Intercom systems are a crucial component of any modern commercial building or office space. As businesses seek to improve security, accessibility, and tenant experience, commercial intercom systems provide an array of indispensable benefits. From simplifying guest and package access to integrating with other smart building systems, intercoms can completely transform an office environment.
This comprehensive guide to commercial intercoms covers everything building owners, property managers, and office tenants need to know, including:
|What is a Commercial Intercom System
|A system that facilitates communication, access control, video monitoring and other capabilities
|Wireless, wired, video, audio, phone-based
|Enhanced security, convenience, flexibility
|Features, installation requirements, costs
Commercial intercom systems refers to intercom and access control systems designed specifically for use in office buildings, corporate campuses, warehouses, multifamily properties, and other commercial spaces. They facilitate clear two-way audio communication, access control to open doors, integration with other systems like video cameras, and more recently even smartphones.
Intercom systems provide an indispensable communications platform enabling everything from guest access and package delivery to emergency broadcasts. When evaluating options, key aspects to consider include whether the system is wireless or wired, integrations, smartphone connectivity, video capabilities, and ease of use for both tenants and guests.
This comprehensive guide will explore the array of benefits commercial intercoms offer to modern offices and buildings. We’ll cover how they work, types of systems available, top features to look for, and considerations when choosing and installing these increasingly essential systems.
Types of Commercial Intercom Systems
There are several major types of commercial intercom systems available on the market. The right choice depends on the needs and requirements of the specific building or office environment. Main options include:
Wireless Commercial Intercoms
- Don’t require running wires through walls or ceilings
- Flexible and easy to install
- Can leverage existing WiFi network
- More affordable option
- Limited range and connectivity issues in some buildings
Wired Intercom Systems
- Require installing wires and cables
- Provide reliable, high-quality audio
- Support video intercoms with door stations
- More complex installation
- Useful for large or historic buildings
Video Intercom Systems
- Display video feeds from door stations
- Enable seeing and speaking with visitors
- Integrate with IP cameras for added security
- Require higher bandwidth
- More expensive systems
- Simple, affordable option
- Provide only two-way voice communication
- Well-suited to most office environments
- Lack advanced features
Phone-Based Intercom Systems
- Leverage existing phone system as intercom
- Cost-effective approach
- Limitations for access control and security
Additional types of commercial intercoms include emergency and campus systems. Emergency intercom stations provide centralized emergency communication while specialized large campus systems facilitate communication across multiple buildings.
Every type of commercial intercom system offers distinct capabilities aligned to different budgets, office environments, and feature requirements. Understanding these key differences allows selecting the optimal system. Most offices can benefit from easy to install wireless video intercoms with smartphone integration for affordable access control and visual verification.
Benefits of a Commercial Intercom System
Installing a modern, feature-rich commercial intercom system offers an array of valuable benefits that enhance office buildings and work environments in key ways:
Simplify and Secure Guest Access
- Guests and visitors can securely call tenants from the intercom station outside the building using two-way audio communication
- Integrated door access controls allow tenants to easily grant entry remotely via smartphone
- Eliminates need for shared tenant directories in building lobbies enhancing privacy
- Enables convenient touchless entry for guests with code access
Ensure Package Deliveries
- Delivery drivers can alert tenants of drop-offs via intercom instead of phone calls
- Tenants can remotely and instantly trigger door release to retrieve packages
- Secure mailroom and locker access with live video verification from indoor intercom stations
Enhance Building Security
Commercial intercom systems greatly enhance office security in several impactful ways:
- Restrict unauthorized access by integrating intercoms with smart access controls to prevent tailgating and manage permissions
- Deter criminal activities using video intercom stations combined with CCTV surveillance cameras to thwart break-ins
- Enable rapid emergency response through instant audio broadcasts to notify occupants and authorities in a crisis
Improve Tenant Experience
- Simplify guest and delivery management via smartphone app integration
- Provide on-demand access to visitor entry and building information through the intercom
- Deliver modern, professional aesthetic for lobbies and common areas
- Marketable amenities to attract and retain tenants
As this overview illustrates, commercial intercoms provide expansive benefits spanning security, convenience, flexibility and aesthetics – making them a vital smart office technology.
Enhancing guest and delivery access while monitoring entry points enables world-class tenant service. Modern IP-based intercom systems also facilitate remote building management using smartphones, even supporting capabilities like granting guest access from off-site.
For these reasons and more, progressive offices and commercial properties are embracing intercom systems as essential technologies to transform key aspects of the tenant experience.
Features to Look for in a Commercial Intercom System
With the wide variety of commercial intercom systems available, it’s important to understand the key features and capabilities that enable an optimal system:
Wireless intercom systems utilize WiFi, cellular, Bluetooth, and radio frequencies to deliver key benefits:
- Flexible placement without in-wall wiring
- Support any number of entry points
- Easy to reconfigure layouts
- More affordable and non-disruptive installation
Ideal for retrofits, expansions, and flexible workspaces. Ensure range covers full premises.
High-Definition Video Intercom Stations
- HD cameras provide sharp video feeds from door stations
- Essential for visual verification of guests and deliveries
- Integrate recorded video with CCTV surveillance systems
- Enable video calls to door stations from smartphones
- Require increased network bandwidth
Smartphone Interconnectivity and Mobile Apps
- Answer door calls directly on smartphone
- View station video feeds on mobile app
- Remotely control building access permissions
- Requires cloud-based system with mobile optimization
Critical for flexible hybrid office environments.
Cloud-Based System Architecture
- Centralized management from web dashboard
- Automatic updates and maintenance
- Easy remote access and tenant permissions
- Scalable as needs evolve
- Ensure cybersecurity is up to industry standards
Enables mobility, lower hardware costs, and intelligent analytics.
Integrations with Access Control and Other Proptech Platforms
- Sync with smart locks and access controls
- Connect emergency stations with mass notifications
- Bridge video intercoms with CCTV camera feeds
- Automate lighting, HVAC, etc. based on occupancy
Comprehensive integrations maximize capabilities.
Evaluate options based on office requirements – features like wireless connectivity, video intercoms, mobile access control, and integrations provide the most well-rounded platforms. Cloud architecture future-proofs investment while mobility enables hybrid work.
Choosing the Best Commercial Intercom System
Selecting the optimal commercial intercom system involves key considerations around installation, features, and costs:
- Building size – Smaller systems for single office vs enterprise-grade for campuses
- Existing infrastructure – Retrofits may leverage old wiring/handsets
- Placement – Entry points, lobby, elevators, stairwells, etc.
- Power sources – Wired PoE or wireless battery-powered
- Local codes and regulations – ADA compliance, etc.
Conduct site survey to determine setup feasibility, scope of work, and hardware needs.
- Entry points needed – Doors, gates, garage access?
- Video required – Visual verification of guests/deliveries?
- Access control integration – Smartphone-based door unlocking?
- Customization – Tenant permissions, branding?
Align features to office requirements and budget. Scalable platform enables adding capabilities.
- Upfront hardware and installation expenses
- Ongoing software license fees
- Customization and future add-ons
- Integrations with security systems and access controls
Calculate total cost of ownership over 3-5 years. Cloud systems provide predictability.
Leading Provider Checklist
- Specialized expertise installing commercial intercoms
- Right-sized options for offices small and large
- Latest IP network-based systems
- Seamless video security system integrations
- Ongoing support and maintenance
Choosing the right provider ensures optimal outcomes. Jefferson Security Cameras delivers enterprise-grade systems, affordable prices, and white-glove services.
Evaluating intercom systems holistically including deployment feasibility, feature sets, and total multi-year costs leads to the best choice matching needs and budget.
Types of Intercom Systems for Different Needs
Commercial intercom systems cater to a diverse range of environments and requirements through specialized form factors and capabilities:
- Enables instant voice calls between employees
- Leverages existing IP phone system
- Cost-effective solution from leading VoIP providers
- Limited capabilities beyond admin calls
Best for basic point-to-point calling between offices.
Entry and Door Release Systems
- Manage single or multiple entrance points
- Audio and/or video door stations
- Integrated access controls
- Match number of doors required
Essential for lobby and entry management.
Small Business Intercoms
- Compact all-in-one systems
- User-friendly with intuitive interface
- Meet basic communication needs
- Lack advanced integrations
Ideal starter solution for small offices.
Large Office and Campus Intercom Systems
- Enterprise-level scalable platforms
- Unified interface for all buildings
- Advanced integrations and automation
- Higher costs but centralized interface
Custom-tailored for large offices, high-rises, hospitals, warehouses and educational institutions.
Evaluate intercom system types based on the scale of offices and buildings involved along with specific connectivity requirements between locations. Leading options optimize capabilities for different environments with the right combination of hardware, software features, and seamless integrations.
Benefits of Using a Commercial Intercom System
Commercial intercom systems deliver abundant advantages that enhance offices and workplaces:
- Restrict unauthorized access – Integrations with access controls prevent tailgating and manage permissions
- Deter criminal activities – Combining IP intercoms with video surveillance deters break-ins
- Rapid emergency response – Make instant paging announcements to occupants and authorities
- Simplified visitor and delivery management – Guests and couriers can call tenants via video intercom stations
- Touchless entry capabilities – Tenants can remotely trigger door unlocks via smartphone app
- On-demand information access – Intercom handsets provide directories, building alerts
Support for Remote and Hybrid Work
- Mobile app for access control – Manage building and permissions from anywhere
- Enables flexible office arrangements – Easy to reconfigure wired or wireless endpoints
- Video calls to entry points – Visual verification from a PC or mobile device
Tight Integration with Video Security Platforms
- Unified system – IP intercoms fully integrate with CCTV camera feeds and door access systems
- Shared wiring and infrastructure – Leverages centralized PoE switch for multiple capabilities
- Video door stations – Intercom camera recordings integrate with VMS analytics and alerts
Evaluate options to leverage these “smart office” benefits enhancing daily experience for owners, staff, and visitors alike.
Installation Considerations for a Commercial Intercom System
Installing a high-performing commercial intercom system requires evaluating key considerations:
Wireless vs. Wired Connectivity
- Wireless systems leverage WiFi and cellular, avoiding in-wall wires
- Battery powered endpoints enable flexible placement
- Wired networks use PoE with CAT5/6 cabling
- More reliable performance, especially for video and access control integrations
Ease of Installation
- Complexity varies based on existing infrastructure
- Retrofits can utilize old wiring and handsets
- On-premise servers vs. cloud-based with simplified deployment
- Self-installed vs. professional installation guidance
Contactless and Touchless Capabilities
- Video intercom stations for remote visual verification
- Integrations with access control platforms enable smartphone-based door unlocking
- Options for keypad code and QR code access credentials
Minimize shared surfaces through contactless entry experiences.
Compatibility with Gates and Parking Systems
- Intercoms can embed in call boxes at gated driveways
- Long-range outdoor stations with sufficient ringer volume
- Ensure proper frequencies if leveraging RFID vehicle tags
- Connect to access terminals to trigger gate opening
Survey existing exterior access points before selecting hardware.
Consider scale, aesthetics, existing infrastructure, and access control ecosystem when planning commercial intercom deployment. Leading providers offer hardware-agnostic cloud platforms simplifying modernization.
As this guide illustrates, modern commercial intercom systems provide tremendous value in enhancing office communications, accessibility, security, and experiences for tenants and guests.
Key takeaways include:
- Intercom technology facilitates essential voice and video calls between entry points, common areas, and offices
- Systems today integrate access control, video surveillance, and other proptech platforms
- Numerous benefits span convenience, security, remote capabilities, flexibility and infrastructure
- Tailored solutions meet needs from small offices to large enterprise deployments
- Wireless systems enable affordable and scalable retrofits
- Installing reliable intercoms requires partnering with specialized providers
Equipping any new or existing office environment with a robust IP-based intercom system enables “future-proofing” communication capabilities. While costs vary based on scale and components, a customized platform can enhance almost any commercial space or campus.
Management should carefully evaluate critical requirements, from outdoor station placement to indoor paging needs, before engaging an experienced installer. Prioritizing key features like mobile access integration, video calling, and back-end extensibility ensures a solution meeting current and emerging needs.
With their tremendous versatility and utility enhancing modern workplaces, advanced intercom systems are becoming as vital as basic telephone and internet connectivity in supporting flexible work environments. By planning proactively around core intercom capabilities today, leadership can elevate their commercial buildings to new heights.
To learn more about optimizing your office intercom capabilities, contact the team at Jefferson Security Cameras. Their experts provide transparent guidance and tailored solutions spanning intercom, video surveillance, access control, and centralized smart management platforms maximizing communication, security, and convenience across your commercial real estate portfolio.
What are the main types of commercial intercom systems?
The most common types of commercial intercom systems are wireless IP intercoms, wired intercoms, video intercom stations, audio-only systems, and phone-based intercoms that leverage an existing PBX system. Each option provides distinct capabilities catering to different office environments, budgets, and requirements.
What key features should I look for when choosing a system?
Top features to evaluate include wireless connectivity for flexible placement, HD video intercom stations enabling visual verification of guests, integration with access control platforms for touchless entry, smartphone apps for mobility, cloud-based systems allowing centralized management, and connectivity with other critical building platforms like video surveillance and emergency notifications.
How difficult is it to install a commercial intercom system?
Installation complexity varies widely based on factors like whether existing infrastructure can be leveraged, running new wiring through ceilings/walls, the number of indoor and outdoor endpoints, power sources, and professional vs DIY installation. Modern cloud-based systems simplify deployment and management significantly.
What ongoing costs are involved with commercial intercoms?
Key ongoing costs include software license fees, particularly for cloud-based systems, the need for future add-ons like new handsets or door stations, customization and configuration changes, maintenance from the installing provider, and cellular data plans if leveraging wireless connectivity.
How can I find the best provider to install my building’s system?
Ensuring optimal outcomes requires an experienced provider specializing in commercial intercom solution. Key selection criteria include their years of expertise, right-sized offerings to match needs, utilization of latest IP technologies and mobile compatibility, seamless video surveillance and access control integrations, and ongoing system support capabilities. An established industry player able to deliver a tailored fit solution provides the best results.