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Business intercom systems and commercial intercoms have become a mainstay for modern companies and buildings. This is primarily due to their flexibility, convenience, scalability and improved security and communication capabilities.
Depending on the complexity of the system you choose, office intercoms can also be highly configurable and interoperable which is incredibly useful for businesses and commercial facilities with existing security and communication systems. But the nuances across the different technologies, hardwares and integrations can be confusing.
When comparing door intercom systems for business, you’ll need to decide between wired vs. wireless intercom systems, models with built-in video vs. audio-only office intercom systems. And it’s not just about the hardware. Some options, such as wired intercoms for office environments, come with physical installation considerations, too. So which is the best option for your facility?
Think about these questions too: do you need a weather-rated outdoor intercom system for business, or will the system be installed indoors? Does a video intercom system for business operations make the most sense in your commercial building?
In the commercial space, there are a number of different setups such as a commercial intercom system with door release to control access, or even a commercial video intercom doorbell to allow visitors to buzz in. With other options including office phone systems with intercom and office entry intercom systems, it’s important to look at all the features and limitations of a door intercom system for business to maximize your ROI. Trying to ascertain the best option for your requirements can be quite overwhelming.
The aim of this guide is to provide some clarity into the key differences across intercom systems for businesses, commercial properties and office environments, so that you can confidently choose the right system for the needs of your facility.
A commercial intercom system enables control over who can access a property through the use of a technology system. Commercial intercom systems are used in many commercial settings such as hospitals, schools, office and corporate environments. They’re an essential component of security and help to stop unwanted and unauthorized individuals from entering the building.
An office intercom system can also facilitate communication between different parties within the building. The system is usually connected to an individual at a reception desk or security desk, who has control over the system, and may also include individual businesses or tenants in the building.
Some commercial intercom systems have the ability to integrate with existing communication systems such as phones and public address systems.
Wired vs. wireless intercom system for business? This may be the first question you have. The term refers mainly to the receiver at the end of the communication.
Choosing a wireless intercom system for business is a great option if you want to connect the intercom to devices such as laptops and phones. This means they can be used even while you’re working remotely. A wired system on the other hand is physically wired to a receiver or substation at the front desk. Let’s look at the primary differences.
The devices are connected wirelessly, usually over a Wi-fi network which connects visitors to users. and are best suited to commercial properties like office buildings or industrial facilities.
Usually, they consist of a main office intercom with doorbell that is installed at the entry of the building, which is connected wirelessly to smaller substations within the building. In the case of a video intercom for business, the base station will also include a camera. The connections between the main station and substations allow users to exchange information such as audio and video through a microphone, camera or speakers. This also enables office to office intercom communications, where departments might be in different locations. This is a great option for larger business with lots of individual users and departments across locations.
Wired business intercom systems for offices or buildings broadcast messages across other hardwired devices, usually a receiver located at the front desk or point of security. These types of business intercom systems sometimes include a door release, which can be used to open doors and gates manually by pressing a button on the substation.
Wired intercom systems will come with accessories like microphones, microphone stands and a magnetic loop detector which can all be used to remotely control the point of entry. Wired intercom systems and simple office entry intercom systems are preferred by smaller businesses since the cost of connecting hundreds of users and devices over a larger building would be significant given the installation and maintenance considerations. They are also a good option for businesses where a front desk is the only source of contact for visitors, limiting the number of substations needed in the building.
Some intercom systems, especially more modern versions of the technology, use video. A wireless video intercom system for office and business use is becoming increasingly popular. The reason commercial video intercom systems are preferred by so many is because of the physical identification capabilities. A high-definition camera installed at the point of entrance can capture the image of a visitor and transmit the image to a chosen device or front desk.
There are also two-way video intercom systems for businesses available, which requires a camera at both the point of entry and on each individual substation. This type of office intercom system has a screen built into the unit that will display live video to the visitor as well.
Arguably less secure than video intercom, audio intercoms rely on the user recognising the visitor’s voice in order to grant entry. In these cases, a buzzer installed at the point of entry is attached to an intercom speaker system to allow them to request access. It’s up to the user to authorize entry upon recognizing the voice of the user, then release the door lock manually or remotely to allow the visitors in. This might be a challenge for commercial properties with many unknown visitors entering and leaving the buildings.
A phone intercom system for business is also a popular option. It consists of a door buzzer connected to the point of entry, and facilitates two-way communication through the inside of the building and the outside. The outdoor buzzer is connected to the building, and when someone wishes to gain access, they manually ring the buzzer and are connected to the phone system inside the building. These are usually wired using the phone lines in the building. A wireless phone intercom system can also effectively communicate with other devices such as smartphones or substations connected over Wi-Fi.
For large office complexes, an office to office intercom can help facilitate better communication and collaboration between departments. The most common use case for these types of systems is usually in schools, hospitals and large commercial facilities where it may be necessary to broadcast announcements, issue emergency alerts or communicate quickly.
The key differentiator with this type of commercial intercom system is that it has the ability to unlock the door it’s connected to. Office intercom systems with door release come in many varieties, the most common being office intercom with doorbells and a telephone intercom system for office entry.
For those using a business intercom with doorbell functionality, or office phone systems with intercoms built-in, workers are able to control entry in and out of the building. The door release function improves security because the latch cannot be released until a member of staff has recognized the individual and granted entry into the building. The door release function of an intercom system requires an electric lock at the door, which can be controlled by a physical button inside the building, or via a Wi-Fi signal for remote unlocks.
A small office intercom system can be a useful tool for a smaller scale organization, particularly if they operate in a location where employees need to manage who is allowed to enter the premises from a street-level entrance.
An intercom speaker system for business allows visitors to easily communicate with employees in the building, and are generally easy to use. In a building with multiple small businesses, the office intercom system should also have a directory so visitors can easily find the right business to contact.
A front desk intercom system can enhance customer service and professionalism, while working to verify the identity of individuals entering and exiting the building. These are great options for high-end retail locations where customers need appointments to enter, but also work for small businesses that simply want to improve the security of their facility.
One important consideration for a small business intercom system is the ability to connect with the building’s access control solution for employees. An all-in-one business video intercom system and reader might be a good option, as it can manage visitor access and allow employees to use authorized credentials on a single device.
Another important consideration for an office intercom phone system for small business owners is remote control of the door release. For situations like after-hours delivery or maintenance, a remote unlock operation can save business owners the hassle of coming out to the property to open the door.
One of the primary benefits of commercial intercom systems is the ability to facilitate quick and reliable communication without the need for physical proximity. This is especially useful in large facilities and buildings where departments are spread over different locations, floors or offices for example.
Opting for an intercom system for commercial buildings can often be prompted by a safety and security need. For example, a large office campus probably has many visitors coming and going, and it may be difficult to know who is actually supposed to be there. By requiring visitors to use the office intercom system, it provides an extra barrier to entry to help keep the campus safer.
Another benefit of a commercial intercom system for businesses is that they are fully configurable and customizable to the individual organizations or facility’s requirements. Intercom systems can be configured to allow for different types of access and permissions depending on the user. They can also be integrated with existing communication systems such as phone systems or emergency notification systems.
But as with any technology employed over a large scale, there are some drawbacks to consider when choosing an intercom system for commercial buildings. The cost of installation and maintenance can be significant, depending on the size and complexity of the system.
Office intercom systems also require regular testing and maintenance to ensure they function optimally, so this is something to consider. Additionally, if businesses or tenants are frequently changing in the facility, office intercom system directories must be kept up to date. This is why many businesses are choosing commercial intercom systems that can integrate with their current identity management platform, and offer digital or voice-activated directories that update automatically.
One potential drawback of an intercom system for commercial office buildings is that some companies may not want to be publicly listed on the directory for privacy concerns. In these situations, therefore, a voice-activated commercial intercom system may be preferred, as the visitors must know who they are there to see, or be routed through a receptionist. This prevents unwanted harassment and further protects the building from security breaches.
However, while vulnerabilities should always be considered and managed, commercial intercom systems are a useful tool for enabling efficient, real-time, and reliable communication across a facility. They can be configured to meet the specific needs of a facility and improve the overall safety and security of a building.
A commercial video intercom security system with door release mechanisms and commercial intercom entry systems on the whole can make access into a building much more convenient, tracked and secure. Allowing a member of staff on the front desk to authorize entry based on live video makes for improved accuracy and safety.
Video intercom systems for business are often able to be integrated with CCTV systems or commercial video surveillance systems and access control systems, giving security access to vital analytics and insights as to who is coming and going on a regular basis.
The best use cases for commercial video intercom doorbell systems are buildings with many tenants who will want to verify visitors visually before unlocking the door, or where the reception desk does not have a clear line of sight to the entry.
Another benefit of commercial video intercom systems is that you’ll have a visual record of entry activity at your building, with either still images or live video depending on the system you choose. While these units are often more expensive than an audio-only office intercom system, they are often worth the extra investment for better security.
Interoperability is a large consideration for commercial building managers and owners of commercial facilities. When working with a commercial intercoms system company, be sure to ask about the ability and effectiveness of connecting the office intercom to other security and communication systems in the building.
There are several benefits to having an interoperable business intercom system:
But interoperability can become complex and challenging since it involves the integration of different technologies and protocols, as well as rigorous testing and maintenance to ensure optimal functionality. It is important for facilities to carefully consider the communication and security needs alongside the potential benefits and drawbacks of an intercom system by researching the intercom systems company pool to find which can provide the best intercom system for your office in terms of costs, installation and maintenance.
Audio and video intercom systems are especially beneficial for security teams. They add an extra layer of authorization, as a system may require identification credentials to grant property access. A commercial intercom system is an incredibly effective way at keeping your building secure, monitoring visitor access, and ensuring visitors are who they say they are. The identification facilities vary according to which technology and hardware you choose, but the contribution to security is considerable.
With an intercom phone system, office workers can benefit from easier communication and tighter security. By using the intercom system for internal communication, employees can quickly alert each other of potential hazards or security issues, enabling them to act proactively.
Commercial intercom systems are incredibly convenient, both for visitors and employees. Enabling users to grant access from anywhere in the building through a business wireless intercom system offers greater flexibility for busy employees. The reception personnel can offer a welcoming experience using a desk intercom system with video to visually identify a visitor and manually grant entry without having to leave that area. Plus, office building intercom systems are generally easy to use, so most visitors will be able to request access or call the individual they need without much hassle. The best intercom systems mean less disruption to the workday, plus a more convenient and seamless experience for visitors.
As remote working and hybrid working patterns continue to emerge, a commercial intercom system can work to keep the building secure and protect employees in the building, even when management and security teams are working remotely. Similarly, it allows employees to work flexibility while still being able to manage access in and out of the building, and communicate with other internal teams whether they are physically present or not.
If you use video cameras as a component of your security system, a video intercom system can be a great addition to your arsenal. Completing the suite of security surveillance, a video intercom system and the footage it captures can be integrated with other surveillance footage to provide comprehensive visual insights of an area or the entrance point of a building. Look for ONVIF-compliant video intercom systems to ensure a seamless integration process.
The commercial intercom installation process system can be complicated depending on which type of hardware and technology you decide on. Usually, a professional intercom systems company will be employed to take care of installation, but there are a few things to consider before making the investment.
Which departments within your company will be responsible for granting access to visitors? These are the areas and physical locations where substations might need to be set up for a wired commercial intercom system. Are personal devices going to be connected to the system? You will need this information before you move forward with installation, since it will help you determine the number of stations and the locations of those stations.
It’s advisable to hire a professional to audit your location prior to the installation process. They will be able to identify the required power supplies, wiring and cabling requirements and whether or not your chosen intercom system is compatible with your existing communications equipment. A consultation process may be necessary before you fully invest.
When you have purchased the equipment, the installation process can begin which will involve the manual mounting of the intercom systems at the desired locations, as well as connecting any necessary writing and cabling (in line with building regulations). The system will then need to be configured, including any programming that is required or additional features and settings. At this point, user credentials, such as PIN numbers or key cards, can be added for entry intercom systems for business.
The system will then need to run some vigorous testing to ensure it’s working effectively, all stations function correctly and the audio and visual elements are of an expected quality.
Depending on the size of your facility, your budget and the safety of your data, you may consider an office intercom, an office video intercom system, or a commercial wireless system intercom. But which door intercom system is the best option for your building or office?
The best intercom system for office buildings depends on the size of the organization and location of the occupants. How many employees are present day-to-day, and how many visitors and contractors do you welcome every week? Don’t forget to count delivery couriers and maintenance teams. These are important questions to ask before unpacking the requirements of your intercom.
Commercial entry intercom systems for business premises are very common. Whether video, audio, wired or wireless, they enable the efficient and safe management of entry into the building.
For businesses that operate outside of offices, for example a factory or warehouse, where entry may be limited to employees or contractors within certain hours or shift rotations, an interoperable system that requires user credentials such as key card or fob might be a good option.
However, for larger, more commercial facilities such as office campuses, hospitals and schools, where traffic in and out of the building can vary from day-to-day, a system that relies on identification through audio and video can help protect your people and property while still fostering a welcoming environment. There is also consideration of front desk staff, security and staff, and how they would need to interact with the system. For example, a large office building housing different companies may need to grant commercial intercom system access capabilities to each business, as well as property managers or security staff.
You would also need to consider the installation, maintenance and ongoing upkeep of the system. With a large initial investment, an intercom system can only function well and reliably if it’s maintained properly through regular testing, bug fixing and security checks. Consider how you can work with your supplier or an independent commercial intercom systems company to ensure all of this is within your budget and scope.
Our video security experts can help you implement the right security system for your business.