Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Jon Vietti and Ken Sinclair
Vietti is a “Controls Specialist” with over 30 years experience in the
electrical, HVAC, SCADA, PLC, and industrial process controls
industries. He has an FMA credential from BOMI and is Tridium
Niagara AX/N4® certified. He is a passionate educator and
advocate of hands-on, relevant, and universal educational opportunities
for those who wish to pursue excellence in the Building Automation
Industry. DDC Support Services.com
Sinclair: What products and services does DDC Support Services provide?
Vietti: As the name implies, our goal is to support the Building Automation community in three areas:
Sinclair: Let’s focus on the training area. Tell me more about the portable training units.
Vietti: We currently offer two units. The PT-121 and the PT-78.
The PT-121 is designed with two types of students in mind.
The PT-78 is designed specifically for
DDC programmers and system integrators who are familiar with the
Tridium Niagara AX/N4 Framework and the Sedona Open Framework.
The PT-78 is able to simulate live operating conditions of equipment
like RTUs and Fan Coil Units, so students can create programs and test
them in real-life scenarios without having to be connected to actual
Sinclair: Does a student have to be Niagara AX/N4 certified to use these trainers?
Vietti: The PT-121 and its curriculum are intended to be as generic to the controls industry as possible. So the students and instructors do not need to have Niagara training or certification. The JACE controller in the PT-121 is the “curriculum server” that allows students to interact with the trainer using a standard web browser and a student workbook.
The PT-78 does require that students
have prior experience with Niagara AX, since it is a programmer’s
trainer that utilizes the Niagara and Sedona Framework’s
object-oriented programming tool set.
Sinclair: Do the PT-121 trainers require an instructor?
Vietti: No, they can be used as one-on-one standalone trainers, but the trainers and curriculum also lend themselves well to instructor led classroom/lab formats. We have one client, a Vocational College that recently set up a DDC training lab with 12 PT-121s. They are using them to provide Level 1 instruction to their HVAC-R, Electrical, Wind Energy, and Plant Operations degree program students.
Sinclair: Who else is using your trainers?
Vietti: We are just in
our second year of operation, but we are getting inquiries from a broad
range of Building Automation professionals. Our primary clients
so far are the Colleges and trade schools that offer HVAC and Energy
Technology degrees, but we have sold trainers to controls
manufacturers, mechanical contractors, controls contractors, and HVAC
At some point, we hope to work with the
military to establish “warrior to worker” training labs at some of
their bases so that we can provide interesting, well-paying job
opportunities for soldiers transitioning out of their military
service. We see this as a huge win-win opportunity.
Sinclair: Is there any special software or annual expenses required with these trainers?
Vietti: No. The
trainers have permanent licensing and all the software required to
operate the trainers is embedded in the trainer’s main
controller. All that is required is a PC with a web browser and
JAVA SE. Since part of the curriculum is embedded in the trainer
and part is in the student workbook, training programs will need to
purchase additional student workbooks if they have multiple, ongoing
Sinclair: How can our readers learn more?
Vietti: The best way is to visit our website at: www.ddcsupportservices.com
Datasheets can be downloaded for the
PT-121 and PT-78 trainers. Pricing and lease information is also
on the website under the FAQs tab.
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