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The Business Leader’s Guide to Commercial Intercom Systems

As a manufacturing business leader, ensuring your company's facilities are secure while enabling efficient communication between your teams is essential. There were 1,778 supply chain risk events reported across the U.S. and Canada in 2022, with warehouses and parking lots making up the top two most targeted location types.1 And with nearly 30% of organizations across all industries experiencing increased physical security incidents last year,2 it's clear that stronger building security is critical for keeping your employees and assets safe.

Luckily, modern commercial intercom systems offer organizations a scalable solution to manage access control while connecting previously siloed teams. But with so many commercial intercom systems available today offering advanced flexibility, connectivity, and security capabilities, identifying the right solution to meet your organization's unique needs is critical.

Should you opt for a wired or wireless system? Do you need video integration, or will audio-only commercial intercoms suffice? Do any areas of your warehouse or offices demand specialized coverage? These are all questions you must consider carefully as you evaluate the commercial intercom system options on the market.

In this guide, we'll share everything you need to know about commercial intercom systems – including how they work, the different types, and key features – to help you find the best solution for your business.

What Are Commercial Intercom Systems?

A commercial intercom system is an advanced communication device designed specifically for use in offices, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, retail stores, and other commercial properties. Its purpose is to improve security in a commercial building by ensuring only authorized visitors are permitted access, as well as to facilitate communication between different teams or departments within the business or building complex.

Unlike basic intercoms made for home use, commercial-grade systems offer more durability, expanded coverage, intelligent integration capabilities, and features tailored to meet the needs of organizations.

 commercial intercom systems

How Do Commercial Intercom Systems Work?

When someone visits your business, they need an easy way to inform the right person of their arrival. A commercial intercom system streamlines and secures visitor access by allowing guests to communicate with someone in your building – typically security personnel – and inform them of their reason for visiting before they're allowed inside.

Placing a Call

To communicate, your security staff simply push a call button to initiate an instant voice or video interaction using the system's handset or built-in speakerphone. Many commercial intercom systems also enable visitors to place a call directly to the front desk by pushing a call button on the external intercom box. This enables immediate contact with visitors at your building's entry points, workers in specific areas, or anyone connected to the network.

The intercom system's architecture and wiring configure how stations interconnect. Direct wired configurations link intercom stations in a peer-to-peer setup, while networked options connect stations via a centralized controller unit for flexible call routing. Wireless intercom systems use WiFi for more convenient voice access without infrastructure limitations.

Granting Access

When a visitor places a call from the intercom base station, the person in your organization responsible for managing visitor access receives a notification on a substation – typically either a device installed in the office or on their smartphone. That person can dismiss the call, speak with the visitor, or grant property access.

If your security staff or front desk teams want to open the door for a visitor, they press a button on their substation device that triggers an electronic relay within the intercom's base station. That relay sends a signal to the door-release mechanism to unlock the door, granting the visitor access.

Commercial Intercom System Types

Commercial property owners have several options when it comes to selecting a business intercom system. The right option will depend on your organization's size, budget, tech infrastructure, and usage needs, so understanding the advantages of each type of intercom system is key. The most common types of intercom systems for commercial buildings include:

Wired Intercom Systems

A wired intercom system requires running cables to connect different rooms or areas within commercial office buildings. While installation is more complex, wired systems offer reliable, high-quality audio without interference. This type of intercom system is often ideal for large enterprise organizations or those providing emergency services, such as healthcare providers.

Wireless Intercom Systems

A wireless intercom system uses WiFi connections for cable-free installation, making it easy to set up in virtually any office environment. Wireless connectivity also offers convenient mobility within the coverage range but can suffer from interference from nearby electronics if not properly installed.

Video Intercom Systems

Video intercom systems are increasingly popular, with experts predicting the market to reach $58.30 billion by 2030.3 A commercial video intercom system adds cameras and video screens to audio communication so that your staff can not only talk to but also see the visitors they're interacting with. The right video intercom system can also enhance security by making it easier to identify visitors at the front door or other stations with cameras installed in real-time.

Office-to-Office Intercom Systems

Office-to-office commercial intercoms connect multiple offices within a building to enable convenient communication and collaboration between departments. This type of intercom system is frequently used by hospitals, schools, and other large commercial buildings where it may be necessary to broadcast announcements, communicate quickly, or issue emergency alerts.

 commercial intercom systems

What Are the Benefits of Commercial Intercom Systems?

Upgrading to a commercial intercom solution offers numerous advantages that directly correlate to tangible business impacts, including:

Improved Access Control

The right commercial intercom system can help your security teams manage visitor access more efficiently by centrally managing permissions, simplifying the process for granting access, and logging all visitors. Additionally, your teams can manage access remotely with an intercom system that supports IP-connected door controllers – which is essential for today's dispersed workforces.

Seamless Communication

Providing voice paging capabilities can help staff save time trying to locate personnel in large commercial properties. Wide-scale interconnectivity via voice or video intercoms also makes it easier to raise awareness of activities and events occurring within your organization, enabling rapid notifications or responses to incidents.

Better Building Security

Verifying identities before granting access is essential to protect your employees and assets from unauthorized visitors. Plus, the ability to trigger building-wide alarms or alerts helps discourage external threats and internal policy violations related to health, safety, or conduct.

Commercial Intercom System Use Cases

Intercoms have become a vital communications and security tool for organizations across nearly all industries. Here are some ways specific businesses benefit from implementing a commercial intercom system:

Warehouses & Manufacturing Plants

Warehouses rely on clear coordination between loading docks, inventory floors, and offices. Intercom systems enable quick check-ins to direct shipments or verify statuses, in addition to securing the facility against unwanted visits from unauthorized people.

Medical Facilities

Hospitals and clinics depend on fast communication and response in emergencies. Intercom systems enable staff to reach clinicians to improve patient outcomes, reducing the time it takes for the right people to respond during critical events.

Educational Institutions

Schools and educational campuses can use an intercom system for administrators to address classrooms or auditoriums easily. An outdoor wireless intercom system can also connect campus buildings to relay safety alerts.

Office Environments

Connecting the various meeting rooms, front desks, break rooms, and more within commercial office buildings via intercom offers streamlined communication to enhance productivity. These commercial properties may also wish to discourage unauthorized visitors, making a commercial intercom system essential for managing access.

 commercial intercom systems

What Features Do You Need in a Commercial Intercom System?

There are several core capabilities to look out for when choosing a commercial intercom system for your organization, including:

Video Integration

Verifying the identities of visitors who request access can boost security for your entire building. Look for commercial video intercom systems with high-resolution cameras that stream real-time video to an internal station when a visitor presses the outdoor call button. This enables security teams to visually identify guests, assess situations, and monitor exterior areas without physically opening doors to unknown visitors.

IP Connectivity

Intercom systems with IP connectivity bypass the need for analog wiring between stations, providing convenient voice access between locations connected over the computer network. Look for an intercom system that can use your company's existing local area network (LAN) infrastructure, which will make spanning multiple buildings or large warehouses simple and cost-effective.

Voice Paging Zones

Voice paging zones segment your intercom network into defined broadcasting groups for targeted mass notifications. For example, you can send pages to personnel in one department to prevent irrelevant pages from distracting employees in other parts of the building.

Wireless Support

A wireless intercom system enables cable-free installation, making deployment easy in spaces with environmental or infrastructure challenges. Wireless commercial intercoms also make it easier to reconfigure station locations as your organization's needs change without re-running wires.

End-to-End Encryption

Encrypted intercom systems add an extra barrier to prevent security threats by encoding audio and access control communications transmitted between stations and controllers. This safeguards sensitive conversations or personal identification credentials from potential data breaches.

Emergency Alert Buttons

Configurable emergency trigger buttons allow employees to instantly activate audible alarms in response to threats, accidents, or medical emergencies, notifying teams facility-wide simultaneously.

Integration With Other Systems

The right commercial intercom system should be able to seamlessly integrate other security and technology solutions to streamline processes. For example, you can integrate your intercom with access control systems to manage employee access to certain parts of your building.

Protect Your Business with Andromeda’s Commercial Intercom System Solutions

The role of a commercial intercom system extends far beyond basic communication. These systems have become integral for improving operational efficiency and fostering a safer working environment for companies of all sizes. However, not every intercom system is built to meet the needs of manufacturing organizations, so finding the right solution to secure your facilities, employees, and equipment may be a challenge.

Andromeda specializes in providing manufacturing businesses with robust building security solutions designed to meet your unique needs. Our commercial IP intercom systems can simplify access control across your facility and protect your critical assets with a wider range of features than outdated analog alternatives. Plus, they integrate with systems offered by over 200 manufacturers to ensure your teams stay connected to the systems they need to work effectively.

With Andromeda, you can rest easy knowing your multifunctional audio/video intercom system was created by innovators in the building security industry. Ready to secure your manufacturing business? Book a meeting with Andromeda's experts today.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cargonet.com/news-and-events/cargonet-in-the-media/2022-theft-trends/
  2. https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/98773-28-of-businesses-saw-an-increase-in-security-incidents-in-2022
  3. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-video-intercom-device-market

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