Above: Robert Portelli, Teknocorp - top image, Peter Kamarinos with Rob Portelli outside the new facility in Altona North.

Melbourne-based electronic security integrator Teknocorp has built a new office, incorporating meeting, technical, project and training facilities, as the company takes its evolution to the next level.

The new facilities at Altona North, a central location that gets the team closer to its customers and suppliers, are one of the neatest security integration setups we’ve seen, covering all the fundamental requirements of a busy security business, while creating an inspirational environment with plenty of flow.

As part of the move, the company has installed Inner Range Integriti access control and an Avigilon video surveillance solution, with a Gallagher system still to come. These cutting-edge solutions provide opportunities for demonstration, as well as show casing the team’s integration skills. But for all the pleasing aspects of the new facility what struck SEN most when we visited recently was the passion of the team.

According to Teknocorp’s MD Rob Portelli, the new office, which is location near the hub of Melbourne with excellent access to roads in all directions, is a statement of intent, an inspiration, a reward, and a practical move, all rolled into one.

“The new office is closer to the city – that’s a big thing because it saves our techs time,” says Portelli. “We have positioned ourselves in a really good spot, the facility is purpose built for us, our staff were involved in the design of the facility and I think what we have ended up with is excellent. The new building is ideal for our needs and it will be inspiring to our staff and our brand.”


Impressed with the Rav-4 hybrid, Joseph… 

Portelli says all Teknocorp’s suppliers have got on board and provided their latest solutions for the team to install as part of the new facility, including Inner Range Integriti, Avigilon, Gallagher and others.

“Our own team built much of the environment and integrated the security technology we have installed here,” Portelli says. “The building access control and alarm system is Integriti, with Sifer readers, but we will be adding other solutions – we want the building to be agnostic, as well as to highlight the possibilities of the latest security technologies. We will also incorporate solutions from Hikvision, as well as from Gallagher, including visitor management.

“On the CCTV side we are Victoria’s largest supplier of Avigilon solutions and to showcase these we have an Avigilon ACC system and Avigilon cameras. The Avigilon platform is a good story for us – we have some great applications of this solution, including an Avigilon, Indigovision and Gallagher solution that looks after a major water utility – that application has Motorola radio, too. We are also working on 37 floors for Victoria University using Integriti and Avigilon, so there’s plenty to talk about there.”

While the built environment, particularly the work triangle, is important, the network design is vital, too.

“From a network perspective, our internal IT team took on facility’s network as a project,” Portelli explains. “This was more complex that it sounds. Before the move, we had 2 offices and 2 networks running side by side. Ultimately the cutover process was so seamless all people had to do was pick up their laptops, pack up their screens and walk out. When they set their gear up in the new place, everything worked as it had before.”

Portelli explains that while some elements of the new facility were planned, others suggested themselves along the way.

“As an example, I need a desk that raises and lowers so I can work standing up and thought why not do that for the entire team?” Portelli says. “As a result, everybody has the same flexible desk that can be adjusted up or down as required – they can sit or stand, depending on the work is being undertaken.

“We haven’t skimped on the design, the fit-out, or the sub systems – it’s been a serious investment – in a way we look at this as our contribution to supporting local businesses battling their way out of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

When we walk into the building immediately to the left is a wonderful meeting space. It’s based on a neat idea that takes advantage of the building’s layout.

“The whole idea of having the meeting room here beside the foyer is so visitors don’t have to travel through the entire operation to have a meeting – the space has plenty of wow factor, too, and there’s all the technology you could ask for from the point of view of presentations,” explains Teknocorp’s GM, Peter Kamarinos.

“Also downstairs are admin and service workstations, as well as the service manager’s desk – there are also tech hot desks and lockers adjacent to the network racks and other infrastructure. Further in, there’s a breakout area and past that is the kitchen, with the warehouse situated behind. We wanted the techs to have hot desks in the heart of the space, rather than being pushed out, or isolated down the back somewhere, which is usually the case.”

Sticking my head in I can see the warehouse area is large – there’s plenty of room for stock storage prior to pre-commissioning, as well as space to undertake key aspects of pre-commissioning.

“Something the move has given us is the opportunity to get rid of a lot of accumulated gear that has been building up over 35 years – things no one could bring themselves to throw away in case they were needed for some legacy application,” Portelli chuckles. “We found some real museum pieces during the move, including Vidicon bank cameras and some documents from the 1980s.”

Next, we go upstairs – this is where the projects team is located. It’s a great space – open, with offices at either end, a decent amount of light, plenty of room for the dedicated project workstations, as well as a large table centre left.

“We brought our old board table over just to see how it worked in this space,” Portelli explains. “We were worried it would be too big when located alongside the project workstations but it’s actually the perfect size and allows for impromptu meetings which need more than a workstation without the team needing to run up and down the stairs or book the meeting room.”


Rob with Teknocorp’s IT manager, Joseph Theuma. 

Developing an empty space for a specific outcome during Melbourne’s on-off COVID lockdowns was not without challenges, according to Kamarinos.

“At the same time, the COVID pandemic provided opportunities in some ways,” he explains. “As a company we are highly engaged anyway, but the challenges encouraged us to go full steam ahead and we were able to get our supplier partners to come along with us and we kept them busy, and they helped us get the results we wanted.”

There was plenty of work to be done turning a shell into a facility combining function and atmosphere.

“The company that built the fit-out really joined us on the journey – they built a 3-dimensional plan and walked us through what it would look like in software and that was part of their service – not an extra,” he explains. “There were things we added as we went along that were not part of the plan and they were able to accommodate those changes with the least possible fuss – they knew what we wanted.”

As mentioned, the network was an important part of the upgrade – not only the local network, but connectivity to the internet delivering the team cloud access from any location. The demands of COVID had already required a change of network structure and the move cemented it.

“Here at the new building, we have commercial grade internet – 100Mbps up and down, as well as 4G backup,” Portelli explains. “When we started going cloud, we introduced a software management platform for service we chose to have it on premise, not in the cloud – we went this way for security reasons, but we had to manage and maintain the server, the UPS, the switch, the slow internet link – it became a boat anchor – we decided to take it to cloud and once we were in the cloud, we took our accounting software there, too.

“With COVID there were people who wanted/needed to work from home and we found that VPN performance was a bottleneck – to get around this, we have all our files in a secure location in the cloud and it’s backed up elsewhere, and everyone on the team has fast access to required data from anywhere. Some very large files are retained onsite because they are too large for seamless access when the team is working with them.”

Something else that’s important, according to Kamarinos, is the location of data stored offsite.

“An issue for some of our customers is they want their data to be sovereign,” he explains. “They don’t want their data sitting outside of Australia. This is part of the complexity – it works differently for every customer.

“All our accounts and files are now in the cloud, so the team can access whatever they need from wherever they are and with COVID that has made things a lot simpler.”

Conclusion

Portelli explains that the move highlights the value Teknocorp puts on staff, suppliers and customers.

“As an example, we changed all our vehicles a few years ago as part of making sure the technicians and project people are looked after – the business is not a cash grab – you’ve got to look after people – it’s what we stand for,” he says. “Being answerable to myself I can make that decision to ensure the team feels supported, feels safe and appreciated.”

“More recently, the team was rapt when we upgraded their cars again at the end of last year – at the same time we are providing new facilities for them. Through COVID we did not stand still and we did not lay anybody off. Looking back, the challenge of COVID brought the team closer together, which was a great outcome from the team building perspective.

“The team has been involved in the process of developing the facility,” he says. “Now the place is completed, it’s a bit like moving into a new home – it’s inspiring, it’s a showcase, the team should feel proud of what we have achieved. Many people have heard what we are doing – we are going to be bringing our clients in to see it – the idea is to show customers what we can do and to show them the latest technologies our suppliers are offering – I can’t wait to get started.”

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