If you have buzzed in to an apartment block or group dwelling you would have used an intercom and access control system. Normally they are an analogue system that is found on a multi residential building. For construction companies, intercom and access control is another essential system and expense that they must have in place along with TV distribution, CCTV and other services in the common area. Each of these systems requires their own cables and equipment, much of it proprietary making it a closed system that cannot interoperate with other equipment. IP based solutions are helping to push all the technology requirements for buildings onto common platform and thereby cut down cabling and hardware costs for building developers and offer more services for residents.

These new intercoms are called IP intercoms, they work over standard networking cabling, the same cabling used for IP CCTV, IP Access Control, Building Automation, etc.

Why SIP door intercom systems?

Although IP intercoms can work as standalone units calling internal intercom stations, combining a IP door intercom with a SIP server has a multiplier effect on their capabilities.Integration of IP Intercom with SIP server has many advantages, the most important being dual use of devices – i.e. you can answer / make Intercom and Telephone calls from the same device unlike traditional systems where Intercom & Telephones were separate units. This reduces hardware, cabling, installation costs and allows Intercom calls to be forwarded to mobiles, landlines, tablets, PCs, Cordless phones, Remote extensions etc.

More advantages listed below.

1. Simple installation and adaptability of the system for modernization and expansion.
2. Multi functionality of the monitors: video intercom, inter apartment calls, photo frame mode support, voicemail, media player, stream image from IP cameras, etc.
3. Interactive system “Information and services” – universal platform for resource book creation of the housing estates enabling user to receive useful information, for example, about the nearest post-office or hospital, as well as call the plumber, electrician or any other community service.
4. Possibility to manage lift control and book temporary visitor parking space for a specified day and time from the special software.
5. Link-up of unlimited quantity of devices in the system (from 1 to 100,000 subscribers).
6. Possibility to control Home automation from the monitor by downloading apps .
7. Management Software – add-in program which helps to monitor the status intercom devices in the system, to send important messages / notices to residents, etc.
8. Integration of Access Control i.e. RFID card Readers, Keypad Code Access, Face Recognition etc. to enhance security, with the ability to limit access based on time of the day etc.
9. Possibility to record video from the outdoor intercom on NVR/DVR.
10. With the availability of SIP server user can receive video calls on indoor panels on smartphones and PC, open a door lock, make video calls from smartphone and PC on internal monitors and outdoor panels, make group calls and call diverting etc

The intercom stations are getting smarter because of their network connection. For example – if you are going into a large complex and you have just called the people you are visiting to let you in over the intercom system. Complex security scenarios can now be implemented – for example the building automation system via the intercom knows which apartment answered the call, it will send a message to lift control to take you only to the floor where apartment that answered the call is located.

Additional services can easily be added either at construction phase or by the strata group later on. For example, when combined with home automation systems and smart PBX systems, calls from IP Intercoms can be diverted to you mobile phone when you are out of the house. This could be handy if you running late and your guests beat you home. Expectations of what the building will offer will rise as adoption of technology goes forward. These services then are something that the building manager can offer as a service to tenants and make an ongoing revenue stream, or bundle it into strata fees. All the services outlined above are available today and have been implemented into the very top end implementations, but the scope for future services is limitless and we will no doubt see this filter down rapidly into the mass market.