Cloud-based video intercom systems that pair with apps are here to stay. For most intercom users in today’s mobile-centered world, the ability to simply swipe on a phone app to view guests and grant entry is a huge draw. Video intercom apps give users a range of benefits, from having tabs on their building entrance no matter where they are, to letting in delivery and maintenance people while on vacation or running errands. Cloud-based systems are likely to become the new norm as more and more commercial and residential buildings switch over.

How Do Video Intercom Systems Work?

Video intercoms use security cameras to capture footage of visitors at the entryway. This footage is displayed on an interior monitor, letting admins see and speak to guests before letting them in. In door intercom systems with door release, users can press a button to remotely unlock the door for visitors. The most up-to-date systems offer cloud-based mobile apps which you can use from anywhere, as long as you have internet connection.

Video Intercom System Components

Basic video intercom system components include master stations, entrance stations, tenant stations, built-in cameras for monitoring entryways, and software such as mobile apps. In large systems, multiple master stations may be linked to multiple entrance stations, cameras, and apps. These are usually integrated with access control, allowing admins to remotely unlock doors for guests.

Master stations

A master station receives calls and displays video of visitors at the door on a monitor. It is placed inside the building, where communication needs to be received — at a receptionist’s desk or a guard’s station, for example. Master stations typically have a door release button to remotely grant access to visitors, and special functions including broadcasting, paging, and inbound call transfers are generally possible from these stations. Cloud-based apps offer similar functions to master stations, and can be used offsite.

Entrance stations

Entrance stations are positioned at the door or gate where visitors are coming in, and include built-in surveillance cameras. These are typically pinhole cameras inside the entrance station. Visitors can press a button on the station panel to an interior station and/or phone app, and speak into the speaker. Entrance stations can be integrated with access control, such as card readers, fingerprint readers, keypads, and Bluetooth.

Tenant stations

Tenant stations may be installed inside apartment units or suites, allowing residents to receive video calls and unlock the door from a hardwired panel in their home.

Mobile apps

Video intercom mobile apps let residents, staff, and property managers see and speak to visitors at the entrance station from their smartphone. Past mobile apps have required users to be onsite to use the app, as they needed to connect to the building wi-fi signal. More recent systems solve this problem by using cloud-based apps, which enable video communication and door release from any location, as long as the device can connect to the internet.

What Can You Do With a Video Intercom System?


Keep Out Intruders

Door intercom systems can benefit any building or campus that needs to boost safety by remotely verifying and letting in visitors. Intercom systems for businesses with valuable merchandise and data prevent theft by keeping criminals from getting inside in the first place. A small investment in intercom security can pay off significantly in safeguarding properties, assets, and employees.

See People Before Letting Them In

This may be the biggest advantage of having video capabilities. Video intercoms keep employees and tenants from having to cross their fingers and hope the person they’re letting in is the right one. Without video, it is hard to be sure the person you’re speaking with is really a delivery or maintenance person, and is not carrying a gun or otherwise presenting a visual threat. Cameras also let security staff see incidents at the door in real time, enabling them to respond quickly.

Streamline Communication

Intercoms also provide an easy way of communicating between rooms and buildings, saving time by uniting office communication into one secure system. Employees can instantly relay quick messages, broadcast office-wide announcements, and start video meetings. This becomes even more convenient and flexible when used with a mobile video app. Intercom systems are useful for schools, office buildings, campuses, hospitals, and any other facility in need of streamlined communication.

Employee Video Communication

Intercoms with video provide a platform for employees to communicate through quick video calls between rooms and buildings, instantly connecting them without having to go through an app or the cloud. Admins can also watch and speak to employees through video intercoms — this is useful in settings where managers must communicate with workers to direct actions and ensure safety protocols are in place.

Discourage Criminal Activity

Choosing intercom and access control systems that offer video, or pairing your system with existing surveillance cameras, automatically increases the safety of your facility. The presence of cameras has been shown to deter criminals, as they are less likely to target your facility or the area around it if they can see that they are being monitored.