Leveraging IP network technology in the security intercom market

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The transition from analogue to IP technologies has had a large impact on the ways intercoms are used in the security industry. The analogue-to-IP transition has generated a lot of attention in the camera market, and the transition is also taking place for intercoms. Twenty years ago, Axis Communications (2N’s parent company) led the industry in converting from analogue cameras and video to IP.

The conversion took 15 years to achieve, but the same conversion in intercoms is happening today. This conversion will take place over the next five years as integrators, end users, IT departments and building systems are now ready for networked IP devices, according to 2N.

“The benefits of an IP system are too great to ignore,” says Craig Szmania, CEO, 2N USA. Programmability, interoperability, mobile needs, video and audio quality, costs and system wide security concerns are all driving the conversion. Users want—and in fact, expect—the benefits of an integrated IP system, he says.

“The past limitations on IP-based solutions really have been swept away as most dealer/integrators in the security space have embraced networked IP devices and solutions and most now lead with such solutions,” says Szmania. “IP really is the new standard in the space. Integrators have embraced the technology it has produced, new customers, new revenue streams in service and support, and new recurring monthly revenue (RMR) opportunities.”

Likewise, Internet protocol (IP) phones are the present and the future of emergency communications. They provide flexible capabilities to future-proof installations, according to Code Blue Corp. As locations continue to expand and adapt security solutions to changing conditions, IP phones will be able to grow with you. They offer unlimited scalability, more integration opportunities, and a strong user interface that allows remote accessibility and makes a wide range of features—speed, clarity, range, versatility—more dynamic. A centralised dispatch location eliminates the need to manually test each device.

Digital technology units are the fastest growing of Aiphone’s product lines – selling at twice the rate of just a year ago, according to Aiphone. “As the security industry continues to move to digital networks, we can provide many more capabilities, such as long-distance communication and control, mobile apps, and network paging,” says Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. General Sales Manager, Aiphone Corp. “The digital revolution is making for smarter, more integrated systems, and intercoms play a vital role.”

Jim Hoffpauir, President of Zenitel North America, sees IP decentralised audio processing as a big development. “Powerful edge processing can now deliver high intelligibility without the need of a centralised server,” he says. “Users now see intelligible audio as essential to their operations and easily achievable with advanced audio edge technology.”

“The IP world changes everything when it comes to networking and pulling people and locations together,” says Dan Rothrock, SVP of Global Strategic Alliances, Zenitel North America. “One small appliance can get you into the cloud and link multiple locations with hundreds of intercom stations working together seamlessly.”

Zenitel’s advice is to leverage IP technology to its full extent, and to use native IP devices. It is easy to take legacy technology and add an encoder and decoder to that same old hardware, but that limits the benefits of leading edge technology advancements and even simplicity. Make sure that IP systems sound as good as an analogue system even while going through difficult network issues,” says Hoffpauir. “This is the secret sauce clients are asking for: a networked intelligible audio platform that interoperates with their other mission-critical systems like access, video and unified communications”.