29 June 2023
Ben-Bartle Ross of Mitsubishi Electric on why video scores so highly for training and developing new skills.
I don’t know about you but if I need to know something, about anything, I’ll head to Google first. Wikipedia lists Google as the largest search engine on the planet, adding that it’s also a ‘mapping and navigation application, email provider, office suite, video sharing platform, photo and cloud storage provider, mobile operating system, web browser, ML framework, and AI virtual assistant provider’.
But I saw an article the other day which suggested that YouTube is a much bigger search engine than Google, which I found surprising, until I stopped and thought about it.
Google and YouTube are the top two most visited websites in the world followed in 3rd and 4th by Facebook and Twitter. If we look at what Wikipedia says about YouTube it describes it as an ‘online video sharing and social media platform’, so the first thing to consider is that perhaps Google’s prominence is expanded by the email, office, virtual assistant, and other applications?
And then an old phrase jumped into my head: “horses for courses”.
If I want to check a fact or find out something about someone, I’m likely to head for Google. If I want to understand how to do something, I’m much more likely to visit YouTube as I can watch and pause a video that will show me exactly what I need to do.
And it seems that a lot of people agree with me.
There are over 2.5 billion monthly users of YouTube and collectively they watch over a billion hours of videos every single day.
In May 2019, YouTube was reported as having videos uploaded at a rate of more than 500 hours of content every minute – And that was before the pandemic and lockdown made everyone reassess how they communicate, so I suspect that figure has really increased significantly. So it is difficult to overstate how much YouTube has become embedded in everyone’s ecosystem.
As a business, we have embraced YouTube as it enables us to get useful and informative information out to our customers. We joined the channel in April 2010 and currently have over 8,000 subscribers and offer (at the time of writing) 368 videos on our commercial site.
We’ve also got a dedicated renewable heating site which has over 50 videos with many featuring our Ecodan ambassador, George Clarke, who is passionate about air source heat pumps. We also use it for our training as we now offer three steps to learning how to design, install and commission our equipment.
Firstly, we have an award-winning blended learning programme, which allows engineers to increase their skills and knowledge in their own time and at their own pace, so they don’t have to lose time away from the day job. This programme is supplemented by YouTube and the videos on offer.
We then bring engineers together for a live online webinar, where they can test their knowledge and question our expert trainers.
Finally, engineers can visit our new training centres to physically get their hands on the equipment and test their knowledge in a ‘real world’ situation.
But we’ve also discovered new ways to use YouTube to improve the service we offer to our customers. Just before Christmas last year, there was a really harsh cold spell and the number of calls to our Homeowner Helpdesk doubled as customers needed help to make sure their heating was working correctly.
We realised that a lot of the calls related to simple things that could be fixed by the homeowner themselves, without needing an engineer, and without the homeowner needing to stay home for a visit. We therefore made some quick videos explaining how to fix the most common problems with a heat pump (predominantly error codes E6 and U1), which helped get people’s heating back on line in double-quick time.
So, would I choose YouTube over Google? That depends on what I need, but if it involves watching to learn how to do something, then yes, definitely. How about you?
- Ben Bartle-Ross is a Technical Trainer at Mitsubishi Electric.