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As I am going to become an integrator, I would need to do a 4 day training session in Dubai. Before I ask the Dubai rep, I want to hear from you guys, what really needs to be learned, and what are the prerequisites. From what I was told, all I need to know is nothing, but you guys tell me:

-Do I need to know a little about electrical engineering?

-Do I need to know about networking? Would a course on CCNA help me with this?

Any additional information would be helpful.

Thanks.

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Prerequisites to the class are the basic online class through c4 which is easy. What is your current background in AV and automation/control systems/networking? Electrical engineering is probably a bit overkill, ccna routing and switching may not be too bad for large scale jobs with managed switches but definitely not a minimum requirement. I had installed crestron, and installed as well as programed URC and RTI systems for about 4 years before going to c4 class. A good base understanding of a network with 1 or 2 subnets is important for troubleshooting depending on the complexity of the system. I have only set up 2 pakedge fortinet systems with 5 vlans.

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Hi, sonic,

The proposal I got from the Dubai office didn't mention an online course. I have to go there for 4 days for practical training. The regional sales manager said he used to work at Crestron as well but moved to Control4 and had a background in Electrical Engineering. Over the last month, I have been trying to study electrical engineering for free (Khan Academy, don't laugh), for basic electrical knowledge. 

In regards to networking, is it configuring switches and routers? (sorry if I sound newbie). Or is it more practical based? 

I have self-studied CCNA before, but really hated the terminal, but if that's what it takes let me know.

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I sent my wife to C4 training in Utah last year so she could have a better understanding of what I do. She had zero experience in low voltage or automation, however she is one smart lady. She breezed through without any issues. When she came back, she immediately logged into our demo system and started modifying and updating. Within a few weeks she was programming lighting scenes and setting up agents with an occasional question or two. I ended up sending her to clients homes to handle add on's and lighting. She was pretty good just before she quit cause she said I'm an A-Hole to work for :mellow:

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elo, thanks for your reply,

Well then that answers it. I called my Dubai agent today and asked him what the reqs were and he said: "You need to know how to use a laptop".

I've spent literally 1-2 months studying algebra 1 and 2, and now calculus to get to the point of studying electrical engineering on Khan Academy. Next stop: few subjects on physics and chem, then electro eng. oh this will be fun :)

Got a paid course on CCNA and CCNP on Udemy as well. Knowledge doesn't hurt...Might as well till I can afford the $$$$ 4 digit demo kit that I need to buy from the Dubai distributor to become my own dealer.

Might as well be an expert in case I need to troubleshoot something thats beyond my scope.

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I am not a dealer, but I am an Electrical Engineer, or I was and I have a piece of paper that says so.

Spend your time on learning computer programming, learn about about networking and play around with the technology.  That's what will help you the most.  

Lua is the computer language used by C4 drivers so you could start there, or Python which is more widely used and similar to Lua.  It might also be a good idea to learn you way around a command prompt in Linux if you haven't already done so.

You may need to figure out stuff like how to wire up a serial connection, how to wire up ethernet jacks, etc. if you will also be doing cabling in your role.

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25 minutes ago, zaphod said:

Lua is the computer language used by C4 drivers so you could start there, or Python which is more widely used and similar to Lua.

Perfect! OK I can only do so much, so I know learning Python is easier than Lua from what I have gathered because of the popularity. Do the drivers accept Python? or only Lua? You tell me what to learn, and is more useful and compatible and I'll try to find some courses. Also, (Im so sorry, Im very new to all this), when you say Linux can I do it on Ubuntu? I found some other sources that also lets me download the Linux terminal on my Windows 10 << Is that the command prompt you were talking about? Or Ubuntu in general?

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Installing the Ubuntu Bash on Windows is a start but not everything works in that .  It doesn't matter which version of Linux they are all pretty similar.  Control4 runs Linux but you may not have to interact with it all that much - but it could be a useful skill to have.  Just knowing how to login, browse files, change directories, issue basic commands, etc can be useful.  One way of learning Linux is to get a Raspberry Pi and play around on that as they run a version of Linux.  Look for stuff around mastering the bash prompt or basic Linux skills.

The drivers only use Lua.  You can search for C4 drivers online and within the file you will find Lua code although sometimes it is encrypted.  Drivers are either c4i which are text files or c4z which are just a bunch of files zipped up but you can open it up just like a regular zip file.  Within a c4z file you should find a Lua file - but it may be encrypted.

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There isn't much required to prepare for Tech 1 and as your distributor mentions you only have to bring a laptop.

However there is ALOT to learn in order to become a SUCCESSFUL integrator and run a SUCCESSFUL integration business.  As you mention knowledge is always good and in my opinion the following is required for integrators.

Network Setup and Troubleshooting knowledge

The network is the backbone of any home automation system and is required for parts of the system to communicate to each other, communicate to third party devices and distribute content such as audio and video from sources like your NAS drive to media players or audio players such as the Triad One, another controller or stream video from an IP Camera.

A poorly setup network will cause intermittent communication or no communication which can be caused by physical problems (poor ventilation, electrical interference, poorly terminated cables, etc), setup/configuration problems (routing problems, incorrect subnetting, wifi and zigbee network overlap, etc) or poor design choices (too many hops, network loops, etc).

A networking course such as Control4's PCNA will assist any integrator regardless of skill level to learn the necessities to design, setup and deploy a strong rhobust network for any sized installation.

A/V Design, Installation and Setup knowledge

A great audio visual experience requires the integrator to have a good understanding of today's A/V products.

There is alot to learn when it comes to distribution or products via HDbaseT, AV over IP and digital modulation.  HDMI is ever changing and with it so are the products.  Product A may work extremely well today with the existing standards but as the standards change support for newer products require an update to hardware.  As such it is extremely important that in new construction additional cabling be run to ensure that that home is future proofed for technology which may be introduced in the coming years.

The same goes with sources.  As time goes by consumer preferences change.  5-10 years ago media player technology was wide spread.  Individuals stored their audio and video libraries locally on USB and NAS drives.  Today streaming services is preferred.  Having said that Bluray is still big with consumers who are less tech savvy and prefer higher quality.

Basic Low Voltage Electrical knowledge

Every home automation system requires low voltage wiring or some type.  This is used to integrate sensor type devices such as motion sensors, reed switches, doorbells or motorised or controlled devices such as gates, garage doors, screens and blinds.

An understanding of what voltage, current, amp, AC, DC, relay, contact closure will be required at a minimum to connect these sorts of devices up.

Basic High Voltage knowledge

Alot of devices require an electrician for installation.  It is common to outsource part of an installation to an electrician and for the integrator to provide the equipment.  It is important for integrators to understand basic high voltage for design purposes and have the electrician check over the design to ensure it adheres to code.

General IT knowledge

More and more products require setup via window's programs, web interfaces or some sort of programming.  A general IT knowledge is a must.  Brownie points for those who understand fundamental programming concepts as that is required to taylor a customized solution for each home.

Imagination

The difference between a successful integrator and an average integrator is their imagination.  It may be ok to get by with the basics but what really sets them apart is the attention to detail.  Remember home automation is used to make people's lives easier not harder.  Talk to the home owner about their needs.  Wow them with your showroom.  The home of tomorrow is here today and you as an integrator can help make it a reality for everybody.

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Also a bit of background.

I once worked for a Control4 distributor performing technical and sales training for integrators, handling technical support and RMA"s before moving onto an integrator where i worked as a programmer and project manager before starting Chowmain Software & Apps which designs and develops software integrating 3rd party products and services for home automation platforms.

As such i talk to ALOT of integrators and can see differences between good and bad.

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Thank you so much alanchow, amazing answer.

In the morning I will try to get the driver editor and composer from my distributor, so I can practice (I think I'm doing it right; correct me if I'm wrong) coding in Lua and see results. Soon it could be a hobby and a fun one.

Also, regarding doing the perfect installation, I talked to my distributor (currently) and he said he could bring his team over but charge 15% of the contract. So I guess the first 5 projects would be done that way with my team carefully watching every move they make and observe what has to be done.

Also as mentioned, CCNA and CCNP (alan, u think this would help?) are on my list.

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I just want to add that Control4 and CEDIA provide excellent resources for online and in person training to further your skillset to become a successful integrator.  Once you have finished Tech 1 check out Control4's online university and knowledgebase.  Sign up to become PCNA certified and check out CEDIA certifications.

http://www.cedia.net/cedia-training/certification

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