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Editor-In-Chief: Al Anderson
Feature Editors: Erin Clinch, Faith Ragan
Sponsored Content Editor: Tina Barni

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The Shortlist

SMPS SFBAC Sponsor Spotlight: TEECOM

 

I recently had a chance to touch base with Traci Vogel, Content Manager at TEECOM, and ask her a few questions about her firm, which is one of our Platinum Sponsors.

Tell us about your firm and services.  
We often get asked, “What exactly does TEECOM do?” As with many things technology-related, TEECOM’s services can be confusing. A lot of what we do ends up hidden in server rooms or behind walls.

In a nutshell: TEECOM designs all the systems in a building that are technology-related. Sometimes what we do is described as “low-voltage” engineering to distinguish it from power or electrical engineering. Our design expertise includes telecommunications cabling and server rooms (aka IT infrastructure), wired and wireless networks, audiovisual systems (digital displays, conference room systems, paging and announcement systems, etc.), and safety and security systems.

We also do acoustical engineering. There is a huge synergy between the success of audiovisual and safety systems and acoustics. Our acousticians work directly with our tech systems designers to deliver high performance.

Finally, we design “immersive environments.” This term has evolved to describe any sort of 360-degree digital environment: virtual reality, CAVEs (giant video walls that wrap around the viewer), projection mapping (images projected onto surfaces), and domed spaces such as planetariums.

We work with architects, developers, real estate and facilities leaders, exhibit designers, and company owners, among others, in multiple verticals, including office and workplace, healthcare, cultural spaces, transportation, higher education, mission critical (data centers), and civic/government facilities.

How many years have you been in business?  
David Marks founded TEECOM in 1997. Three years later, the firm consisted of ten employees. By 2015 there were 50 employees. Today, we have more than 100 employees and offices in Oakland, California; Portland, Oregon; Dallas, Texas; and Brighton, UK. We were recently recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, a Top 100 Engineering Firm, and a Top 100 Corporate Philanthropist.

Could you tell us about some notable projects?
Certainly.

Lucille Packard Children's Hospital
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Palo Alto, California

From the early stages of planning in 2006, Stanford Children’s Health knew that their new hospital was going to be a project that pushed the limits of technology, and brought TEECOM in to consult. We placed an IT Project Manager on site to facilitate the integration of tech systems with the base building, and we worked closely with the client’s IT leaders, architects, vendors, and integrators to deliver systems that communicate securely with one another. The new hospital opened in 2018 with a telecommunications infrastructure that truly functions as the backbone of LPCH’s translational medicine bench-to-bedside approach. 

California Academy of Sciences Planetarium
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California

We’re particularly proud of this project. Back in 2008 we designed all the telecommunications, networking, wireless, audiovisual, security, and voice systems for the Cal Academy. We worked closely with a British technologist named Blair Parkin on the Morrison Planetarium, which is the largest all-digital dome in the world. We enjoyed working with Blair so much that he became a principal at TEECOM and heads up our EMEA business. In 2017, the Academy came back to us to refresh the technology in the dome and AV throughout. The telecommunications infrastructure was so well designed that we didn’t have to touch it – it was already primed to support the extra bandwidth and higher-throughput devices for the refresh. 

Expo 2020 Sustainability Pavilion, Dubai, UAE 
This is an exciting project being led by our UK office in conjunction with Thinc Design, an exhibit designer headquartered in New York, and Grimshaw Architects. At 86,000 square feet, the Sustainability Pavilion is the largest permanent structure on the Dubai Expo 2020 site. It will house exhibit space and an auditorium, and after the Expo is over it will become a permanent museum. Our scope includes designing the exhibit technology systems that will support Thinc’s interactive and immersive digital content while meeting the project’s Net Zero Energy requirements. 

What differentiates your firm in terms of approach, talent, tools, values? 
TEECOM was founded on the idea that the built environment would become a platform for technology-driven experiences. That has become true: we now take it granted that we can interact with the built environment through apps, that we can work wirelessly anywhere, and that we can virtually collaborate with anyone in the world. 

To support these new realities as well as emerging technologies, the built environment must be designed from the internet up. TEECOM provides the expertise to deliver an integrated vision for the future that carries organizations confidently through change. Our internal R&D department, TEECOMlabs, tests and prototypes products and provides solutions and thought leadership both for clients and our own designers. In addition, we support the continuing education that’s necessary for technologists to keep up with the market through TEECOMuniversity, our continuous knowledge share program.

How long have you been a sponsor of SMPS? 
TEECOM has been a major sponsor of SMPS since 2012. SMPS is a valuable peer-to-peer learning catalyst, one that produces real leadership benefits for A/E/C firms.

What are some of the memorable or key events of SMPS that your firm has been involved with? 
We are proud that TEECOMers have served on nearly every committee of the SMPS SFBAC. In addition, TEECOM Principal, Executive Vice President Nicole La was president of the chapter from 2017-18. She led the organizing of a Digital Marketing Bootcamp (sponsored by TEECOM) that educated members on best practices in inbound/content marketing.

Tina Barni Aday is the Marketing Manager for RHAA Landscape Architecture + Planning. She writes for the Shortlist and is on the SMPS SF Communications Committee. She can be reached at barni.tina@gmail.com.

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