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Exclusive: Datapath training manager on remote training

Iñaki Viloria López on the challenges of remote training while working at home with his young family

Training in the AV technology sector is a skillset that requires deep knowledge. How did your path lead you to your current role?

Actually, it started a long time ago as my degree at Uni was already related to AV technology.  After that, I worked for more than 15 in a system integrator focused on the control room market, therefore I have been a heavy user of Datapath products for a very long time. I’m very pleased to be sharing all these years of experience with our customers.

It’s been an unprecedented year since you joined Datapath. In light of the challenges from the pandemic, how would you describe the experience?

As you say, it has been an awkward year for joining a company. In my case it was a bit easier, as I knew the company portfolio and some of the staff from my previous job.  I had also experience on remote working, as I used to manage projects in LATAM and work from home, so I think that helped too.

But when you join a new place, you expect to work surrounded by people so you can learn who is who, the different roles and workflows, company policies, etc. This becomes harder when most of the staff is working from home and you only meet them on Teams. Luckily, the team and the atmosphere is very friendly here at Datapath, which made everything easier.

What would a typical work day look like for you?

It usually consists on putting together training content, guides, etc, and keeping it updated with all the new stuff coming from our R+D team. And of course, using that content for deploying training sessions and demos to every customer who requests it.  The duration of these sessions can go from less than an hour to up to two days, as  for example our AVIXA- certified course which covers the complete process of designing, setting up, using, and maintaining a VSN system

With remote working becoming more commonplace, where do you see training heading in years to come?

As it’s happening with the way we work, I think training is also heading to a hybrid mode. Remote sessions are becoming more popular, but it’s true that it’s hard to get the same level of human proximity and interaction as when you attend a face-to-face session.   

At the same time, remote sessions have made training quite more accessible for a lot of partners.  System integrators are usually very busy, dealing with their customers deadlines for quotes, tenders, commissioning, etc. It’s not easy for them to find some time for traveling to a manufacturer’s site and attending a training (I talk from experience here). So, they really appreciate when you offer them the chance of learning something with the convenience of not having to spend any extra time on traveling.    

Of course, we cannot forget that travel restrictions have been in place for a while, and sadly they may remain for a bit longer. That’s why we have made a big effort creating our Online Experience Centre, so we can offer the best user experience for those attending our remote sessions.

For those willing for the complete face-to-face experience, we are putting an even bigger effort on refurbishing our facilities. We are finishing a state-of-the-art training room where customers can come and learn every detail about Aetria. We cannot wait for customers to come and visit us, as they will have access to a complete Aetria environment, with Aetria Workstations, Aligos, etc. Hopefully 2022 will come with the easing of travel restrictions at some point and we can see them soon.

What are the key challenges to your day-to-day working? 

Engaging the person on the other side is my main challenge when I start a new training session. They need to pay attention and feel comfortable enough to ask any question that cross their minds. I try to share my experience with different problems and issues that I found on past projects, and I always encourage them not to be shy and to discuss about the doubts they may have, so they can make the most of the training.    

For remote sessions this is more complicated when the attendees switch off their camera and you cannot make eye contact with them, so you don’t know if they are engaged.

But in general, it’s very rewarding when you feel that the attendees are finding the training useful, and they can apply what they have learnt on their own projects.

Away from work, how do you spend your time away from computers and displays?

If you had asked me some years ago, I would have said going to the cinema after work, attending concerts in clubs or music festivals. I used to live in the city centre of Madrid with a wide variety of cultural life around.

But now, with a five-year-old daughter and a two year old boy, I’m afraid that childcaring takes most of my time out of work. Still enjoyable but, as anyone with young children will tell you, more exhausting!

Tell us something people may not know about you…

I love food and I enjoy cooking.  It’s always a pleasure when you can treat yourself with a glass of good red wine, play some music and cook something nice for the family or guests.