Crystal Clear Security

Crystal Clear Security

10 ways Intercom Solutions Can Control Entry and Secure Your Facilities

Identification cards, video surveillance, keypads, software, databases, and even the doors themselves. They are all part of a security strategy to keep employees safe in a facility. All used to control entry to a facility or building, which mitigates risk and increases safety and security.

Other business benefits to controlling entry include mitigating the risk of cybercrimes and data theft, protecting your brand, and employee retention.

Almost overnight, due to the pandemic, the way that entrances were controlled has changed. For many facilities, the pandemic created a new security perimeter. Suddenly there was a need to interact and communicate with individuals moving in and out of doors and spaces without physical intervention. Even more, many security perimeters pushed farther out in order comply with social distancing guidelines.

While ID cards and video surveillance are one way to control entrances to a facility, they cannot completely do the job. Video surveillance may show a scene and access control can control access, yet IP intercoms can detect voices, high noise levels, breaking glass, or other sounds that are not within direct view of a camera. A clear voice and sound clarify the intent behind the images captured on camera and increases situational awareness.

To control entry, today’s enterprise security systems need crystal clear voice, access control, and video surveillance working together to mitigate security risks. Working with an integrated IP intercom platform, a security officer can manage all communications through their access control workstation interface – answering and placing calls, managing a call queue, viewing associated video and locating callers on a map.

Specific events, whether common or critical, can automatically trigger pre-recorded messages, such as social distancing instructions or emergency lock-down announcements. The result is better situational awareness, enabling a more informed, faster response by an officer who can easily see, hear, speak to, and manage any situation or threat that emerges.

Here are 10 ways that intercom solutions can control entry to a facility and help keep it secure.

  1. Entrances to commercial buildings. Intercoms can help security teams to identify visitors via both audio and video, before they gain access to the facility, and guide them to where they need to be. They also assist in responding to emergencies with both pre-recorded and manual announcements at the door.
  2. Industrial facilities and manufacturing plants. Often with large perimeters, here is where intercoms complement well with physical barriers, sensors, CCTV, and other security measures, allowing security teams to listen to activity, and to see it, if security cannot physically be at the perimeter to patrol. Automated broadcast messages at the perimeter sound if an alarm triggers. It can alert the visitor, via voice, to leave the area.
  3. Hospitals are “open” environments. Intercom solutions at doors and entrances can allow facility staff to communicate with patients and visitors remotely from their reception and intake desks, limiting the need for face-to-face communication during the prescreening process and prior to admitting them into the facility. Adding elbow, foot, or other alternative switches can further reduce risk of contact between infected and uninfected individuals. Once inside the facility, those same intercom solutions can provide access and crystal-clear communication to entrances to restricted areas, cleanrooms, isolation rooms, and maternity wards.
  4. Retail stores. Intercom solutions and speakers can assist customers, help security guards to perform their jobs better, and enable communication between office staff and sales personnel. To control entrances, intercoms can be used at the door on a loading dock, for example, to allow security not only see, but speak with and monitor all staff moving in and out of that area.
  5. Prisons and correctional facilities. Intercom solutions facilities provide efficient audio and video assistance for visitors, cell communications, and with prison management systems to enhance a security guard’s insight into situations and events. Placed at door, intercoms and gates to communicate with inmates and to control access to restricted areas, gates, sally ports, and door locks.
  6. K-12 schools. Visitor entry can be controlled at the exterior doors, with an intercom solution that a receptionist or security guard can control inside the school. When visitors or vendors push the button outside, their images and the audio from their voices can help determine why they want access to the school. The intercom enables a two-way conversation to help the receptionist or guard determine why a visitor wants access.
  7. University campuses. An intercom solution can control entry at main entrances, in addition to serving as an additional layer of security at administrative offices and other areas with highly sensitive information, but they are also ideal for use at delivery bays or other secondary entrances that have a lot of traffic.
  8. Manufacturing facilities. Keeping downtimes to a minimum and steady production, without security issues related to uncontrolled entry. Intercom solutions can control access to multiple doors. They can also provide general information throughout one facility or to specific warehouses, production areas, or other areas, while also helping security teams to respond to emergencies with both prerecorded and manual announcements.
  9. Multi-tenant facilities. Hundreds of people might enter and exit each day, an intercom solution can allow tenants, a concierge, and security officers to identify visitors quickly and easily before granting access. The ability to hear and see the visitor will allow for accurate decisions in those busy environments.
  10. Government Buildings. Visitor identification and area restriction are two very important security concerns for local, state, and federal levels. Intercom systems that provide visual and audio verification help deter unauthorized staff or visitors from entering secured offices and areas.

Whether it is a hospital, school, prison, retail store, or more, all facilities need to control access. Part of controlling access is the ability to see and hear the individual who wants it. Access control allows a team to safeguard a facility and allow entry, but it doesn’t provide real-time information. Video surveillance allows security teams to see and detect, but used alone, it has its limits with providing a complete view of a situation, as well. Audio via an intercom solution brings those two elements together – it adds interactivity, and it allows people to hear, be heard, and be understood. It also allows security teams to control entry to a facility effectively.

This article originally appeared in the September / October 2021 issue of Campus Security Today.

About the Author

Bruce Czerwinski is the vice president of sales at Zenitel.


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