8 Extraordinary Distributor Training Options
From video games to stadium tours — training options you may not have known you could get from your equipment distributor.
When security dealers need technology or business training, it’s a good idea to check out what equipment distributors have to offer. SDM checked in with several distributors about this recently, and found that they offer an impressive breadth and variety of training and resources. Here are eight of the most notable examples.
Keep in mind that distributors also may offer other types of training not mentioned here. For example, almost every distributor brings in trainers provided by manufacturers to train dealers on their specific product offerings. Some distributors also offer other options such as online training. And distributor training often is available at no charge.
1. Lessons From Those Who Live It
One of the best ways for security professionals to learn how to address installation issues is to learn from the experiences of other security professionals. With that in mind, Tri-Ed, An Anixter company, will be giving dealers the opportunity to network and learn at its Stadium Tour roadshow series throughout 2016. Held at major ballparks across the U.S., these one-day events provide training and demo experiences from some of the industry’s leading suppliers. In most venues, dealers will even hear from the baseball park’s security director or get a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark. (After making a couple of key acquisitions, Anixter’s business now also includes the operations of Tri-Ed Distribution and CLARK Security Products. See related article, “Anixter & Tri-Ed 1 Year Later: An Exclusive Interview,” exclusively online at www.SDMmag.com/anixter-tri-ed-1-year-later.)
“It’s interesting to see how different technologies work together in a security control room environment, such as one at a ballpark,” explains James Rothstein, senior vice president of global security marketing for Tri-Ed. “It brings it home when [dealers] see how an access control system really integrates with and reacts to video and fire. It brings everything together in very tangible terms. When you hear from a security director how [technology has] helped in reacting to situations and problems, it really drives home the value message.”
As a bonus, dealers attending one of the Stadium Tours get to stay for a baseball game after the manufacturer expo.
2. Making Training Fun
Anixter isn’t the only distributor making training fun. When SDMtalked to executives at Irvine, Calif.-based Ingram Micro in May, the company was getting set to launch video training on IBM’s QRadar offering, a network security management platform that offers situational awareness and compliance support. The videos, which will be available on demand, have what Nina Buik calls “gaming missions” attached to them. Buik is senior principal business development and marketing manager of professional and training services for Ingram Micro, which distributes physical security and other technology offerings. As part of the learning process, users will have the opportunity to play video games related to the training topic, Buik explains.
3. Discounted Online College Courses
Dealers that buy from Ingram Micro get another educational benefit as well, Buik notes. They can get a 20 percent discount on online classes from University of Phoenix.
4. Learning By Doing
Listening to someone explain technology — or watching an explanatory video — can give dealers a good grounding in understanding how to use the technology. But experience in actually working with the technology is important, too.
With that in mind, San Leandro, Calif.-based distributor Access Hardware Supply has an interesting plan in mind for an upcoming training session. The company specializes in access control devices and hardware. The upcoming training will be held in a hotel — and as part of the training that they will be getting, dealers also will be asked to walk around the hotel and put together a proposal for a system for it. They will work in groups, putting recommendations on a pad of paper.
“We’ll give them all tape measures and finish ring sets that allow them to identify the correct color of hardware,” explains Bill Smoyer, western regional sales manager for Access Hardware Supply.
Later the group will review the proposed solutions. If mistakes are made, the trainer will correct them. But the main emphasis is on showing dealers the different ways they could approach the installation planning and equipment specification process.
“The main thing is to be able to help them to be better in the field,” Smoyer comments.
5. A Useful Visual Aid
Smoyer sometimes plays the role of trainer at Access Hardware events. When interviewed in May he said he was planning to do a training session on basic electronics and relays in July.
To help make this type of training more impactful, Smoyer created some useful visual aids. Recognizing that it can be difficult to demonstrate a regular-size relay for a group of people in a way that everyone can see it, he created oversize replicas of four different relays. After watching Smoyer demonstrate the oversize relays, people can more easily apply what they learn, he says.
6. Get Answers To Specific Questions
Carl Smith, systems design and support engineer for Greenville, S.C.-based ScanSource Networking & Security, may be better known to ScanSource dealers as “IP Man.” Each issue of Focus, ScanSource’s dealer magazine, contains Smith’s answer to a question that dealers may have about security networking and Internet protocol based equipment. Examples of topics that Smith recently answered include hooking up an IP camera on a website for public viewing and the differences between fisheye and multi-imager cameras.
7. State-Approved Ceu Training
In many states, continuing education is critical for security dealers to maintain professional certification. And some states only accept CEU credits for classes that have received state-level certification. Officials in North Carolina are particularly strict about approving security training, notes Michael Lingle, marketing manager for The Systems Depot, which is based in Hickory, N.C. Perhaps because of its location, The Systems Depot regularly offers training that has been certified for CEU credit in North Carolina — reminding us that working with a local distributor may be one of the best ways of obtaining CEU credits, particularly in states where those credits are difficult to obtain.
8. Selling To Vertical Markets
Not all training is technical. For example, Greenville, S.C.-based distributor SYNNEX Corporation offers training and expertise aimed at helping dealers “navigate procurement processes and solve the business problems unique to each subset of this vertical,” observes T.J. Trojan, SYNNEX senior vice president of product management. Examples of vertical markets that SYNNEX covers include K-12 and higher education; public safety; and federal, state and local government.
Security equipment distributors can be a great source of training, whether dealers are looking to learn more about a specific product, to gain an understanding of a new technology, to learn how to apply technology in certain vertical applications, or to keep professional certifications current.
Education & More at Anixter
Education is one of several important aspects of Anixter’s Infrastructure Solutions Lab. The 4,000 square foot facility is a research and educational center certified to test products to meet a wide range of security industry standards, including ANSI/TIA/EIA 568, ISO11801 and IEEE 802.3.
Dealers visiting the facility can compare the image quality of dozens of analog and IP video cameras that Anixter keeps on display. They also can work with Anixter personnel to evaluate a proposed network infrastructure to be sure that it will successfully handle bandwidth demands. Additionally, they can evaluate solutions that integrate logical and physical elements of an installation’s data, voice, video and automation systems. Anixter personnel also can conduct interoperability testing using products from multiple manufacturers.
The Infrastructure Solutions Lab is a multi-million dollar investment of product and test equipment for Anixter’s customers.
Staying Relevant Through Training
A primary issue that security dealers are struggling with is how to remain relevant. The single largest challenge that our installing contractors face is learning how to interface network infrastructure into the overall solution. Networking touches on every type of installation so it is vital for installers to possess a solid working knowledge of the latest technology in routers, switches, Power over Ethernet (PoE) and wireless control and access points.
ADI offers many trainings that are designed to help service providers understand infrastructure. These include specialized training seminars that are held at 64 ADI Expos across North America and at most major industry trade shows. ADI offers monthly webinars, as well. The training seminars held at Expos include multiple courses given by industry-leading vendors such as TRENDnet, D-Link and Luxul. Expo training seminars also include many IP video surveillance classes that dedicate as much as a third of the course time to networking. The seminars at each Expo are hand-selected by our local sales team in order to tailor the trainings to the needs of the customer at a local level.
Monthly webinars are geared toward more specialized knowledge and delve deeper into specifics of networking. In addition to providing a comprehensive look at this topic, specialized apps, helpful hints and calculators are also examined during these webinars.
ADI’s trade show presence often includes hands-on training. Dealers who attend many of the industry’s largest trade shows can participate in the ADI Skills Challenge. These challenges focus on solutions to real-world problems which can be applied to any IP-centric device and teach faster throughput as well as best practices. After learning and/or improving on their skills, integrators will “race the clock” to win prizes in the form of valuable new tools to make their jobs easier. – Contributed by ADI Global
For more on security dealer training options, visit SDM’s website where you’ll find the following articles: