How Does a VoIP Intercom Work? Can You Benefit?

Posted on: 2018-10-16 | Categories: VoIP Services

With the widespread use of VoIP technology, certain older features have fallen by the wayside. A good example is faxing with more companies switching to VoIP enabled digital faxes. Intercom calls are another. Intercom systems were widely used at one time, though they’re not restricted to specific use cases. But for companies that need this feature, some VoIP service providers offer it in some plans at least.

What Is an Intercom System?

Traditionally speaking, an intercom system is a standalone voice system that is used within a building or campus. You can find intercom units mounted permanently outside buildings such as apartment homes or secure areas within an office campus. Schools and colleges are other organizations that use intercom units. The systems are not connected to the main PSTN and are used to control access to specific places.

VoIP Intercom Calls

Some service providers offer this facility to enterprise clients for in-house calls. Intercom calling allows users to dial an extension within the office similar to a regular call. However, instead of ringing the device will automatically answer the call. You can use this feature for quick conversations between colleagues, control access to a building, announce visitors or ping specific people at the other end. Intercom calls are usually free and do not incur any charges from the service provider.

Intercom calls don’t always need dedicated hardware like a desk phone. Some providers offer desktop and mobile software so that users can use the intercom system from any device. This feature is generally off by default. You will have to enable and configure the feature on the specific units you need. The configuration process is straightforward and usually done through the online dashboard.

Where and When to Use VoIP Intercom Calling

VoIP Intercom and Door Buzzers

Controlling access to a secure area is one of the most common uses of intercom systems. Organizations can connect door buzzers to their VoIP phone systems just as they would any other SIP phone. However, instead of answering calls, the buzzer allows outsiders to gain access. This feature is a great way to add security and keep a close eye on who can enter certain areas within a building or the entire building itself.

These buzzer units are popular in schools and colleges, warehouses, server rooms, and similar locations. Some units are capable of transmitting video as well as audio. You can even record footage to play back later for review and monitoring. Integrating the phone system with surveillance systems (like CCTV) can augment existing security systems.

Announcing Visitors

Sometimes you don’t want to call people but still need to convey information such as visitors entering the building. Intercom calls are a great way to do that. A receptionist or security guard can announce visitors via intercom calls and unlike regular calls, don’t have to wait until someone answers the phone.

Transferring Parked Calls

In a busy office, it’s more than likely that you need to route certain incoming calls to the correct person. Depending on your specific configuration, you can combine several VoIP features to achieve the same thing. Suppose you have to transfer a call to a colleague. You can put the call in ‘park’ more and then intercom the other person before handing over the caller.

Emergency Broadcast and Paging System

The VoIP intercom calling feature can also be useful in setting up an emergency broadcast system throughout an office or school campus. Since the unit basically behaves like any other SIP endpoint, you can use it to send emergency notifications or other urgent messages when users are scattered across multiple buildings.

Depending on your needs, you can configure the intercom units to communicate with each other or not. Although you can make intercom calls from a SIP phone, you might want standalone units if you are building an emergency broadcast system. These units are built to be weatherproof and sturdy for outdoor use as well.

Benefits of Using VoIP Intercom

Before VoIP, organizations needed a separate intercom system for local communication. But now, VoIP service providers offer it as a distinct feature within their service plans. This makes it useful for improving communication within an office, enhance building security, and monitoring access to secure areas.

Security – whether physical or virtual – is a key concern for organizations in 2018. With hackers increasingly turning to social engineering techniques to compromise security measures, VoIP enabled access control can enhance security and minimize risks. Forcing workers to identify and authenticate themselves before entering secure areas deters criminals from exploiting unsuspecting employees.

Building doors are not the only access points where intercoms are useful. You can even control access between different floors of the same building so that only authorized personnel can enter.