Control4 has officially surpassed 1,000 registrants for its Pakedge Certified Network Administrator (PCNA) training program. More than a year ago, Control4 identified a major problem within the industry: a broad deficit of network installation and configuration skills. Control4 found more than 30 percent of dealer support problems were related solely to a network issue – and not to hardware deficiencies. After working with their global Control4® and Pakedge dealer base, the revelation was clear -- most dealers got into this industry through AV and control systems, and they were intimidated by the concept of the home network.
Control4’s solution was to launch its PCNA curriculum. Designed to teach installers the skills and knowledge needed to – as the first course puts it – “help make networks that don’t suck.” The six-part curriculum combines interactive coursework, online instructional office hours, and a proctored online certification exam to ensure networking competency specifically designed to give custom installers the tools, knowledge, and hands-on skills needed to design, implement, and manage the network needs of today’s connected home.
The PCNA certification program has been very well received by integrators. Andy Bell, Managing Director of Trusted Technology in the United Kingdom says, "When we heard about PCNA at the CEDIA Expo we knew it was a great opportunity to ensure our engineers remain amongst the best in the industry.” He continues, “Our tagline is ‘Experience Amazing.’ Training and certification prove we have the skills, and our clients can be confident that, by choosing us to be their smart home provider, they will ‘Experience Amazing’.”
PCNA training is not just for those installers who lack experience. Having a team that operates from the same standardized knowledge base can help efficiency by minimizing discrepancy. This is why Bell decided that each of their technicians—no matter their experience level—needed to become Pakedge Certified Network Administrators.
Bell adds, “Getting back into binary code was really useful as this isn’t something a lot of our guys have done since they were at college and it really helps you understand the basics of a network. The buzz around the office whilst our guys were going through the PCNA course was infectious – Engineers love learning and to be honest calls into our service team have dramatically reduced.”
Traditionally, most technicians have gained experience through trial and error. This lack of best-practice knowledge, more than defective or failed equipment, has been the root cause of network failure, ultimately compromising the very foundation of smart home connectivity.
The engaging and entertaining curriculum was designed to help technicians design, install, configure, and manage networks that simply work. Since the coursework includes Pakedge hardware -- RK-1 router, SX-8P managed POE switch, WK-1 wireless access point, P2/P2E Power Distribution Unit, and the necessary Cat-6 cabling – the tech will have built a small network using the equipment within the first ten minutes of the first course. The six classes are divided into: “Essentials - Build Your First Network,” “Switches,” “Routers,” “Wireless Access Points,” “Remote Monitoring and Management,” and “Network Design.” The PCNA curriculum is designed to teach networking skills and fundamentals that are applicable across various brands of hardware, but the course is specifically geared toward the custom AV and home automation channel.
The new training program launched in the fall of 2017 at the CEDIA Expo in San Diego and has since won two awards in the custom electronic installation industry; the TechHome Mark of Excellence for Best Education Program from the Consumer Technology Association and the Top New Technology Award for Business Operations Programs from Integrated Systems Europe.