Intercom Systems Includes:
What is an office intercom system
Modern business or office intercom systems provide a highly effective means of communicating in a variety of situations. Even though there are many other forms of communication available, modern business intercom systems can provide an exceedingly effective tool for the modern office environment.
Many people may think of an intercom system as being a simple one-to-one system that might have been used to connect a high level business manager in his office with the secretary or personal assistant outside. Today's modern business office intercom systems are far from this.
The modern office intercom system can provide a host of other facilities which are easy to use. These can save time and improve communications - both of which will improve productivity and repay the initial investment in the installation of the system.
Simply put, a good business intercom system can enable staff to work together in a better way, it can save time and support the work they can do, enabling them to better focus on their work rather than spending additional time going out of their way to communicate, or spend time on non-essential tasks that the office intercom system can accomplish.
Office intercoms can provide capabilities including counter communication, door entry and access, audio and video communication, as well as a variety of other capabilities.
What is a business intercom system.
The concept of a very basic intercom system is that it will connect between two points. Typically there would be a press to talk or a main and secondary station where the main would have more control.
Nowadays, intercom systems have far greater levels of capability and they are able to undertake many more functions and be placed in many different areas that will enable them to provide a significant degree of performance and enable many different functions to be undertaken far more easily and quickly.
An office intercom system enables communication between two people and in some cases it can also manage access to an office or other form of property.
Office intercoms enable employees to communicate with others who may be located in other rooms or other areas within the facility. They are ideal for situations where communication is often required between specific areas and whee a telephone system may not be appropriate.
In essence there are two types of office intercom systems:
Internal office intercom: An internal office intercom is used for communicating with people inside an office building or facility. It would be used for communicating with other employees who are on-site.
The Internal office intercom will comprise the basic intercom hardware that will incorporate a base station or controller and the various sub-stations. Interconnecting wiring and power will be required in addition to this.
External office intercom: An external office intercom is used for communicating with people outside the building. It can be particularly used for communicating with visitors who may be outside the building or in a reception area that is unmanned. Typically these external office intercoms will also have a door entry facility as well.
An external office intercom is a little more complicated and apart from the intercom hardware and interconnections, power, etc, it will also need a door release mechanism with electric or magnetic locks and more sophisticated software.
Office intercom technologies
The modern office intercom system of business intercom makes use of many modern technologies to provide more capabilities and as such there are many different types of business intercom system.
• Audio intercom capability:
Todays basic office intercom systems may provide an audio capability. This is typically just one capability of a modern office or business intercom system. The audio function can be used to connect two or more people in a variety of ways. This capability can be used in its basic form to connect two desks or areas to provide easy communication, saving the need to reach for a phone and dial each time any communication is needed.
However there are many ways in which this type of office intercom system may be used very productively. One is for visitor access where the visitor can press a door buzzer to make contact then use an intercom speaker system to request access. The door lock can be activated electronically or remotely. Both approaches considerably save on having an access or entrance area manned all the time.
Also some audio systems can use a directory at the door panel where visitors can use to find the right contact. Again, this can provide better contact selection and save further communication in finding the right person for the visitor. Naturally it is good to have a fallback contact person for more the less common occurrences so that the visitor is not left stranded.
• Video capability:
With the increasing use of video these days, many office intercom systems incorporate a video capability.
This is particularly useful for door access elements of an intercom as it is possible to see the person asking for access. This improves the security as it is possible to only allow access to those people who are recognised.
• Telephone intercom capability:
This capability for an office intercom system uses much of the same technology as the basic audio intercom approach. The difference is that visitors call a phone number displayed on a door panel directory to request access.
Once the call has been established an answered the person in the office receiving the call can release the door lock to give access if appropriate.
Like audio systems, telephone intercom systems for offices rely on voice or other spoken means of identification for verification which can mean the system is not particularly secure. That said, they could be taken through an area where they may received properly, but the access system does enable a first layer of access to be provided.
This approach for access control can be rather unfriendly as the visitor is expected to make a call using a phone that the visitor is expected to have available (virtually all people do these days), but it does not project a welcoming introduction.
• Wired office intercom:
It is obviously necessary to have a means of connection between the different stations on an intercom system. The simplest and normally the most reliable technique is to use wires. These provide a solid means of connection between the different stations that is unlikely to be disrupted, unless other electrical works are being undertaken that might accidentally disturb the wiring.
The main disadvantages of a wired connection is the fact that the wires need to be physically installed. Also if any of the positions change because of changes in the office, etc, then the wires will need to be re-routed.
• Wireless office intercom connection:
With an emphasis these days on wireless communications, it is hardly surprising to find that one of the main ways of connecting office intercom stations to each other uses a wireless connection.
A wireless system will typically connect into the Wi-Fi network that is available. This will help ensure that the best coverage is obtained - if a stand-alone system was used, then coverage could be an issue in some hard to reach areas.
By using an existing Wi-Fi network, the relevant repeaters, additional access points and the like are most likely to have been installed as part of the office installation.
The use of an existing Wi-Fi network can enable far more users to have easy access to the system without the need for large amounts of wiring to be installed.
Wireless office intercom systems have the distinct advantage that they do not require fixed wiring. This makes they much easier to install. The only wiring that can be required is the power. This is normally not much of an issue, but it can cause a few difficulties in remote situations where power may not be so easily available. One example of this might be the external entry node for the intercom system.
• Networked office intercom:
Embedding an office intercom system into an existing network - most likely Ethernet has a lot of advantages.
Not only is the network wiring likely to be in place and little additional work is likely to be required for the nodes, but it is also possible to integrate the office intercom capability into existing computers, although additional hardware could be used if needed.
For those working with a computer, it would make sense for the intercom to be incorporated into this as an application or App, and for others an additional hardware node can be easily added.
For special nodes, like entry keypads and the like, power can be supplied using Power over Ethernet, PoE. Not only does the Ethernet cable provide the wired link to the network, but it also can provide the power.
How to buy the best office intercom system
When considering buying an office intercom system it is necessary to first assess the requirements. Determine exactly why is needed, and hence what capabilities the system will need. This is crucial in ensuring that the best intercom system is specified and purchased.
• Wiring requirements:
The wiring of an office intercom is a key factor, because it will significantly affect the overall cost of the system.
If new wiring is required, then this will require time for the wiring to be installed and this can be a major factor int he overall cost.
It is worth considering either using an existing Ethernet network and hence using a networked office intercom system, or using a wireless intercom system.
A wireless or Wi-Fi system may have issues with lack of coverage, especially if an external door entry system is required as this is likely to be further away from the Wi-Fi router or access point.
• Consider video:
Although the cost of a video intercom system will be higher, it will certainly provide a much greater level of security of the intercom system is to be used for controlled door entry.
When the overall cost of installing the office intercom system is considered, the additional cost of video may not be too great, and it could be well worth including in the specification.
• Front desk vs multi-user system:
Another key decision when buying an office intercom system is to decide whether to have a system that will enable calls to be placed only via a front desk, or whether they can be routed to individuals.
The decision will depend upon the aims for the system, but often having one that can route calls to various individuals can save time for the front desk, if one is present. If there is not front desk, then a multi-user system will be required.
There are many decisions that need to be made when selecting an office of business intercom system. Careful consideration of all the requirements beforehand can ensure that the right business intercom system is bought and installed.
Office intercom systems of business intercom systems are widely used in many areas. They can provide an ideal for of communication for many situations from controlled access to a building to providing easy communication between two or more points.