An Overview of Intercoms & Telephone Entry Systems

Since many of these products are available over the Internet as do-it-yourself projects, the locksmith’s challenge is to convince your customers that you specialize, customize and assemble the exact components into a system that meets their needs at a...


Since most security professionals already install electric strikes, keypads, card readers, electro-magnetic locks and electrified door hardware, why not add intercoms and telephone entry systems to your list? Communication to a customer’s door or gate is needed to maintain a secure...


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Since most security professionals already install electric strikes, keypads, card readers, electro-magnetic locks and electrified door hardware, why not add intercoms and telephone entry systems to your list?

Communication to a customer’s door or gate is needed to maintain a secure environment with optimum security and convenience. Both residential and commercial customers can have need of standalone intercoms, telephone entry, video confirmation for identity and more. The upside to this is that you can offer your customers an expanded choice of services and products related to maintaining security in their home or business.

Remember, where there is an upside, there is usually a downside. The downside here is that many of these products are available from a lot of sources including the Internet and can possibly be installed by people as a do-it-yourself project.

Intercom systems break out into four basic categories: Stand-Alone Audio Intercom Systems, Stand-Alone Video Intercom Systems, Stand-Alone Wireless Intercom Systems and Integrated Telephone Entry Systems. Let’s look at each area and determine a way that might fit into your sales and service profile, allowing you to offer your customer expanded service.

AUDIO INTERCOM SYSTEMS
The basic stand-alone audio intercom system consists of a master or base station and a remote or door station. Some systems allow more than one door station to communicate with the base station. Pressing the doorbell button on the door station alerts the person manning the base station that someone is at the door. The person answers from the base station and communicates verbally with them. By pressing a release button on the master station, a signal is sent to the electric strike or electrified lock to unlock the door and allow entry.

In this simplest form, the components include an electric strike or electrified lock, door station, base station, power supply and wiring. In some cases a separate power supply is required for the lock or strike; in other cases one power supply will power all components.

Pros: Inexpensive, two or three-wire hookup, simple to install, mostly maintenance free, one-man installation, easy to sell.
Cons: Labor to run power and communication wiring to all component locations. This is definitely not a DIY project.

VIDEO INTERCOM SYSTEMS
The video intercom system also consists of a master or base station and one or more remote or door stations. Pressing the doorbell button on the door station activates this stand-alone unit. This alerts the homeowner someone is at the door. The person answers from the base station and communicates verbally with the visitor. In a multi-door application a button is pushed to activate that specific location.
A picture of the guest can be viewed from the base station. The person manning the base station can instruct the guest to move closer or farther from the camera for a clearer picture. The user also has the ability to examine a badge or ID card held up to the camera on the door station.

Some advanced systems have base stations that allow the PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) of the door station camera. In a door application, a more detailed examination of the visitor can be accomplished. In a gate application, surveillance of the vehicle or license plate may be accomplished.

By pressing a release button on the master station, a signal is sent to the electric strike or electrified lock to unlock the door and allow entry.

The components include an electric strike, electrified lock or electrified gate opener, door/gate station with a video camera, base station with a video monitor, power supplies and related wiring.
Pros: Relatively simple to install, mostly plug and play, maintenance free, one or two man installation, selling added features and benefits.

Cons: Multi-wire hookups required, more expensive than basic audio systems. Lighting must be sufficient to accommodate day and nighttime use or camera lens must be capable of adjusting to low light conditions for optimum performance. In gate applications, an additional camera for vehicle observation may be required. Considerable labor is required to run power, video and communication wiring to all component locations.

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