What does the owner of an apartment building or condo with less than 10 units want? Three things:
- Security for the property and its residents
- Efficiency in resident and guest entry with smartphone apps and virtual guest passes
- Convenience, as in the ability to manage property access from anywhere at any time
It’s tempting to install a doorbell camera with a monitor to address these three priorities based on price alone. But there are other issues that deserve consideration before choosing a residential solution like a doorbell camera with a monitor, especially for an apartment building in a high-traffic location.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
- What a doorbell camera with a monitor is
- How a doorbell camera with monitor works
- The use of a doorbell camera system
- Limitations of doorbell camera systems
- Why the best alternative to a doorbell camera with a monitor system is a video intercom
What Is a Doorbell Camera with a Monitor?
A doorbell camera with a monitor system allows residents to communicate with visitors who want to either enter the building or enter their units. Depending on the type of doorbell cameras, the systems are either wired or wireless. A wired doorbell camera with a monitor can be set up like a building telephone entry system. This means that the hardware at the building entry must be wired to the hardware in each apartment. A wireless doorbell camera connects to the property’s Wi-Fi network and can be paired with the residents’ smartphones.
Unlike a door buzzer system, the doorbell intercom comes with a camera and a monitor that displays footage from the camera. The doorbell call button and monitor are housed in a weatherproof casing as is the wiring that connects them. The doorbell intercom is then mounted on an exterior wall next to the front door.
How a Doorbell Camera with Monitor System Works
A doorbell camera with a monitor system works by allowing a resident to communicate with someone outside the building and, in some instances, grant them access remotely.
When a visitor approaches the doorbell video intercom, they can look up the resident’s unit number in the system’s directory, then press the resident’s unit number. This sends an alert to the resident, either to their in-unit monitor or in some wireless systems, to their smartphone app.
The resident can then talk with the visitor and decide whether to grant that person entry to the building. If the system has a door lock release mechanism, the resident can remotely unlock the door with the push of a button.
A wired doorbell camera system doesn’t require that you have a Wi-Fi network or a smartphone. But think about Gen Z: they are the first generation to have grown up with smartphones. This generation is email averse, and their preference for texting likely influenced business team chat services like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and others.
Younger demographics embrace technology wholeheartedly, and they expect digital amenities in the places they choose to live. Fast internet, cable, smart thermostats, keyless entry, and the ability to issue a virtual key for guests or service people are must-haves for communities that want to attract younger renters. So, think about your residents and your prospective tenants before choosing a wired doorbell camera with a monitor.
How a Doorbell Camera with Monitor System Can Improve Security
Doorbell camera intercoms are a type of visitor management system. They provide a way for visitors to request entry, and certain wireless video doorbell systems enable residents to unlock the door even when they are not at home.
Additionally, the doorbell intercom with a camera allows residents to see and talk with the person who wants to come in.
And some, though not all doorbell intercom systems take a photo or record video footage of everyone who approaches the entrance or uses the doorbell. Residents and property staff can review this footage as an added security precaution.
Limitations of Doorbell Camera Intercoms
Doorbell cameras have introduced innovation to residential property tech. But they have very real limitations for commercial properties that apartment building owners and community managers should be aware of.
The doorbell camera with a monitor combines the basic functions of a camera, a doorbell, and an intercom. It offers more than a doorbell alone, but the bundling of older technology is not the solution that today’s digitally savvy renters want. Here is what is missing:
- No entry control for other parts of a property such as inside amenity rooms, package rooms, elevator access, parking garage, back doors, and gates.
- Video footage storage costs extra
- Lack of large-format touchscreen display
- No interface with property management systems such as Yardi, Entrata, Real Page, and others.
- Limited or lack of cloud solution features to automate access control management, enable smartphone entry control for residents, and empower building owners and managers to work from anywhere.
Why the Smart Video Intercom is the Best Alternative to a Doorbell Intercom
The cloud and connectivity of the internet of things have created the smart access control market and introduced a host of new products. Property owners and community managers will be well-served to partner with best-in-class access solution providers—providers who offer robust and scalable systems with seamless integration capabilities. Here are some things to consider when looking for a trusted partner.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is typically the key factor to take into consideration when updating your telephone phone intercom to a smart video intercom system. A reliable cloud-based access control system should come with an intuitive interface for residents, as well as easy programming capabilities that allow managers to add or update data from anywhere.
Additionally, your wireless video intercom system should automatically install software updates which eliminate the management of multiple software licenses and the confusion of running different versions of the software. Updates happen seamlessly without requiring any action on the part of the management staff.
It’s important to select a wireless smart video intercom door entry system that aligns with your community’s needs. The system should be scalable and flexible to allow users to specify the level of control they need now with the ability to add features like access control solutions for elevators, parking structures, gates and garages later. The video access control system should also come with robust diagnostics that can be customized to issue alerts and notifications that are relevant to the community’s needs.
Smart access video intercoms also provide digital amenities that streamline an owner or manager’s workflow and fulfill resident expectations for a smartphone app that includes features like voice-controlled entry, the ability to issue virtual passes to guests and service people from anywhere and the sense of security that comes from the ability to see who is at the door before granting access.
LiftMaster’s Smart Video Intercoms Powered by myQ Community
Looking ahead at the rapidly expanding home technology market, Jenny Lytle, General Manager of Access Controls and Community Services at LiftMaster underscores the importance of a simple-to-use, integrated smart-home experience for residents in small apartment buildings and large, multi-family communities alike.
Lytle concludes, “myQ Community products are installed in residential communities around the world and the systems are used by a variety of consumers. The platform itself is enabled in over 250,000 units today in over 30,000 gated communities with over four million residents operating on it.”