Everything Everywhere is to launch OS-specific training for its staff, awarding accreditations in iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phones, or in the ability to sell them at least.
The money will be spent on the new Development Academy with 7,000 staff benefiting from the initial round of training which will be focused on specific operating systems. The UK's largest operator wants to get all its 12,000 customer-facing staff trained up in the pros and cons of the various platforms as it prepares for a future where customers chose products by OS and expect staff to support them.
Staff training is a big deal, as network operators ape Apple's reinvention of retail as the cool hangout. EE likes calls its own branded stores "a new creative concept in communications retailing", and boasts that staff are so highly trained that the actual act of selling phones is deferred to a touch-screen expert system while staff focus on high-fiving customers and ensuring everyone has access to a charging socket.
EE should take care however: it seems unlikely that customers will want to be greeted by staff laying into each other over the benefits of the intent communication model, or the advantages of dynamic typing*, or any of the other multitudinous debates which rage whenever two or more OS experts are gathered together.
The training won't be limited to staff in the Orange and T-Mobile (and EE) stores, it will equally apply to online and telephone support which will now be predicated by questions about which OS you're running.
Hopefully you're not using Bada, as that's not in the list of smartphone platforms on which EE will be training staff despite it making up around three per cent of the world market.
But EE is betting that the mobile business ends up as OS-dependent as the desktop computing market, so customers will come in (or log on) looking for an iOS or Android device, or perhaps one running Blackberry or Windows, and want to speak to a specialist in that OS, so that's what's EE's "creative concepts" will be ready to provide. ®
* Trick question, there are none. Dynamic typing is simply an abomination.
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