The smart home is a massive opportunity that cannot be ignored, but retailers need to understand the user benefits of the smart home products they are selling as a connected system, and how these devices may or may not connect with one another. Knowing at least a moderate level of networking and being knowledgeable is of paramount importance. Not all these consumer devices are without shortcomings and working within a customer’s home requires trust and professionalism to protect both reputation and profitability.
This is where training is important for retailers. AWE’s Smart Home Academy covers a range of courses, including CEDIA Training, Foundation Workshops, Home Cinema Design, Single and Whole House Control, and HDMI & 4K Video Distribution.
Established in August 2014, AWE’s Smart Home Academy is a dedicated training programme providing retailers with the necessary skills to install the latest smart home products safely, efficiently, and professionally. As such, training courses have been created to cater for both newcomers with little knowledge of installation, through to those retailers with established experience and staff.
The majority of courses are held at our headquarters, Alexander House, which uniquely lends itself perfectly to education purposes, as it includes a show apartment, two cinema rooms, a music room, and a product showroom, which allows attendees to get hands on and experience the theory that they have learnt within a real life integrated environment. We are also proud to be the southern base for CEDIA training, which allows us to provide retailers and installers alike with access to further training courses, as well as our own dedicated programme.
Our trainers are highly skilled and knowledgeable members of the team, who have the installation experience to advise attendees on best practice. Having installed all the systems around AWE HQ and with background in installation and retail themselves, our CEDIA certified trainers know what they are talking about and can use this experience to help the attendees along their way.
The Foundation Workshop focusses on the fundamentals of custom installation. Uniquely, as well as important background and theory, there is a heavy bias towards the essential skills and knowledge required for a variety of tasks that smart home integrators will be faced with on a regular basis in a hands-on workshop. Starting with basic health and safety advice and do’s and don’ts of custom install, the course then progresses into the practical sessions. A variety of tasks await course delegates, from neatly and safely placing an in-ceiling speaker between joists and mounting a TV bracket, to reliably terminating and testing CAT 5/6 network cables.
“The foundation training course run by AWE was excellent. It was a terrific grounding in custom installation essentials and smart home products. The session is a good mixture of theory and hands-on experience, benefitting everyone from the company who came along. Some of the skills we learnt were put into practice the very next day!”
– Peter Harvey, Team Leader, Hughes Smart Home.
From here, we support retailers by providing a clear pathway to furthering their training with us including a Foundation in Smart Home course looking more in depth at products and system setup, as well as a dedicated course on Designing an Immersive Audio Home Cinema, and much more. We talk them through the available courses, discuss the best options for them, and decide on a running order of courses for them.
We’ve recently optimised our Designing an Immersive Audio Home Cinema course for retailers, to be able to offer a tailored programme that incorporates sales specification in the retail environment. This we’ve paired with Sony projection training, helping retailers to better understand the benefits of 4K projection, allowing hem to up-sell to their customers. Following our course feedback so far, 100% of attendees strongly agreed that the course materials delivered on the course objectives, the course was well organised, and would recommend this workshop to colleagues in similar roles. By the end of July, we’ll have had over 50 people through the door for this course.
Our training programme is very successful. Over the years, we have been instrumental in helping retailers to add value, sell solutions, retain margin, and up-sell to their customers in this expanding market, and we’ll continue to do so long into the future.