Owners of smaller apartment buildings with fewer than 10 units now have a smart way to update their old door buzzer entry system with a sized-right, hi-tech, wireless video intercom system for apartments. There’s a lot to consider before you choose the door entry system that’s just right for your building. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to choose a wired or a wireless door entry system. This post can help you with that. Here’s what’s inside.
- The problem with wired entry systems
- The top three problems with wired systems
- The Internet of Things (IoT) and building management
- How a wireless video intercom system works
- How a wireless smart video intercom benefits an apartment building owner/manager
- How a wireless smart video intercom benefits apartment building residents
- How to choose the best wireless video intercom system for apartments
The Problem with Wired Door Entry Systems
We’ve come a long way from knocking at the door to announce our presence and request permission to enter. Historical note: Citizens of ancient Sparta simply yelled something like “I’m here,” and walked on in. Happily, times and technology have changed. But many apartment buildings, smaller properties in particular, have continued to use door buzzers, which first came into use in the 1930s, for their apartment entry system.
The problem with wired entry systems like the door buzzer is that they require, well, wiring. This means that the hardware at the building entry must be wired to the hardware in each apartment. When visitors use the apartment intercom system, it sends a signal to the correct unit. If the resident wants to open the door, she/he uses the in-unit intercom to send a signal to the door-release mechanism.
Wired systems are being phased out. To make the internet broadly available to more US citizens, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), no longer requires telecom companies to maintain copper wiring. This means that the cost of maintenance of wired systems, like a door buzzer or telephone intercom, will steadily increase. And if copper lines need repair, the telecom company has the right to decline service unless the replacement is a 4/5G network or fiber optic cable.
85% of Americans already have a smartphone as reported in a study from Pew Research.
With the number of users expected to grow, it doesn’t make sense to invest in wired intercom hardware for every apartment when residents already have a wireless-compatible device in their pocket. That’s because wired intercoms are far more expensive to install. There’s the actual cost of whole building wiring, installation fees, and a lengthy disruption for residents during in-unit implementation.
On the other hand, the best wireless apartment intercom system does not need whole-building wiring to connect exterior hardware with in-unit devices. But it does require a connection to the internet.
Your Introduction to the Internet of Things and Building Management
Our engagement with and reliance on smart technology has accelerated. The iPhone was first released in 2007. That was the unofficial start of connecting consumers with the computer in their pocket that then connected to other people, processes, data, and even other devices.
There’s a name for this human-device connection. It’s the Internet of Things (IoT). And IoT is particularly relevant to owners of apartment buildings and the people they hire to manage them. That’s because IoT enables smart tech. In plain English, smart tech is a software application that is hosted on a secure internet server. You may have heard it described as “the cloud,” cloud-based software, or even web-based software. They mean the same thing. Here’s the important thing. Web-based software can connect with other software and devices, like video intercom hardware, for example.
How a Wireless Video Intercom System Works
A wireless video intercom system for apartments requires hardware, think of it as a base station at the building’s entrance. It can be mounted flush on the exterior wall or on a pedestal as the situation dictates. The resident directory is inside the hardware. This is what visitors use to find a tenant. The base station also has a speaker, microphone, and camera.
And if the resident wants to open the door, they will then press a “door unlock” button on their smartphone to grant building access. When that button is pressed, it signals the door release mechanism to unlock the door and admit the visitor.
Keep in mind that not all video intercom hardware is created equal. The best video intercom systems for apartments, like the award-winning LiftMaster smart video intercoms powered by the myQ Community cloud, deliver:
- 135° field of view
- Live stream: 1080 pixels
- Video Call: 360 pixels
- Video clip events triggered by activity
- Records 15 seconds prior to the event and 15 seconds after
A wireless smart video intercom app makes sense as a survey of apartment renters from property management software company Entrata revealed. Not only do most Americans already use a smartphone, but more than 75% of residents would also pay more for a package of their top three smart home amenities: security cameras, keyless entry, and smart thermostats.
How a Wireless Smart Video Intercom Benefits Owners and Managers
The upgrade from a door buzzer entry system to a wireless smart video intercom system for apartments delivers tangible benefits to busy property managers.
Manage People Anytime, Anywhere
Add, update, and revoke residents’ access privileges
Assign groups, schedules, and zones to provide role-based access
Provide access remotely with a click of a button
Integrate with your existing property management system
Monitor a property, or multiple properties, remotely from anywhere with your laptop or smartphone
Enhance Safety and Security
Monitor resident and access-point activity
Receive real-time customized notifications: door ajar, permission denied and many more
Perform Remote Diagnostics
Always be in the know about your devices and access points through real-time notifications and 24/7 remote diagnostics for around-the-clock security.
How a Wireless Smart Video Intercom Benefits Apartment Building Residents
A wireless smart video intercom system for apartments empowers residents to conveniently manage and control building access. And resident involvement in access controls brings greater transparency to building security, helping to create a safe, modern living experience.
Key Resident Benefits Include
- Visual confirmation: Identify guests before granting or denying access
- No more lost or misplaced keys: Use your smartphone to unlock doors or Ask Siri to do it
- Never miss a delivery: Schedule, text, or email a time-limited virtual guest pass for delivery drivers
- Don’t keep your people or pets waiting: Issue recurring virtual guest passes for mom, dad, friends, and the dogwalker
How to Choose the Best Wireless Video Intercom System for Apartments
You need to evaluate product features and benefits. But the most important question to ask a solution provider is: “What happens after I buy your product? This is how the LiftMaster myQ Community team takes care of our customers before and after purchase.
- Our regional sales managers walk the property, often with the installation expert.
- We listen to you and are completely focused on delivering a solution that solves your problems.
- If a problem arises, we have an in-house team of engineers who will diagnose it and resolve it—or die trying.
- We have a training academy, onsite or virtual, that teaches you or your manager how to use the myQ cloud software. And we also hold training courses for our trusted distributor partners and installers so they’re up to speed on products and best practices. Plus, we offer an on-demand library of training videos.
So, before you invest in a wireless smart access control solution, consider the benefits of choosing a trusted, award-winning brand like LiftMaster, a company that invests in you, in customer-first product development, and in your long-term success.
Position yourself for success with LiftMaster’s complete line of access control solutions for every part of your property: main entrances, amenity rooms, gates, garages, elevators, package rooms, fences, and retrofit options to modernize older equipment.