The door intercom
system is the old standby of apartments, co-ops and condos—a thin
sheet of burnished metal bolted on the side of the building and
equipped with buttons that control who enters a building. There have
been entire stories and jokes written about misunderstandings caused
by static interference and faded labels on buttons. But those old
stories and jokes aren’t the reality of modern intercom systems
that are now incorporating more sophisticated technology.
Video Enters the Picture
Part of the upgrade to intercom systems is the use of video, which allows residents to see who is at the outer door before they're let into the building. Thus it would make it that much easier to keep out folks—such as canvassers or sales people—you may not want walking the halls of your building.
“There are some newer manufacturers that've come onto the intercom scene,” said Joe Cioffi III, vice president of Bergen Protective Systems in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. “They're providing a lot more with integrated video, so that's gotten better. Now we have cameras so people could not only speak via intercom but also see the image of the person.”
As Cioffi noted, a video system would require a different kind of cable to run than an older system. That means if an older building is looking to keep up with the Joneses, that could potentially drive up costs as new cable would need to be installed. Of course that would depend on the kind of cable already running through the walls.
But the advances don’t stop with video, as certain intercom systems are now able to link up with keyless entry, either through or a website or smartphone.