Intercoms are often an essential element in a building’s security, providing entrance control and convenience for both occupants and visitors. Many of these devices incorporate video and audio, and are used in many different applications, including multi-family buildings, schools and corporate settings.
Four leading intercom manufacturers and ONVIF member companies share why ONVIF is an important part of their business strategy in the intercom market in our member roundtable.
Please briefly describe your product portfolio and to which ONVIF profiles your product conforms.
Sean Peterson, Tech Services Manager, Aiphone: Aiphone provides high-quality audio video intercoms and entry security devices. Our breadth of products covers nearly every application from simple commercial door entry systems, to large app-enabled multi-tenant facilities, all the way up to fully integrated enterprise-level IP security communication systems. Aiphone products conform to ONVIF Profile S.
Marie-Theres Schröger, Product Management, Commend: Commend offers ONVIF Profile S support for specific products, enhancing both video and audio applications. The ONVIF audio support streamlines the process of making calls with any VMS system which leads to easier handling than ever before.
Dan Rothrock, President, Zenitel Americas: Technology within the security industry has adapted to numerous changes through the years, from the early days of analog devices to today’s IP-based solutions, networked cameras, and access control solutions, in addition to analytics, cloud-based products, virtual security guards, and more. That technology is needed, due to the number of sophisticated risks that security teams face each day. Every area of a facility, inside and out, including doors, rooms and open spaces, and the fence-line at a perimeter, is necessary to successfully operate a business and keep employees, visitors, and vendors safe and secure.
Yet, no matter what security technology is in place, the need always remains for clear communications via audio solutions. We believe that intelligent communication is critical in all areas of business and our expertise is focused on providing intelligent communication solutions that allow you to hear, be heard and be understood, every time. Zenitel systems interface with major security systems such as video and access control for a comprehensive and interactive security solution. We specialize in providing intelligent voice communication solutions, including intercom, public address, and emergency notification. Our key markets include building security, public safety, transportation, industrial manufacturing, energy, education, retail, and healthcare.
All Zenitel TCIV+ stations are ONVIF Profile T and Profile S conformant. Our audio-only devices, from our Turbine range of stations, kits, and IP Speakers, are ONVIF compliant where ONVIF addresses audio.
Alexander Schütte, Global Product Manager, Axis network intercoms: Axis network intercoms combine video surveillance, two-way communication, and remote entry control in a single device for secure, hassle-free physical access to building premises. They support countless possibilities for integration and on-board intelligence such as analytics capabilities for improved security. They can also easily integrate with existing video or audio systems, allowing for smart triggers, for instance when a visitor is approaching. The current Axis intercom portfolio consists of 3 intercom models with the following ONVIF profiles:
• AXIS I8116-E Network Video Intercom (ONVIF Profile G, M, S, T)
• AXIS I8016-LVE Network Video Intercom (ONVIF Profile G, M, S, T)
• AXIS A8207-VE Mk II Network Video Door Station (ONVIF Profile G, S)
Why is ONVIF membership and product conformance beneficial to your offering?
Sean Peterson: Aiphone might be the leader in (video) intercoms, but intercoms are just one piece of the security puzzle. ONVIF allows our customers flexibility to pick the products that best fit their needs without worrying about interoperability between them.
Marie-Theres Schröger: ONVIF membership and product conformance make it possible for Commend Solutions to offer our customers an extra layer of confidence in a globally recognized and trusted standard. With ONVIF, Commend offers a seamless and user-friendly interface with other third-party video management systems, enabling highly customer-centric solutions.
Dan Rothrock: ONVIF conformance is beneficial to our business and our customers, as it allows our solutions to be discovered by and interoperable and therefore easy to deploy with other conformant Video Management Systems (which encompasses virtually all VMS solutions in the marketplace today). We embrace the goal of ONVIF of providing and promoting standards for effective interoperability of IP-based physical security products. We take our ONVIF interoperability seriously and we ensure that users are not disconnected when there are software upgrades and technology advancements. We believe that interoperability should be a cornerstone of every security solution, regardless of brand, and we are thrilled to be part of the growing ONVIF IP interoperability community. We want to be a part of an organization that allows end users to integrate and deploy their solutions for ROI, and ONVIF does that.
Alexander Schütte: In the development phase, Axis intercoms start with an existing camera reference. That’s important because we believe that the cameras in the intercom products should be used as natural complements to a customer’s surveillance solution and not only for short, two-way communications. That’s why we support ONVIF video profiles such as Profile G for edge video storage, M for metadata, and S and T for video streaming and much more. When driving open standards, ONVIF is key to giving our customers the best possible integration possibilities.
What do you see as potential future opportunities and challenges in the intercom market?
Sean Peterson: The security space is constantly evolving side-by-side with technology, which will always introduce new challenges, but those challenges are what create opportunities. As cliché as that sounds, and as overstated as that sentiment might be, it’s absolutely true. The world is becoming more automated and interconnected than ever with the emergence of AI-powered technology and cloud-connectivity. Navigating our way into that unknown is providing us with boundless opportunities to constantly redefine how we interact with technology. To that, standardizations like ONVIF are critical in ensuring that we’re all moving forward together.
Marie-Theres Schröger: The main challenge we see in the intercom market is the fact that customers demand more and more systems to seamlessly interact with each other, making their operational activities more efficient and a lot easier to handle.
Dan Rothrock: It’s simple to design a security solution that serves one purpose. It’s more technically challenging to design a security solution that uses open standards and that integrates with other security solutions. We believe that open standards and sharing protocols, along with product integrations, provide end users with the flexibility to fit their individual needs while allowing manufacturers to speed up their technology advancements.
Alexander Schütte: The intercom market is growing rapidly, especially with the conversion towards IP and the growing attractiveness of using intercom products for more than just access control communications, but also for other use cases such as video and audio surveillance or for announcement purposes to help create a safer environment. Given rapid changes in smartphone usage and AI development, a challenge for intercom manufacturers is to be able to anticipate changes in user behavior and adapt products to meet new demands.