Intercom technology used in security continues to evolve as more of these systems come into use and users demand systems which better meet their requirements. In security intercoms provide audible and often visual communications between entry points and occupants or security personal. There are many types of intercoms, and new technologies continue to widen the choices.
Many readers will relate to the traditional apartment lobby panels which were and are widely used in multiple occupancy buildings. These featured lists of tenants and a call button for each tenant. Each tenant had a wall unit which was directly connected to the lobby panel.
When a visitor pressed the tenant’s button, an alert sounded in the apartment, and the tenant responded by talking to the individual in the lobby and granting access by energizing the electric door strike on the building entry door.
Typical failure modes for this type of system include failure of the electric strike, so the door would be propped open until it could be serviced. Also communications between the lobby and apartments might be interrupted by a damaged wire or damaged equipment. On some systems, if a button on an apartment unit stuck, it disabled all the other apartments as well. This resulted in the common practice of an occupant simply granting access without verifying who was coming into the building. This led to the practice of individuals simply pressing all the buttons on the panel and waiting for someone upstairs to admit them so the alert tone would stop.
Although the recurrent service calls for these systems payed many salaries, we nevertheless learned the shortcomings of solid conductor multi-conductor cable, cheap switches and flimsy electric strikes.
Telephone entry systems represented an improvement over the traditional lobby panel by eliminating the need to install wiring between each apartment. The tenants used their telephones, and the lobby unit connected to dial tone. The lobby panels use scrolling displays, and a limited number of buttons or typical telephone-style keypad.
For residential applications, a door station product was introduced which was perfect for door control applications. When the outside button was pressed, every phone on the dialed number had the ability to speak with the door and grant access. The number programmed in could also be offsite.
One of the sources for intercom products I use is a company called Viking Electronics. Viking is a mainstay in the telecom industry, with more than 250 products designed for public address, multi line commercial, emergency communications and access control. This is a “Made in the USA” type company which specializes in quality product and technical support.
They have an exhaustive website, www.vikingelectronics.com, and also mail out a monthly newsletter. The newsletter reports on new products current events and usually highlights an application based around Viking products.
Q & A: Viking Applications
Recently they had an application where a lobby phone doubled as an access control keypad, which also provides voice communication and remote door control.
We interviewed the author of “Al’s Applications” about Viking and its products. Following are the Ledger’s questions and Al Adams’ answers.
What is your name and job title?
Can you provide some background on Viking?
Viking Electronics, Inc. is a manufacturer of innovative and reliable telecommunication and security products. All Viking products are “Made in the USA” and include ADA compliant emergency phones, door and video entry, paging, mass notification and more. If you should need product support you will be talking to a Viking employee right here in our Hudson, Wisc. plant. We have 40 years of experience, over 250 products, and thousands of security and communication solutions.
Applications include vehicle entry gates and healthcare providers like managed care facilities.
This self-contained unit is attractive, discreet, easy to install, and is less a target for vandals than a separate camera and enclosure would present.