Crystal Clear Security
10 ways Intercom Solutions Can Control Entry and Secure Your Facilities
- By Bruce Czerwinski
- October 01, 2021
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 & Life Safety.