Audio integration with TCP/IP network infrastructures has revolutionized intercoms. Digital signal processors now surpass old sound wave conversion methods, allowing audio and data signals to be transmitted across the network between intercom servers and intercom stations.
Analog master and intercom exchangers can no longer compete with nor provide the level of functionality available through local, regional and global IP connections. In fact, intercom servers and IP infrastructures now make possible the exchange of conversations between subscribers or end users from one remote location to another without regard to distance or master console dependability.
The New Direction
Modular interface cards empower intercom over IP systems with added functionalities, including integration and connection of external systems such as computers, telephones and mobile radios. What is more, digital connection and recording cards provide intercom servers the ability to interface with public address and two-way radio systems. Door and gate control, alarm, video integration, and system management and functionality depend on the type of interface cards implemented with the system.
Fiber optic media integration is now available within IoIP systems without audio or data converters. Even noise and interference are no longer of concern. One can neither ignore nor minimize the significant advancements made by IoIP manufacturers in the last few years.
Seamless, Limitless Scalability
Manufacturers allege that cost-effective installations will allow security users to replace existing central communications equipment hardware with state-of-the-art digital network switching equipment.
In fact, a few years ago, Eli Gorovici—president and CEO of DVTel, a leading provider of IP-based security systems—noted that IoIP technology will not only be fully “compatible with most of the installed base of intercom door stations'' but also will be able to “upgrade to a fully digital infrastructure.”
IoIP promises to provide seamless integration; limitless connections; scalability; system management through high-level, interactive, modular and graphical user interfaces; voice, data, and access control functions; video verification, and many other capabilities controlled and managed through a single IP platform.
According to Bill Vernon of Digital Acoustics, a provider of IP audio communication systems, “Integrating IP intercom and paging into centralized access systems will provide enhanced safety at building and campus access points, enterprise-wide communication of informational and emergency messaging, and operational efficiencies using flexibly managed command centers. Solutions are now boundaryless, not limited to the walls of a single structure.”
Conflicts with Existing Access Control Systems
With such a degree of sophistication and system flexibility, however, one cannot avoid speculating about how much coordination you'll have to perform to maximize these advanced intercom IP functionalities and capabilities without causing an operational conflict with other applications and command center management decisions.
Over the years, security directors and managers have been able to integrate security technology into effective operational programs. Adding a new set of IoIP functionalities and modes of operation, although beneficial, will most likely disturb the balance and effectiveness of these programs. Operational modes and functionality levels incumbent in an access control and alarm management system (ACAMS) could potentially overlap with some functional and administrative modes now offered in IoIP systems. Consider the following.
• IoIP software currently supports not only access control functionalities such as four-digit access codes, door status and alarm monitoring, gate and door control release; but also manages the same security data being supported by the ACAMS.