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Do consultants need vendor certification?

Do consultants need vendor certification?
Certifications from vendors, industry bodies, and other independent organizations go a long way in helping consultants and integrators remain updated with the latest tech and trends.
Training for the physical security industry is still a somewhat fragmented area. There aren't many formal education options that focus on physical security alone. Most of the industry professionals either rely on learning while on the job, from courses provided by industry bodies, or those from vendors.
But perhaps the bigger problem that hurts the industry is the lack of interest from some professionals to learn. This is an issue among certain consultants that Jon Polly, Chief Solutions Officer at ProTecht Solutions Partners, pointed out.

Do consultants shy away from technical training?

Speaking to recently, Polly said that while training provided by industry bodies is important, keeping up with the latest products is critical. One way of doing this is by taking up training from vendors, which may be brand-specific but will still keep you abreast of the latest technology.
This is important because when customers ask you about such products, you will need to know about them. But not all consultants are interested in such an approach, according to Polly.
"In my experience, many of them know what they know about technology," Polly said. "If there is a door, they know that they need to install a camera in front of it. Or a camera with an access control system. But why do you put it there? I recently spent some time with some consultants who knew how to write division 28 spec but were almost at a loss as to what technologies were involved. They were just asking the vendors what this or that technology does."

Why consultants should take up technical training

Consultants often undergo training from industry bodies and opt for certifications from organizations like ASIS. But very rarely do you see them choose to do a training program offered by vendors. Such technical aspects are left to the integrators.
"I rarely see consultants getting manufacturer's certification," Polly continued. "The integrator themselves may come with certification from large companies like Genetec, Milestone, Axis, etc., but the consultants don't really feel the need to have it.  Personally, I want to have that certification because if I'm going to ask somebody to be certified in technology, I should first have a good understanding of what it does."
Some of the certification exams from vendors are not easy. Although they may not be as intense as PSP, you will still need to spend considerable time in preparation.

How technical training helps 

The technical knowledge would come in handy in various situations. Polly, for instance, found that his training with wireless technology helped in some of the smart city projects he has been working on.

"I have heard people in the industry talk a lot about wireless tech as if it's some kind of magic!" Polly said. "Or about H264 and 265, in terms of how they will save storage. Yes, these are relevant, but only with training can you know that it all comes down to math. You can calculate how much storage you will save and how much you will require. Where do you need to go wireless? What are the limitations? Training helps you understand all these."

Technology and training are inevitable

At the end of the day, the security business has a lot to do with technology. Understanding the technology is essential for everyone who works in it. You may be able to manage with training that's limited to your domain but going beyond it gives you the edge that's required to do a better job.
Certifications from vendors, industry bodies, and other independent organizations go a long way in helping consultants and integrators remain updated with the latest tech and trends. Continuous learning is a necessity as technology advances quickly.
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