From The Tech Director - August - 2020

Virtually Speaking

Technically speaking, we’ve been virtual for many years already. I mean, look at YouTube. You- Tube has somewhere in the realm of 842 million keywords. They have 1.3 billon users and over 300 hours of video uploaded per minute. Close to 5 billion videos are watched and 30 million visitors come to the site each day.

Eighty percent (80%) of the people going on YouTube per month are between the ages of 18-49 years-old. These statistics are mind blowing. These numbers show us that we’re more than capable of taking advantage of training not only in person, but also virtually.

Since our launch of the Virtual Training Solutions (VTS) powered by ATRA, we have just over 770 shops and over 1700 users getting trained virtually. Since early 2019, we’ve had 16,661 videos watched, 11,873 tests passed and over 11,000 active certificates. Meaning, technicians are getting certified by watching and taking the subsequent tests that follow our courses.

With the exception of music and gamer videos, the “how to” video search is up there in the statics. As our younger generation tells us, “I’d rather search a video than stumble through the learning process”. This is a far cry from what most of us have learned over our time in the industry.

I recall talking to some of my good friends, Joe Rivera and Raffi Pilavjian at the 2018 EXPO in Las Vegas. At that time they were talking about an app on their phones that tracked “screen time”. I didn’t know of, or have any interest, in needing to know that information until they opened my eyes as to what it meant.

Primarily, they wanted to check in on their kids. As we all know, our kids are usually glued to the phone screen. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the screen time, if used correctly, could be an asset. The amount of time we all spend on the phone searching or viewing material, educational material in this example, could be beneficial and even profitable.

This is one of the main reasons we started our VTS. We needed more youthful technicians in the industry. How would we do this? As the video market started the gain more interest, so did ATRA’s interest in video production.

In your opinion, how many hours do you think you’re spending searching, watching or scrolling on your phone? I ran a test with my family over this last month and had everyone write down the total number of hours spent on their phones daily. On average, I spent about 2 hours and 20 mins per day on my phone. My sons each averaged about 6 hours a day. This probably seems like a lot of time but this is how our younger generations are communicating with one another. They are spending time on video calls, watching movies, short films and videos on everything from MMA fights to how to fix their cars.

Virtual training is becoming more prevalent each and every year. Pretty soon we might be able to pull a Star Trek™ and just beam in and beam out of locations. Until that happens, visiting search engines and being virtually present will have to be good enough.

ATRA is on the front lines of bringing the number one thing our shops asked from us. They want training and a way to bring young technicians into our shops.

One of the biggest accomplishments we have had is putting our VTS in front of over 346 students across the country. This is allowing them to simultaneously get training from your association and become a certified technician. Don’t forget about getting a college degree as the cherry on top.

Moving forward into the 21st century at the “Virtual” speed of light, we can begin to see the benefits of training from home and from locations across the globe. How about both? Imagine, virtual training combined with an in-person regional seminar. Get the hands on training you crave along with learning at your convenience anywhere. I’ll leave you right there. Stay tuned-in and keep your Virtual mind open!