- If you’re looking to invest in an intercom system with a camera, consider the ButterflyMX smart intercom. You might also choose from providers like DoorKing or Latch.
- The benefits of camera intercoms include increased security, more features, and being better able to manage visitors and delivery couriers.
- Choose a camera intercom by looking for features like an IP65 rating, app-based access, and a cloud-based management platform.
If you’re replacing an existing video intercom system or choosing one for a new building, you’ve come to the right place. Follow this camera intercom system guide to select the best solution for your residents and staff. This guide describes all the crucial features you should consider in order to find the right camera intercom system for your apartment building.
This post covers:
- 5 best camera intercom systems
- What is a camera intercom?
- How does a video intercom system work?
- Why your building needs a camera intercom system
- How to choose a camera intercom system
5 best camera intercom systems
If you’re interested in getting a camera intercom system on your property, here are some of the best options on today’s market.
You might consider these camera intercoms:
ButterflyMX is an all-inclusive smart intercom solution that can serve properties of all sizes. With our line of intercoms, keypads, vehicle stickers, and more, you can depend on ButterflyMX to make access simple and keep your residents happy.
ButterflyMX features include:
- Custom-built Delivery Pass solution that simplifies access for couriers
- Multiple access options like app access, fobs, QR codes, and PINs
- Powerful management dashboard that you can access from any device
The best intercom with a camera is the ButterflyMX video intercom system.
The ButterflyMX video intercom empowers building staff and residents to open doors and gates with a smartphone. By eliminating building wiring and in-unit hardware, ButterflyMX saves you time and money while adding convenience for residents.
ButterflyMX wireless video intercoms have been installed in more than 10,000 buildings. And with more than 20,000 five-star reviews, ButterflyMX is the clear frontrunner as the best camera intercom on the market today.
Watch how the ButterflyMX intercom works:
DoorBird doorbells are especially easy to retrofit. You can use existing wiring to install a DoorBird intercom. Then, you can avoid further installation difficulties because DoorBird heavily features wireless technology.
DoorBird intercom features include:
- Wireless IP-based connections between master and base stations
- Add-on devices like cameras, door controllers, and door chimes
- RFID capabilities on the door station
With distributors working in over 100 countries, 2N is certainly a dependable option. They offer IP-based products with cameras, like video door intercoms and readers.
2N intercom features include:
- The choice between different models of intercom, like Style or Verso
- QR code support
- Support for single-family, multi-tenant, and commercial buildings
Founded in 1967, LiftMaster brings tons of experience to today’s access control market. While their main focus is garage door openers, they also offer accessories like keypads and door phone cameras.
LiftMaster features include:
- Support for the most popular types of gates, swinging and sliding gates
- Battery backups that ensure safety during power outages
- Gate entry systems with cameras that send app notifications to your phone
5. Latch Intercom
Founded in 2014, Latch originally focused its product lineup on smart locks. However, Latch has started exploring new territories, introducing its multi-unit building intercom in December 2019.
Latch features include:
- One intercom panel option measuring 6.53” wide and 12.82” tall
- Tactile button interface
- Residents can choose how to display their name on the intercom
- Power over Ethernet
- Three connectivity options: Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and cellular
- IP65 rated
What is a camera intercom?
A camera intercom is a type of building entry system that uses a camera to allow a resident to see and speak with a visitor before granting them property access.
The first intercoms relied on expensive wiring and hardware that had to be installed at the building entrance and inside each unit. But these days, modern intercoms can use innovations like the internet and wireless technology to add new features and make installation easier.
For example, modern camera intercom systems include video call functionality so that residents can see who they’re talking to as well as hear them.
Front door video intercoms have either one-way or two-way video calling. With one-way calls, residents can see visitors on their screens, but the visitors cannot see them. Alternatively, a 2-way intercom camera allows residents and visitors to see each other during a video call.
How much does a video intercom system cost?
A video intercom system with a camera costs $1,000 to $7,000. But to calculate the exact cost, you’ll need to account for hardware, software, wiring, and installation fees.
Camera intercom hardware prices vary. But the most affordable option is to choose a system without in-unit hardware. By allowing tenants to use their smartphones instead of in-unit devices, you’ll avoid the expense of purchasing and maintaining all those devices.
Intercoms with cameras can be wired or wireless. Wireless video intercoms are more cost-effective than wired systems because they don’t require you to run wiring between devices.
Depending on the system you install, your video intercom installation could cost a few hundred or several thousand dollars. Keep in mind that installers set their own prices, so installation costs will vary.
How does a video intercom system work?
A camera intercom system works similarly to well-known video calling platforms like Apple’s FaceTime. When visitors request building access, they use the entryway hardware to select and video call a resident or staff member.
Video door entry relies on four key components to work:
- Master station: Installed at the building entrance, master stations store tenant directories and allow visitors to select the resident they want to talk to. Master stations often also have an option to contact the front desk or office.
- Camera: All camera intercom systems have a built-in camera. The camera streams live footage of visitors to residents during a video call. Many cameras also capture photos of every entry event for added security.
- Substation: The substation allows a resident to see, hear, and speak to guests. In systems with two-way calling, substations contain cameras so visitors can also see the resident. Substations can be video-enabled devices installed in each unit or even residents’ smartphones.
- Door strike: The door strike is the physical component that unlocks the door when a resident grants access. Door strikes can be electric or magnetic. All camera intercom systems need a door strike to enable remote property access.
Even today, some intercom systems still use wiring to connect the master station and substations. However, this is more expensive to install and maintain than a wireless intercom with a camera.
In contrast, wireless camera intercom systems operate over the internet. So, residents download a mobile app to answer video calls and open the door remotely from their smartphones instead of using in-unit hardware.
Why your building needs a camera intercom system
Now that you know what a camera intercom system is and how it works, you’re probably wondering if it’s the best option for your building. An intercom with a camera stands out as the best entry solution on the market today, but why?
The benefits of a front door intercom system with a camera include:
- Integrations with other technology: Did you know that modern camera intercom systems can integrate with other smart technologies, such as lighting and temperature controls? Create a forward-thinking community at your building by investing in a smart video intercom.
- Increased security: Property security is essential at all buildings. A camera intercom system keeps the door or gate locked but maintains easy access for residents, guests, and delivery carriers. Additionally, staff and residents can visually confirm who is requesting access before letting them into the building.
- Delivery and visitor management: Missing a package delivery or an unexpected guest is frustrating. With a camera intercom, it’s easier for staff and residents to grant access without personally going to open the door. The best intercom systems also include remote access options so you can answer video calls from anywhere using your smartphone.
- Improved resident experience: Residents expect a reliable entry system, so a video intercom benefits your bottom line. By upgrading to a smart camera intercom system, you’re exceeding expectations to attract new residents and investors. In general, an improved access experience makes day-to-day life more convenient for residents.
How to choose a camera intercom system
You’ve done your research, and now you’re ready to invest in a camera intercom. But how do you know which one to purchase?
Look for a camera intercom system with these key features:
Cloud-based intercoms are wireless and operate over the internet. So, if your door or gate camera system stores data in the cloud, you can manage the entire system from anywhere, anytime.
Also, by choosing a cloud-based intercom system, you’ll save time and enjoy automatic software updates and data backups. Additionally, your cloud-based system can take a date- and time-stamped photo of every entry event. That way, your staff can increase security by referencing an audit trail.
2. IP65 rating
Chances are you’ll be installing your intercom at an outside entrance to your building. In that case, it’s essential to choose an IP65-rated intercom. The IP65 rating lets you know that your new device is both waterproof and dust-resistant. In the end, you’ll save money on replacements and repairs because your intercom is protected from most weather conditions.
3. Mobile app
85% of Americans own a smartphone. We use our phones as wallets, car keys, and even transit cards. So why not encourage residents to use their smartphones for building access too?
Today’s camera intercom systems come with powerful mobile apps to allow residents to open the door or gate from the device they already have in their pocket. Make sure to choose an intercom system with a highly- rated mobile app that offers multiple ways to open the door, such as swipe, tap, or voice control.
4. Property management software integrations
With a traditional intercom system, you need to physically update your intercom’s directory for every change in your rent roll, like when residents move in or out. But with the right system, you can save yourself the hassle of manual updates by choosing an intercom that integrates with property management software.
Once the integration is set up, you won’t have to think about it again. Instead, just update your PMS as you usually would, and it will sync to the intercom system automatically.
5. Delivery management
Thanks to the convenience of ordering online your building gets many packages and food deliveries daily. Choose an intercom system that doubles as a package delivery system to make deliveries more secure and convenient.
When you upgrade to an intercom that offers delivery passes, staff and residents can create and send single-use codes directly to delivery carriers for easy access. Couriers can then enter the building using a PIN code to securely place packages inside or even in a designated package room.