"Buzz In" Intercom With Camera Recommendations?

I work for a K-12 school district that is considering putting in intercom systems where a person could walk up to the school main door, then use a voice and video system to talk with (and be seen by) the secretary. The secretary could then buzz them in, if appropriate. The doors they would use currently do not have any access control on them (we will probably have to add access control to the doors, tie it in to our existing Lenel system, and install a door open switch for the secretaries). We could add an IP camera for each door and then have the secretary have it pulled up on a brower, but I would like to know if anybody has any recommendations for a standalone commercial level voice and video system.

Any cost estimates would also be appreciated. We are looking at about 8 to 10 buildings.


Andy Lee

Hello Andy:

One of Mobotix more compelling products in that last few years has been the T24 door station. However, unit cost, and integrating the video into VMS isn't a strong suit of that model.

There are a number of analog (inexpensive) video door phones from makers like Aiphone and Viking. When I was an integrator, these were to 'goto' products for applications like yours due to their lower cost and wide distribution compared to the IP-specific systems.

However, If you're looking for less complex integration, you can start out but looking at the IP based Commend and Stentofon platforms. Those units may not include the 'video' portion you're looking for depending on model.

I am surprised at how dramatic and polished the marketing for intercoms have gotten. I watched the below clip, and it smacked of a Bourne sequel:

We use Aiphone for applications like this Andy and they work like a charm. Especially if you have a network drop close to the door. I know they still make the analog stuff, but mostly it is all IP. You are better off not having any existing access control to try to tie in because now you can start from scratch and do it right. Take a peek at the aiphone stuff - these are the models we use.

2N Helios is a good choice if you want to go IP and use SIP.

I have yet to do anything with the IP line from Ai phone, but I know their analogue line works like a charm. And I thought they now had modules to add the analogue devices onto the network, and use through software. But I could be wrong.

I am not a dealer in Doorking, however, I do recommend it. Aiphone has a capability on some of their systems to utilize a small two prong connector from a video test feed inside for a recordable video signal. I know, I have done it.

Please consult your fire marshal for what type of doors you want to control married to what type of lock you should install.

I said fire marshal, not integrator because the fire marshal knows. I have seen too many "integrators" that don't know.

Used Aiphone for this scenario. Cost effective and robust.

i also think 2N Helios is a good choice as it is simple to use, connects easily and works with a computer (without phone) easily as well as SIP phones

I would recommend looking at the Commend line that Brian brought up, mainly because they integrate standard Axis camera sensors into their intercoms, so in theory it should make them pretty adaptable with a large number of VMS platforms, without having to add an extra IP camera.

Thanks for all the suggestions. This gives me a lot of info that I needed to start moving toward getting appoval to start spending some money. The hardest thing for me to adapt to having moved from a private company to a school district is that everything needs to be looked at and approved by at least one committee. Those of you who have worked with schools surely know what I mean.

Thanks for your help,