According to King and Mann, these programs are delivered over the Internet using a television format. Contractors and their employees can choose to watch any or all of the four hours of programming each week day on the HVAC Channel, they said. Broad-cast is scheduled to start Jan. 7, 2002.
According to King, contractors “can watch in their shops, at home, while travelling, or anywhere a connection to the Internet exists.”
“Contractors and their technicians can’t leave the field easily even if they can find a class in their area,” said King, HVAC Channel manager. “For the contractor to send his employees to technical or business classes means a double hit since not only does he have to pay the cost of training, these employees are then not generating revenue for the company while in class.”
The HVAC Channel is an outgrowth of the work that King performs as president of American Contractors Exchange, whose members utilize interactive training over the Internet.
King said that each program will have a specific theme and that expert panelists will be available during the live broadcast to answer questions from the viewing audience. If visitors can’t access the segments during the “live portion,” they can view taped segments at their leisure.
“We will archive each broadcast for 30 days,” said King.
According to the creators, the HVAC Channel solves three major issues for contractors.
“First, if owners do send office employees or field labor to training classes, many times they don’t remember critical parts of the training. The HVAC Channel solves this problem with timely classes. Employees can watch early in the morning and put to use what they learned that day. This reinforces what they learned because they use it immediately.
“Second [is] timing. Contrac-tors can’t afford to take their employees out of the field. The HVAC Channel schedules programs in early morning and early evening so that field employees can be in the field when they need to be in the field. Any contractor and his employees can watch programs on the HVAC Channel at regularly scheduled times or on demand.
“Third [is] cost. The information has to be affordable. The investment a contractor makes in the HVAC Channel is less than the cost of just one service call per month. Charter subscribers invest $100 per month.”
According to Mann, the HVAC Channel uses patent-pending technology to deliver “high quality” video to anyone who has a connection to the Internet. Broadband access is not required.
“We have technology which allows us to deliver video to dial-up users,” said Mann. “Most video now needs broadband access but most of our contractors have dial-up modems.”
And how do contractors know if their employees are watching the HVAC Channel programs? “We know who has logged on and can verify how long they have logged on for,” answered King.
Contractors interested in signing up for the HVAC Channel can visit www.hvacchannel.tv. King added that the $100 monthly fee for charter members is renewable every month and no long-term commitment is necessary.
Publication date: 09/10/2001