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In a previous blog post on commercial security, we broke down the various equipment involved in business security systems.  We’ve also written about the several features that businesses can add from an alarm monitoring standpoint.


Pictured above is a intercom substation with a built in camera, speaker and a call button.

Today, we’d like to discuss a specific tenant of business security systems—intercom systems—that can truly bolster a company’s perimeter.

Intercom systems are often overlooked when businesses either build their security systems from the ground up, or when they upgrade.  In many cases, many entrances to buildings are left open during business hours because the property is manned.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

Think about the layer of security an intercom system could add—especially when video is combined with the audio aspect.  And security is not the only added benefit.  Convenience and efficiency also come with the package since employees don’t have to leave their desks to let visitors in.

The basic components of an intercom system at a business are a master station and a sub-station or door station.

The master station is typically located at the reception desk or in the office manager’s office.  It is capable of transmitting to any of the sub-stations, as well as receiving from them.

The substation, in a business situation, can be located at the entrance door.  It is only capable of transmitting back to the master station (and of course receiving transmission from the master).  It contains a call button that communicates with the master station.

Since it is often outside when it is at a door, the sub-station is usually both weatherproof and vandalproof, and is typically hands-free instead of being equipped with a handset into which people would speak.

Video vastly improves the functionality of an intercom system.  Sub-stations can come equipped with a built-in camera.  The employee at the master station can then use a monitor to further identify the potential entrant.

Some prefer the security camera to be detached and located above the entrance.  Although sub-station units can contain wide-angle pan, tilt and zoom cameras, a separate pan, tilt and zoom camera in an elevated location is sometimes preferred to capture an even greater field of view and to make sure no one is hiding.

Not only does video help with identification, but it also helps prevent “piggy backing”.  This occurs when someone gets buzzed in and another person enters behind him without permission.

Due to IP video, images of potential entrants can be placed on the network and access can be granted or denied by employees at remote locations of the building or of the country for that matter.

If running wires is an issue for some businesses, wireless intercom systems can be the way to go.  Some things to consider with wireless systems however are interference from wireless networks and the fact that conversations may be able to be picked up by another device outside the company.

Be sure to speak with a security integrator about adding intercom to your company’s overall security plan.  Businesses can invest thousands of dollars in access control systems and burglar alarms for off-hours protection, but thieves and wrongdoers still need to be prevented from entering freely during business hours.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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