Technology simply amazes me. Last month, I was invited to attend Samsung HVAC’s Annual Sales Meeting in Grapevine, Texas, and since I was flying Delta Airlines to get there, I downloaded the airline’s app onto my iPhone. It was my first time using any airline app, so I can’t really compare it to any others, but I found it really simplified my usually stressful traveling experience.

I was able to check in for my flight the day before, and imagine my surprise when I did not need a boarding pass. Instead, I used a QR code generated right on my phone and saved to my Passbook. The app also sent out alerts, such as flight times, connecting flight information, and any delays or gate changes. Needless to say, I’m a fan.

While technology certainly helps simplify aspects of everyday life, keeping up with it can definitely be a challenge. For example, I upgraded my phone to the iPhone 6 earlier this year. Now, I’m already hearing rumors of an early release date for the iPhone 7. Not only will it be released earlier, it will feature updated processors, memory, LTE bands, 3-D Touch technology, and Touch ID finger sensors, according to rumors. Every time you turn around, the next latest-and-greatest piece of technology is already available for purchase. It’s no different in the HVAC industry.

I’ve interviewed many contractors who’ve said their biggest challenge in the industry is staying up-to-date with ever-changing technology. Contractors have to not only keep current on next-generation products, but also keep an eye on new manufacturers entering the industry, many of whom have their own product training. It can become costly, but to fall behind could have a far more disastrous outcome. Customers will always want the latest and greatest technology available, and if you don’t offer it, they will turn to a competitor who does.

Samsung HVAC employs a pretty smart strategy when it comes to keeping HVAC professionals up-to-date on current offerings and new technology. The manufacturer invited wholesale distributors, wholesale representatives, and manufacturer representatives to its sales meeting the past two years. For the first time this year, contractors and sales engineers also received invitations.

“We introduced the new stuff coming out in 2016 and showcased some of the products we’ve had in the line that maybe they’re not all that familiar with,” said Donnie King, regional director of distribution development, Samsung.

The event included offsite activities for attendees — like visiting Dallas Cowboys Stadium or a train ride to the Fort Worth Stockyards — before a presentation Quietside Corp. CEO Sang Lee. Afterwards, product displays were set up and attendees were able to get a closer look at Samsung’s new 360 Cassette air conditioning unit, DVM Chiller, and next generation DVM S 30HP, to name a few.

“We want to get the contractors out there telling homeowners that Samsung has solutions for their problems,” King said. “We want engineers, architects, and building owners to recognize and know that Samsung has a commercial product that can help satisfy their needs. We get everybody together so they can ask questions. That way, when they go out in the field, they’ll know how to answer the questions they’re being asked. We want contractors to feel in what they’re selling and the engineers to feel comfortable with what they’re putting on the plans.”

Contractors don’t have to wait for invitations to manufacturer events to learn about new products either. Reach out to your local distributors and manufacturing representatives to see what product-support and training classes they’re offering. There’s always something to be learned in this industry. Don’t fall behind or you just might get left behind.

Publication date: 11/30/2015

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