Making Your Expertise Unique
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Oct 01, 2018
Every businessperson wants to bring something different, or unique, to the table when they talk about their business solutions. In the security industry, or more particularly, the security consultant, the same applies. You’ve got to have a comprehensive approach/solution.
TEECOM, a well-known and respected security consultant in California’s Bay Area brings a wealth of possibilities to the job site. According to Jeff Smith, principle and vice president, with the firm, TEECOM is forward thinking and ahead of the industry curve in its use of new processes and tool.
“We function more like a tech firm than an AEC firm,” Smith said. “We use Slack for internal communication, Smartsheet for work collaboration, the full Google professional suite, Dropbox Professional, Bluebeam for document markups, REVIT and PlanGrid. These tools allow us to deliver projects more efficiently and with predicable outcomes. All of this facilitates a collaborative design process that boosts our quality assurance ratings.”
Well, who is TEECOM, who are their clients, and what work have they done?
They work with public institutions, tech giants, the Fortune 500, architects, developers and contractors. Since 1997, TEECOM has created the vision for, designed or managed more than 2,000 technology systems for leading clients such as San Francisco International Airport, The American Museum of Natural History, and Google. TEECOM has helped each of these organizations make critical technology decisions and, in many cases, helped them save money.
“One of the things which differentiates TEECOM is we offer physical security systems design within the context of an integrated design team,” Smith said. “Our multidisciplinary approach means that we are a one-stop-shop for clients, offering a single point of contact for all building technology disciplines.”
Because TEECOM handles every aspect of technology systems planning and design for buildings, a security designer can literally walk across the office to ask an expert about telecommunications, audiovisual, mass notification or acoustical treatments. Their clients have immediate access to engineers, who are highly credentialed and possess a wealth of experience in their specific disciplines.
“Most technology today is implemented onto a converged IT infrastructure. Another TEECOM advantage, is our multi-disciplines approach, because we design the IT infrastructure. Therefore, we’re able to simplify and increase the coordination of those technology systems which we are designing for the building, for instance, security, IT networks, audiovisual and telecommunications,” Smith said.
“Our approach allows the use of the same Revit staff to design in the model for all technology systems, and as everyone knows, the more time you spend in the model, the more you know it, the more competent you become in the design and the more refined the model becomes.”
A case in point would be Parkland Hospital in Dallas. As the largest hospital construction project in the United States, this 2.8 million square foot, 862-bed hospital houses the largest trauma center in the southern United States, the second largest birthing center in the nation and the second largest civilian burn unit. This hospital is where doctors strive to work, and patients find innovative treatment.
Built from the ground up, TEECOM was involved in the planning for security, telecom, audiovisual, network, wireless and VoIP. The security design included access control and alarm monitoring system; video surveillance; intercom and emergency phone system; detention control; infant protection system; security turnstiles; and system acceptance testing.
The community wanted a civic landmark that would serve for the next 50 years. Hospital staff wanted to welcome, be connected to, and respond quickly to patients at every point in their healthcare journey. Technology was key to both visions. Parkland’s technology approach is designed around the idea that technology can improve the quality of healthcare on a personal, social level through the use of multiple touchpoints from check-in through discharge. Patients want to know that they are seen as individuals, and to have their needs recognized. To provide personal, accurate service, healthcare providers must have patient information at their fingertips.
Some of the security features put in place at Parkland includes:
Every high-tech, high-touch VoIP telephone has a camera and a screen. When a nurse answers a patient’s call, the two can see and hear each other.
A digital energy-efficient PoE sign. This is located outside each inpatient room identifies the patient, doctor, and nurse, along with individual care guides, such as when a patient is in isolation or can’t eat.
Newborns are identified and protected from abduction. Tags are attached to their umbilical cords. Parkland has the distinction of delivering more infants under one roof than any other hospital in the nation, averaging 15,000 to 16,000 deliveries per year.
“There are all sorts of exciting ways to involve technology in a hospital that go beyond medical records,” said Chantal Worzala, director of policy for the American Hospital Association. “The ultimate goal is having the highest-quality care. And as we learn how these technology systems can support that, hospitals will be adopting them across the board.”
Transformation enabled by technology. Optimized workflow is a key ingredient to improving overall patient care at Parkland, and the integrated technology systems that TEECOM has designed will allow the hospital staff to work in ways previously unimaginable, yielding more efficient operations as well as increased patient outcomes.
TEECOM reaches into many verticals with their engineering services and excels at all of them. They develop and have strong relationships with a host of architects and end users. They also receive leads from security product manufacturers, when an end user calls for product information, the manufacturer will recommend TEECOM staff as a thought leader for project design, and to consider as their project design consultant.
“We are very much agnostic to what products we suggest; we have no favorites,” Smith said. “We like to sit down with the owner of the project, review their requirements, and begin to work on their security assessment.” This input will guide the selection of the appropriate product selections.
TEECOM also plays a role in the transportation and education sectors as a security consultant.
TEECOM was a multi-discipline consultant on the Oakland International Airport, Terminal 2 project, located in Oakland, CA. The project included the renovation and extension of a two-level 108,000 square foot concourse building, which currently serves 7 domestic narrow-body aircrafts and will be integrated into an International Concourse serving 3 wide-body aircrafts under a separate contract. The airport’s Airport Development Program mandated numerous improvement plans, titled the Terminal Improvement Program, to meet the increased demand of passengers traveling through the airport. Security system design included access control, video surveillance and gate infrastructure. Additionally, the company played a key role in the installation of telecommunication systems, to include the main telecommunication room, control room (for air-side control); airport IDFs, tenant wiring closets, structured cabling, FIDS and BIDS and wireless infrastructure.
“When it comes to airport interiors, frequent changes are made due to changes in airline tenants, food vendors or retail spaces,” Smith said. “Because of this, TEECOM included flexibility in our design of the ‘special systems’ so that Oakland International Airport would accommodate future changes with minimal disruption to base-building technology systems.”
At the Port of Oakland Marine Terminals, the devastation of 9/11 played a major role in designing new security solutions and upgrading security technologies.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the Port of Oakland Maritime Terminals received the first federal government grant in the country to implement security enhancements at the Port’s marine terminal facility. The company was hired to provide security systems engineering for 11 terminals., The design included a CCTV monitoring system, an access control and alarm monitoring system, an intercom system, turnstiles and gates, an intrusion detection system, electrical requirements (power and conduit), and fiber cabling requirements.
The designs were engineered to meet TSA, GSA, Coast Guard regulations, and included USCG requirements for marine terminals and smart card system standards (GSC-IS version 2.1). The designs met the approved government grant proposal requirements for the perimeter CCTV surveillance, the intrusion detections system and the automated pedestrian access control system.
The list of integrated security systems for the education sector is lengthy. Classes, study groups, food and friends are essential elements of college student life. For Contra Costa College, in San Pablo, CA, bringing it all together was top priority when conceptualizing the new Contra Costa Complex. The project goal was to connect students throughout the centralized buildings, walkways and roads. TEECOM designed the integrated technology systems for telecommunications, security and audiovisual systems for the three-building complex. Today, the new complex houses innovative smart classrooms and lecture halls with integrated display technologies and audio systems. The security solutions designed to integrate with the other technology systems were access control and alarm monitoring, video surveillance, intrusion detection and an entry telephone.
At the University of California, Berkeley, company staff designed more than 4 million square feet of campus buildings and served as a trusted advisor on more than 90 percent of the campus facilities, including auditoriums, conference rooms, research facilities, laboratories, lecture halls, libraries, office space and student housing. The security designs included access control and alarm monitoring systems, intrusion detection systems, video surveillance systems, duress systems and CCTV. Also included were a wireless design and infrastructure and a predictive survey.
While many of the examples and case studies are seemingly local to their Northern California home office, TEECOM delivers technology engineering/consulting projects around the world. The company was founded over two decades ago IT infrastructure designs but soon added security to their design discipline suite. Today, TEECOM employs a team of credentialed (PE, CPP, CDT, PMP, RCDD, CTSD)experts, and they are tackling some of the biggest demands in the industry. Ongoing security projects include San Francisco International Airport, several courthouses throughout the state of California, Silicon Valley technology giants and numerous higher education campuses, such as UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.
Key takeaways are building strong partnerships with security integrators and dealers, and manufacturers. Then deliver value to the end users. You don’t know where your next security project will come from, but more than likely it will require a multi-disciplined technology design team to meet the needs of an integrated and social world.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Security Today.