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Avigilon Alta vs. ButterflyMX video intercom

With the latest innovations in security, it is now easier for businesses to implement these technologies to strengthen a building’s security and improve efficiency. Video intercoms are a must in an organization’s security essentials, and there are many factors to consider when selecting the right system that fits a business’s specific needs. One of the leading names in the industry, ButterflyMX, offers a cloud-based, mobile-first video intercom solution with two-way video calling, elevator control and remote access. The video intercom system is best for multifamily apartments, HOAs and condominiums, and gated communities, but could also work for smaller commercial buildings and industrial properties. In this ButterflyMX access control review, we highlight some of ButterflyMX video intercom’s key features and how they stand in comparison to Avigilon’s Video Intercom Reader Pro.

Quick look: key differences between Avigilon Alta and ButterflyMX


Avigilon Alta 


Touchless voice activation

ButterflyMX supports contactless entry, but voice AI technology is unavailable

Secure access methods

ButterflyMX intercoms and keypads only support mobile and PIN credentials

Full reader range

Avigilon offers a wide variety of readers compared to ButterflyMX’s single reader design

Seamless integrations

The open API and mobile SDK in Avigilon Alta make integrations easy

Legacy system-compatible

Avigilon Alta’s built-in ACU supports integrations with legacy systems

Integrated security

Avigilon is an end-to-end solution that seamlessly combines access and video

All-in-one solution

Avigilon combines four functionalities in one sleek device

The innovative Video Intercom Reader Pro from Avigilon Alta

  • All-in-one access control, video and intercom system
  • 100% remote control through secure cloud-based management
  • Award-winning hardware design with slim profile and high-resolution camera 
  • Compatible with existing security systems and top app integrations
  • Seamless snap-in installation with a single PoE cable and standard wiring
  • AI capabilities for smart voice recognition and call routing 
  • Touchless Wave to Unlock for fast and reliable access

Comprehensive ButterflyMX intercom and access control review

ButterflyMX is a security system commonly used for multi-unit residential spaces. Although the brand is reputable, the system is priced higher than most intercoms. Notable features, like the hands-free Swipe to Open access option, come with the higher price tag. Although convenient, this feature pales in comparison to Avigilon Alta’s touchless Wave to Unlock, as Swipe to Open requires an active smartphone, an open app and a swipe on the app to open a door. The Wave to Unlock can be activated with just a movement of the hand. ButterflyMX customer reviews also indicate the system is not entirely bulletproof against hacking and the video screen can be compromised. Overall, the ButterflyMX system might not be versatile enough to provide robust security and flexible access to spaces outside residential units, such as multisite enterprises or commercial buildings. 

Cloud-based video intercom system review

Both the ButterflyMX access control video intercom and Avigilon’s Video Intercom Reader Pro offer cloud-based systems with mobile capabilities, but there are a few distinctions to note between the two providers. ButterflyMX is commonly used for larger residential communities, like multifamily apartment complexes, gated communities, and HOAs and condominiums. Although the system could be used for commercial buildings, ButterflyMX is highly rated for larger multi-unit residential use. 

Avigilon’s Video Intercom Reader Pro is typically used for commercial buildings and offices. While it is more commonly used for corporations, the system is an ideal solution for all applications and can be a better alternative for a multi-unit residential complex than ButterflyMX. Some of the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro’s features might fit a building that requires a more robust system or specific type of access. For example, the smart call routing feature offers an option for tenants to be contacted only during working hours or customized set hours determined by the users, while providing secure alternatives to permit access outside of these times. 

Both the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro and ButterflyMX cloud-based video intercom give buildings the benefit of greater flexibility to manage and monitor security remotely. With the remote unlock feature from both providers, security personnel are able to open doors without being present on site. However, for businesses with multiple locations or building sites, Avigilon Alta’s enterprise-grade capabilities are a better fit. Multiple sites can be managed from a dashboard at any time, from anywhere in the world. Another advantage of Avigilon Alta’s cloud-based system is its scalability, which allows admins to add new locations and users, and adjust directory profiles with just a few clicks, reducing the time and cost of managing multiple sites separately. 


Although ButterflyMX is highly rated, its video intercom system is on the costly side. ButterflyMX requires additional hosting and software fees, including the mobile app, new features, regular updates, and phone and email live support. 

The Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro is more cost effective compared to ButterflyMX, with many of the same features plus the addition of unique technologies that are not available in most video intercom systems. The voice AI and call routing are examples of these features. Avigilon’s pricing is also more modular compared to ButterflyMX, with affordable options based on the number of users and doors. 

Touchless intercom and call routing

Since the arrival of COVID-19, many businesses have adopted touchless access as part of their security procedure. In some cases, like in the healthcare industry, the need to have a hands-free entry has become essential. ButterflyMX’s video intercom provides an answer to this need with the Swipe to Open activation. However, to use this technology, a user is required to have a smartphone with them, open the mobile app and activate the mechanism by swiping in the app. In contrast, Avigilon Alta’s Wave to Unlock grants access with a simple movement of the hand. There is no need to open a mobile app or wake up the smartphone to unlock the door. 

While both the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro and ButterflyMX video intercom feature touchless technologies, Avigilon Alta’s voice activation is a feature that is unique in the market. When a visitor attempts to contact a tenant in a building, the voice AI directs guests to predetermined user directory paths. If a tenant chooses to receive a call, access is granted when the unlock mechanism is activated in the mobile app. In the case where a guest attempts to contact a tenant outside of their set hours, call routing connects them to an alternative tenant, receptionist line, voicemail or specific directory paths. 

Secure access options and streamlined procedures

When it comes to access methods, both ButterflyMX and Avigilon Alta support multiple options. When connected to a backend access control system, ButterflyMX allows access with virtual keys, door PINs and delivery PINs. Users are also able to open doors through their smartphones and Apple Watches via voice-enabled Siri or Alexa. In the case of accepting deliveries or allowing guests access, ButterflyMX users can take advantage of the elevator control feature and grant access to a key-fobbed elevator from a mobile app. This feature is particularly notable, as it allows users to grant access to both a first point of entry and a designated elevator floor at the same time. 

To permit access to specific areas like common rooms or employees-only spaces, the ButterflyMX video intercom needs a separate keypad reader. The ButterflyMX keypad offers enhanced visual verification with a built-in camera that takes time-stamped photos of each person every time a door is opened, but the advantage in safety is countered by the lack of access options. In the ButterflyMX keypad, entry is granted by entering PIN codes on the keypad or on a smartphone via the ButterflyMX app. More secure options like QR codes are not available. The only touchless option requires users to open the app on a smartphone and tap a button, which takes a few more steps to gain access compared to touchless options offered by more advanced readers. For example, Avigilon Alta’s touchless Wave to Unlock allows access with a swift movement of the hand or phone, and access can be granted even without opening any apps. With the Avigilon Alta system, there is no need to unlock a smartphone, open an app and tap a button for entry. The ButterflyMX keypad also does not support key cards and fob access. 

Although the ButterflyMX video intercom’s access options are generally secure, there are some safety concerns that could arise when using some of these access methods. And although vastly convenient, the elevator control presents its own set of risks. When a security breach occurs at the first point of entry, it is much easier to prevent further risks when a second access is not automatically granted. In this case, the elevator control has the potential to exacerbate a security concern that the system is created to prevent in the first place. 

With ButterflyMX, users can take advantage of the system’s mobile capabilities and open doors using their smartphones and Apple Watches. With the option to grant access from an Apple Watch, however, there is an extra step of connecting to voice-activated Siri or Alexa. Like with ButterflyMX’s system, an Apple Watch can be used to grant access with the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro, but without the requirement of connecting to another technology. 

Other access methods offered by Avigilon Alta are more streamlined, simple and secure. The mobile app grants access from a range of mobile devices with end-to-end encryption. The patented Triple Unlock ensures fast entry with 99.9% reliability. This technology uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular connections so users can always gain access even when one connection is experiencing disruptions. Video call and two-way audio are convenient features for visitors to connect to tenants, and for users who prefer physical keys, high- and low-frequency key card and fob access is available. Plus, the Video Intercom Reader Pro is backward compatible with any legacy access control system. 

In terms of PIN-based access, Avigilon Alta offers more enhanced security compared to ButterflyMX. Avigilon’s Smart Keypad Reader utilizes longer 4- to 16-digit PIN codes unique to each user that prevents the codes from being easily guessed, unlike ButterflyMX’s keypad reader that only accepts 6‑digit PIN codes. The ButterflyMX keypad reader has a coating to protect the buttons, but Avigilon’s Smart Keypad Reader features a more durable capacitive touch keypad which won’t diminish over time like coated keypads. This convenient access option can also be used as a backup credential when a user’s mobile device has lost power. 

Similar to ButterflyMX’s keypad, Avigilon’s Smart Reader can be installed at specific entry points to grant access to areas like gyms, staff offices and conference rooms. The access options offered in the reader are more advanced. In addition to the touchless Wave to Unlock, in-app and remote unlock are available, and users are able to open doors using their Smart Watches. With the Smart Reader, key card and fob access are supported. 

Integration and compatibility

ButterflyMX created their video intercom system to be compatible with major property management, access control, security and lock systems, as well as resident experience and Smart Home mobile apps. While the system is easily integrated, it works mostly with apps, security and locks systems commonly used in residences, which could provide less robust security for commercial use. 

The Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro is built on an open API and mobile SDK to easily connect with other hardware, software, apps and existing systems. The built-in ACU functionality makes it compatible with legacy systems, which is useful for some businesses like insurance providers and big tech companies, who are required to have a legacy system to comply with security regulations. Additionally, Avigilon Alta’s ONVIF Profile S and T compliant video platform supports a seamless integration with video security providers. 

Overall, Avigilon Alta’s flexible integrations make the system ideal for both residential and commercial use, while ButterflyMX’s system might experience some incompatibility when used for commercial purposes.

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Installing an all-in-one video intercom solution

In one compact and versatile device, the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro combines a doorbell, reader and a 5MP high-definition camera to enhance visual verification. Added to these features are the speaker and microphone with automotive grade code and echo reduction, and Bluetooth support for mobile credentials. 

When it comes to installing the device, the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro system uses one PoE cable and standard wiring, with the ability to rotate for the best viewing angle. The system’s effortless installation eliminates the need to purchase and install different hardware and integrate them to multiple systems. Additionally, Avigilon’s Video Intercom Reader Pro features an easy snap-in installation. Its design is slim, versatile and aesthetically pleasing, whereas the ButterflyMX intercom hardware is heavier and takes a substantial amount of space. 

With ButterflyMX, wiring between the intercom and an access control panel is required. Separate access control and video security providers are needed for the ButterflyMX video intercom to connect to, whereas the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro is a truly all-in-one product from a single provider. If you are looking for a true access control video intercom system with all-in-one functionality, the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro might be right for you. 

Alternatives to ButterflyMX video intercom

There are alternative video intercom systems available if ButterflyMX does not fit the needs of your residence or business. Avigilon’s Video Intercom Reader Pro offers a complete solution for a secure video intercom and access control system. The system is secure against hacking with built-in alerts for tampering, and data is always protected with end-to-end encryption. Integration to existing security systems, including legacy systems, is effortless. Plus, the Avigilon Video Intercom Reader Pro supports multiple secure access methods, including touchless Wave to Unlock, mobile devices, Apple Watch, and physical key cards and fobs for a safe and fast entry for credentialed users at any time. The voice AI and call routing are unique features that are not only convenient, but also enhance the user experience. Avigilon Alta also offers anti-snooping features in devices, such as capacitive touch keys in the Smart Keypad Reader, which prevent visible marks and wear-and-tear on the keypad. Avigilon is also a more cost effective option than ButterflyMX, and a solution that works for both commercial and residential use.

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