A popular area of ‘value add’ in the security industry is to offer specific product training. It makes a lot of sense; systems are becoming more and more complicated and it can be a real challenge to stay up to date with the latest technology and trends.
However, , and some security providers participate in a worrying trend of using ‘free’ training sessions as an exercise in marketing and promotion, which can verge on indoctrination!
For many professionals, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is an important factor in their career. If you look at architects and professional engineers (or anyone with a professional qualification), they must adhere to a programme of CPD which involves evidencing and logging a set number of hours each year to maintain their registration and certification credentials.
This approach ensures businesses have a bank of demonstrably trained and up-to-date professionals, rather than a team of well-educated but developmentally stagnated employees that may be missing the latest advancements in their knowledge base.
To ensure this is monitored correctly there are organisations that approve those CPD courses. They mandate it can’t be a sales and marketing piece and must deliver useful information. Proper training teaches people how to use and implement the latest technology, demonstrates what developments mean, and shows how these changes can impact and interact with other systems.
In key areas such as security, which deal with the safety of people and property, ensuring your skills are up to date is vital. In some cases, it could involve life or death circumstances, particularly when developments concern the use (or misuse) of technology and the dissacreditation of outdated procedures or trends.
If security manufacturers aren’t delivering knowledge and increasing the knowledge base of the people that install the systems, they are failing them and end users. It would be all too easy to invite installers and integrators to a free (or even paid-for) training session and simply beat the drum about how good your products are and congratulating them on choosing your brand!
It is equally irresponsible to run a ‘training’ event and effectively just direct the learners to your website for further details. That just wastes everyone’s time and the net outcome fails to deliver any practical benefits to the installers and integrators or end-users.
The right training does not simply promote your products, it puts them in the context of wider security requirements, the benefits they provide and how this can be used in the real world. It should also be relevant to the wider knowledge of the audience and add real value to what they do.
Whilst it’s good for installers and integrators to learn about new products, in our experience it’s also very helpful to give a refresher on existing systems and protocols to ensure everyone is up to speed.
For example, in the access control world some installers, integrators and security operators may not know all the ins and outs of smartcard technology – such as which smartcards have been hacked and when to use MIFARE Plus or DESfire?
That sort of information needs to be effectively presented by manufacturers to our installers and integrators, so they are imparting that knowledge to their customers and are delivering systems that are more effective for the end-user.
By ensuring the general level of education is maintained across the sector, security solutions are better targeted and more future proof because the installers and integrators properly understand the technology. It’s a far better and farther-reaching benefit than simply blowing your own trumpet in a vain attempt to increase your short-term sales figures.