How Can IP Intercoms Enhance Your Access Control Installations?
With open standards, many IP intercoms can integrate into video surveillance, access control, VoIP communications, and other building systems.
Intercoms have a come a long way since being simple buzz-in devices with only “listen” and “talk” buttons. Since then, the intercom market has grown considerably, with the global market hitting $2.8 billion annually and North America reaching $500 million.
What has caused this growth? Versatility. Quality. Design. And the shift from analog to IP, which has given rise to a boat load of new features that allow for greater security and situational awareness.
“Today’s end users, including schools, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities are looking for much more than a convenience device. They are looking to enhance their security solution. And today’s intercoms do just that,” says Craig Szmania, Business Development Manager, Axis Communications, Inc.
Previous analog systems were retrofit hardwired devices that were difficult and expensive to install and change the cabling of. They also experienced connectivity issues. Today’s network technology allows for clear voice communication, full HD video streaming, and simple, faster installation and integration into existing infrastructure.
Because network intercoms, like those offered from 2N and Axis, are built on open standards, they can integrate into video surveillance, access control, and VoIP communications. This kind of versatility is a major selling point for customers in any industry looking to replace and upgrade their system or simply enhance their existing one.
“Having the ability to seamlessly integrate with virtually all major building solutions is exactly what our customers want and ask for. They want ONE solution for their facility—not several,” says Szmania.
Unlike consumer grade devices, intercoms and access control solutions from 2N and Axis deliver:
- Superior image quality: If your customers can’t fully make out who they’re allowing into a building, why should they take that chance and allow them to enter? You can’t guarantee perfect lighting in every situation, which is why intercoms should employ night vision and wide dynamic range to compensate for strong backlight, or shadowy or overcast conditions. This allows personnel to quickly identify visitors, which is a critical function in emergency situations.
- Crisp audio quality: Background noise or inaudible audio can make it difficult to identify who is at the door or what they want. The system should incorporate echo cancellation and noise suppression technology to ensure clear, two-way audio no matter the situation.
- Flexible entry control: Previously, the lack of accessibility between connected devices from one central system made it challenging from an operational standpoint. Today, the cloud solves this problem. Because of open architecture, IP intercoms are connected to one cloud server. So, for example, if someone approaches an entranceway, you can set up the system so an automatic alert is sent to personnel who can then communicate via video link on a network device connected to the server. Being able to connect intercoms to other IP systems gives users much greater control and peace of mind.
- Dependability: Analogue cables are a thing of the past with the integration of LTE technology into today’s access control and IP intercoms. This allows for high data throughput for full HD video streaming, clear voice communication, and faster overall installation. This advancement allows today’s intercoms to be used where a typical ethernet cable is not possible.
- Durability: An access control solution needs to be tough as nails so it can withstand even the most demanding conditions…and still provide clear video and communication. Products from 2N and Axis do just that, giving you and your customers confidence that a facility will remain secured 24/7/365.
- Deep credential list: A system that has deep pockets can hold a lot of information, and that’s exactly what you get with 2N intercoms. These systems have the ability to hold up to 10,000 credentials—some of the highest in the industry.
Solutions for today and tomorrow: Adapting to a public health crisis
Today’s intercoms provide users with a wealth of programming options for greater security. And this is critical when we think of where security really starts—the perimeter. Whether it’s a school, an office building, a critical infrastructure facility and everything in-between, it’s crucial that facilities remain completely secure for the safety of everyone inside.
While the goal of any access control system remains the same—to secure the building—how it operates during and after hours is likely to differ. For example, a solution could be installed at all of the main entrances across a campus to alert personnel when someone approaches. No matter where they’re located, staff can remotely allow that person to enter say by smart phone or direct them via the intercom system to one main entrance on campus. The latter is an actual approach some healthcare facilities have taken during the current public health crisis. One U.S. hospital, for example, locked down card readers to restrict entry to all but one main entrance so they could screen every visitor, employee, or vendor who entered the facility. This ensured they were following guidelines set forth by public health and government officials.
On that note, the health and safety of employees, consumers and visitors should always be at the forefront of the minds of businesses. But this statement holds even more weight during a health crisis. Businesses today have adapted in many ways to combat the spread of Covid-19. One option they have is to install low-touch solutions for access management to reduce the number of surfaces being touched.
Take, for example, AXIS Visitor Access, an easy add-on application for AXIS Entry Manager that makes it simple for small sites to grant visitors access using a QR code. With this solution, there is no need to be on premise to buzz visitors in or even be physically present! Staff can grant visitors access at specific times or revoke access as needed—they’re always in control.
Let your intercom system work for you
As you can see, today’s intercoms and access control solutions should be part of any well thought out security solution. And today, that is exactly what we’re seeing—organizations are now able to integrate their IP intercoms with access control, video surveillance, and VoIP communications like never before. We can thank the shift from analog to IP for enabling users to be more flexible in their approach to access control, and we certainly expect the trend for adopting IP-based video and audio intercoms and access control solutions to continue its upward trajectory.
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