Video Intercoms: A Multipurpose Access System

July 2, 2021
The solution provides security and convenience in multifamily settings.

Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly common for residents of multifamily housing to outfit their residences with smart, connected devices. Security demands are no different.

However, this shift comes with new challenges equipping multitenant residential facilities with options that are as easy to use as they are secure. Residents and building managers shouldn’t have to sacrifice safety for convenience.

Intercoms have been a multifamily communication staple for years. However, demands are far beyond the simple button-and-speaker system of days past. Intercoms today serve the dual purpose of improving the overall security of a facility while providing a convenient way to communicate among rooms in a residence or with the front desk or allowing residents to manage their own access.

Here are a few ways video intercoms enhance security and entry control in a multifamily residential facility:

Mobile Apps

In the world today, multitenant residents find value in taking their building security into their own hands. This hands-on approach can be achieved through the use of IP video intercoms integrated with mobile apps.

These intercom systems can assist in managing access to buildings and private living spaces, as well as common areas. They also allow tenants to open doors remotely — to their individual living space and lobby doors. Finally, it isn’t enough just to  speak with someone who requests access to a building or unit. Tenants and building managers also want a visual of the person doing the requesting on their app.

Building managers can equip each unit with a video intercom, or they can have tenants use the mobile app to communicate with a concierge or lobby manager, which can provide a cost-effective solution.

Adding to the cost-effectiveness is the ease of use for building managers. By using mobile-app access, the software platform can be cleared easily of a tenant’s private information when they move out. If a video intercom station is inside the residence, the software can be reset for the new tenant.

From a security standpoint, this is particularly important to building managers and tenants, because it keeps building access for tenants only. As such, security providers won’t be required to update the building or unit system each time turnover occurs.

Remote Control

Many IP intercom systems today can be monitored remotely, so the security pro will know whether a system has issues before building management does. Having a security pro monitor the health of an IP system also ensures that repairs or security concerns can be dealt with swiftly.

In addition, audit trails of when access codes were used and, if a building uses a video intercom that has an access card, logs of daily activity are kept. This is valuable to many building managers in case of an incident or possible security breach. For example, if there’s unknown activity at the front door, building staff or security can access saved video footage to see who has been there. An IP system can integrate with cameras and a network video recorder to provide a 24/7 security system.

Occupancy Management

Before 2020, many security pros might not have seen many requests for occupancy management, but as we enter a post-pandemic world, efforts to maintain social distancing are expected to continue. As such, IP video intercoms can be used to manage occupancy in shared spaces or anywhere tenants and visitors might gather. Entertainment rooms, gyms, rooftop lounges, conference rooms or other amenities can be equipped with IP video intercoms that require credentials to enter.

Building managers can use an intercom system to admit tenants or deny access if maximum occupancy has been reached. Because the intercom can be integrated with an IP camera, building managers also can access any surveillance inside the shared spaces to ensure occupancy hasn’t been exceeded or that proper distancing measures are being adhered to.

Today, multifamily buildings have become much more than just living spaces. They’re schools, gyms and workspaces. Investing in a comprehensive security solution is as important as ever, and security pros should be ready to discuss a system that enhances security and provides ease of use. Video intercoms are one option, and they deliver peace of mind for residents that, whether it’s managing a delivery or a security concern, help is only a push of a button away.

Marty Schutt is director of sales for Aiphone Corp.