Over the past few years, home intrusions have increased dramatically. A study revealed that of the 2.5 million burglaries reported every year, around 66 percent are home intrusions. They also show that around 34 percent of burglars enter a home through the front door. A common safety measure to this is often being vigilant and taking necessary safety action when interacting with individuals approaching your door. However, this doesn’t always guarantee safety. The best way to deal with such security threats is making use of an intercom system.


What is an Intercom system? An overview

An intercom is a two-way communication system installed at the entrance of a home or office to communicate with the person (at the entrance) seeking access to the property. Intercoms function independently of the public telephone network.

Before, intercoms were purely voice-based, meaning the person inside the property could only talk to the individual needing to gain entry. Over time, as the technology improved, manufacturers started offering advanced intercom systems such as video intercoms that support audiovisual communication.

Best intercom systems keep a record of audio files and video footage that can be used as evidence to prove the plaintiff’s claim in a home break-in case.


A few commonly used intercom terms

Before you hire a service provider to work on your intercom installation project, you must know the following basic intercom terms.

Master station

Typically located inside the building, a master station is designed to help control the intercom system. To facilitate communication with other stations, a master station usually includes a speaker, volume control, amplifier, talk button, and station selector switch.


Also known as slave units, substations can communicate only with the master station. A substation typically includes a speaker and a call button.

Wall mount station

As the name suggests, wall mount stations are mounted on the wall. These stations usually have a built-in loudspeaker. A wall mount station may also include a flush mounted microphone or telephone-style handset.

Paging signal

Paging signals can be in the form of audio or visual alerts. These are sent by a person positioned at another station to initiate a conversation.

Intercom station

These are remote units that are designed to initiate and receive individual conversations, signaling, and party line conversations.


The central component of an intercom system. An amplifier performs critical tasks such as facilitating communication between the master station and substations and distributing power to different auxiliary devices.


Different types of intercom systems

1. Wired intercom system

Usually installed inside the building, hard-wired intercom units are the most popular type of intercom systems used in homes. At the touch of a button, you can communicate with the person standing outside. These systems use wires to connect intercom speakers.

Wired intercom systems support audiovisual communication. Though costly, such systems are known for their reliability, better audio quality, and ability to help avoid external interferences. Wired intercom systems are also more resistant to wear and tear than other systems. They are usually placed behind the walls in a way that no components are visible. Wired intercom systems are normally used in condominiums, where they are installed during construction.

2. Wireless intercom system

Wireless intercoms are used in applications where wires cannot be run and the systems typically include handheld radios, desktop devices, and outdoor wireless call boxes.

GSM Intercoms are one of the most popular types of these kinds of systems. However, this option is deemed more of a cellular network-based intercom system. With GSM (Otherwise known as Global System for Mobile Communications) intercoms, you sign up for a service that uses GSM and receive a SIM card that you then place in a slot inside the intercom control module. When pressing the intercom button, it dials out on the cellphone network and places a call to any mobile or landline. The person reached is able to press a key on their telephone that activates a switch in the intercom, in turn opening a door or gate remotely. With our GSM intercoms at Smart Intercoms, programming can be done via SMS, enabling automatic entry to specific visitors as well.

3. Carrier-current

A carrier-current system can be integrated into a home’s electrical system. Carrier-current systems derive power from an AC source to produce frequency signals. Given that they do not need wiring, carrier-current systems are easier and affordable to install and maintain. A major problem with these systems is subpar audio and video quality.

4. Automatic gate entry intercom unit

Automatic gate entry intercom units can be an ideal solution for home or business owners who receive a number of visitors. These systems allow the user to lock or unlock the entrance doors to their building with a push of a button.

When a person requests access to the property, a small camera installed at the entrance relays video feed to your device. You can then see and talk to the person. Most older automatic gate entry intercom units are audio-only units – meaning they only support audio communication.

5. Video intercom

A video intercom system lets you talk to and see the visitor. As sending a video wirelessly is very difficult, video intercoms are usually hard-wired. Modern intercom systems allow users to add a camera to their system. These systems also allow their users to connect home appliances to the Internet, helping them control these devices from a remote location.

Users can also install a webcam that can be accessed via their smart home technology at their entrance.


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