, all integrated in a specially adapted media demonstration room. Scott Molloy, Just ETOs’ managing director, explains: “AV system skills are a crucial and unique requirement in the yachting sector. Yet these skills are constantly in very short supply. Gaining AV skills and certification is a smart move.” The first day of the course is Crestron’s CTI-Tech course, a workshop which aims to give the attendees the knowledge required to install and service a Crestron system. Covering the basics of communication through to firmware and program uploads, this course is targeted at engineers who need key Crestron technical skills, without programming knowledge. On completion of this hands-on class, attendees will gain the Crestron Technician Certification, and have the skills and confidence to successfully install and maintain a Crestron system.