Every building has valuable assets that need to be secured. With a commercial door entry system, you can control who has access to your property. From intercoms to fobbed access, door entry systems make your commercial building safer. Choosing a commercial door entry system is a big decision, so we’ve put together this guide to help you make the best choice for your building.
This post will cover:
- What is a commercial door entry system?
- How does a commercial door entry system work?
- Types of commercial door entry systems
- Why a video intercom is the best commercial door entry system
What is a commercial door entry system?
A commercial door entry system is an access control solution that allows you to manage who can access doors on your property. With a door entry system, you can set limits on who has access to the building or rooms within it and at what times.
Every property needs controlled access for security purposes, but you also don’t want to hinder access for tenants. With a door entry system, you can keep doors locked while ensuring tenants and authorized visitors can enter seamlessly.
There are many kinds of commercial door entry systems to meet the unique needs of various commercial buildings. For example, office buildings have many repeat visitors Monday through Friday, while storage and retail spaces have frequent deliveries at odd hours. Either way, these properties need an effective entry system.
How does a commercial door entry system work?
A commercial door entry system works by allowing staff and tenants in a commercial building to grant access remotely and communicate with visitors.
There are two essential components to all commercial door entry systems:
- Base station: The hardware installed at the property’s entrance.
- Substations: Devices installed throughout the building to communicate with the base station.
These devices combine to make an intercom system where people outside the building can communicate with people inside. Both devices have a microphone and speaker to transmit audio at the push of a button.
Beyond the most basic features, a modern door entry system can also include door release mechanisms, cameras for video calling, mobile apps, and cloud-based management systems.
Types of commercial door entry systems
There are many building entry systems on the market these days, so choosing the right one for your commercial property can feel overwhelming.
There are four main types of door entry systems:
1. Video intercom systems
A video intercom is installed at the entrance of a property so that tenants can grant property access to visitors remotely. Notably, the video component allows tenants to visually confirm who’s requesting access before opening the door or gate.
When purchasing a commercial video intercom, choose one that pairs with a mobile app for smartphone-based access. That way, building staff won’t have to hand out physical credentials — tenants can manage access from their own smartphones.
- A video intercom entry system is convenient and affordable to install because there is no wiring and no in-unit hardware.
- Smartphone-based access is convenient and more affordable than installing devices in every unit.
- With a cloud-based video intercom, you can manage permissions and access time- and date-stamped audit trails from anywhere.
- Video intercoms enable easy keyless entry because tenants can admit themselves and visitors all from their smartphones. Tenants can also type in a PIN code to access the door.
- Video intercom systems are designed for multi-tenant properties.
- The features may be too extensive for buildings with minimal traffic.
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2. Electronic access control systems
Electronic systems like key fob and RFID card readers go one step beyond a traditional metal lock and key. These technologies verify who is accessing the door based on the credential they use to enter. While an access control system streamlines access for tenants and staff, it doesn’t enable visitor access.
- Most electronic access systems are easy to use for tenants. All it takes is tapping a key card or fob against a reader to enter the building.
- Fobs and key cards are easy to replace. When tenants inevitably misplace a card, you can disable access for that card and issue a new one easier than with metal keys.
- RFID readers are also effective for elevators. With these door security systems, you can also easily regulate who can access particular building floors.
- They can only be used by tenants who are issued cards or fobs. There’s no way for visitors to contact tenants and request access through an RFID reader.
- Even though key cards and fobs are cheaper to replace than metal keys, the costs still add up. Tenants are less likely to lose their smartphone than a key card, so a smartphone-based access system saves money in the long run.
- RFID tags are easy to clone with card copying devices that you can purchase online for as little as $11. Also, if a resident loses their key fob or card, someone else could use it to access the building before staff gets around to deactivating it.
Electronic access control systems work best when combined with a video intercom. Tenants can also use the RFID reader as a backup method for entering the building. However, they have the convenience and security of the video intercom for letting in deliveries, guests, and more.
3. Buzzer systems
Door buzzer systems are named after the buzzing sound they make when someone requests access. Visitors press a button on a device at the property’s entrance to request access. From there, tenants can talk to the visitor and open the door for them.
- A buzzer system allows tenants to grant access to visitors and deliveries without physically going to open the door for them.
- Buzzers can save time for building or front desk staff because visitors can request access directly from a tenant.
- Using a buzzer system is intuitive. Visitors have almost certainly used one before.
- Tenants cannot use a buzzer system to let themselves into the building — it’s for visitors only.
- Buzzer systems require extensive wiring, which is expensive to install and maintain.
- Because a buzzer system requires in-unit hardware, many more devices are involved than with a smart video intercom. Maintaining all those devices is a lot of work.
- There is no video calling with a buzzer system, so tenants cannot visually confirm who is on the other end of the call. Also, administrators don’t have access to a video audit trail.
- Tenants must be onsite to grant access because there is no mobile app with remote features.
- Staff will have to update the tenant directory manually onsite instead of through an online portal.
4. Telephone entry systems
Telephone entry systems have been around for over a century. The device operates on a traditional telephone line, allowing visitors to call tenants from outside the property. It requires hardware installed at the entrance and a telephone to receive the calls.
- Tenants can admit visitors when they receive a call on their phone.
- Most telephone entry systems are easy to use, and visitors can call the tenant with the push of a button.
- Calls can be sent to tenants directly, which can save staff time answering the door.
- The system is for visitors only. Tenants need another method of accessing the property, such as an access control system.
- Wiring a phone line is an involved process and expensive to maintain. Installation can require construction and much higher labor costs than a wireless system.
- There is no way to grant recurring access for providers like cleaning staff or delivery couriers who visit regularly.
- The tenant directory must be updated manually, so staff must be onsite to manage the system.
Why a video intercom is the best commercial door entry system
Smart building technology features like touchless offices and remote access are in demand. Commercial keyless entry systems are becoming the standard for most properties, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. And modern video intercom systems offer all these features and capabilities.
A video intercom system is the best commercial door entry system because it’s easy to install, convenient to use, and can be integrated easily with other technology solutions like access control systems and smart locks.
Unlike buzzers and telephone entry systems, everyone who comes to the property can use a video intercom system. Tenants, staff, visitors, and delivery couriers can all gain access through a video intercom.
What to look for when choosing a video intercom for your commercial property:
- Mobile app: One of the essential features of a smart door entry system is the mobile app. This empowers tenants and staff to open doors and control access from their smartphones.
- Remote management: Make sure you can control access and manage the system from anywhere in the world. That way, you can view entry logs, adjust permissions, manage integrations, and add or remove tenants without being onsite.
- Virtual keys for visitors and deliveries: Choose a system that allows tenants and staff to send one-time or recurring virtual keys to guests. With virtual keys, everyone from cleaning staff to business clientele can access the building at approved times.
- Easy installation: Wireless video intercoms are quick and inexpensive to install because there’s no in-unit hardware or wiring. As a result, they are also easier to maintain over time.
ButterflyMX commercial door entry system
ButterflyMX offers a complete access solution that’s perfect for all kinds of commercial buildings, from office complexes to self-storage facilities. The mobile app has thousands of five-star reviews from people all over the country who use it every day to access their buildings.
Installed at your property’s entrance, the ButterflyMX video intercom enables seamless access for tenants, staff, visitors, and delivery carriers alike. And the intercom’s camera takes a picture of every entry event for added security.
To control access to rooms within your commercial building, try ButterflyMX keypads. Install our keypads at any door that needs controlled access, such as amenity spaces, supply closets, and private offices.