tenant uses ip video door phone to answer a call

A building entry system is essential for managing any property. But choosing a system can be challenging. If you’re considering installing an IP video door phone, first familiarize yourself with these systems and potential alternatives to decide whether a door phone is right for your building.

Keep reading to learn more about traditional door phones, IP video door phone systems, and other building entry systems with video capabilities.

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What is an IP video door phone?

An IP video door phone is a device that enables tenants to answer calls from guests at a building’s front door and unlock the door for them remotely, all using the internet. IP door phones use the internet protocol to transmit audio and video data between devices.

An IP video door phone system consists of:

  • In-unit door phones: The door phone itself is the device installed within each tenant’s unit. Tenants use the door phone to answer visitors’ calls and remotely unlock the door.
  • Base station: The base station is the device installed at the building’s entrance. Visitors use it to call a tenant and request access.
  • Door release mechanism: Every door phone system needs a door release mechanism to enable remote access. When a tenant presses the ‘door open’ button on their in-unit device, the system unlocks the door.


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How does an IP video door phone work?

Until recently, an IP video door phone wouldn’t be possible. But, thanks to modern technology, entry phone systems can now include both video and wireless internet functionality. An IP door phone operates over the internet and is therefore wireless. That means you’ll save money installing the system, as you won’t have to tear down walls to lay wiring.

Here’s how to use an IP video phone intercom:

  • For staff: Having a door phone system at your property means that your staff will also need to learn how to manage it. With some IP systems, they can log onto an online dashboard to update access permissions. However, other systems require on-site management.
  • For visitors: The door phone is easy to use for visitors as long as the tenant directory is up-to-date. Visitors look up the tenant on the device at the entrance and place a call to the tenant (or the building’s front desk if available). As long as the tenant is home to answer the call, the visitor can be let in remotely.
  • For tenants: When tenants are expecting a visitor or delivery, they need to stay near the door phone device in their unit. With an IP video door phone, the tenant receives a video call from the front entrance and presses a button on the device to unlock the door remotely.


in unit ip video door phone hardware


IP video door phones vs. other video entry systems

Traditionally, a door phone system involves installing a device at the property’s entrance as well as door phone devices in every apartment unit throughout the building. However, these systems involve a lot of expensive wiring because the device at the entrance has to be connected to all the door phones throughout the building. And even if you choose a wireless video door phone system, you’ll still have to spend time and money installing and maintaining all the in-unit hardware.

Luckily, there are better types of video entry systems available. To save time and money while enhancing convenience for tenants, we recommend choosing a smartphone-based video entry system instead of a video door phone.


How is a smartphone-based system different?

Modern IP video intercoms replace the in-unit door phone hardware with a mobile app that tenants download on their smartphones. This is not only less expensive for you to install but also more convenient for tenants.

With a smartphone-based video intercom, tenants receive calls to their personal smartphones so they no longer have to be in the unit to receive calls. That means no more missed visitors or deliveries because tenants can manage access from anywhere.


delivery courier uses ip video door phone


Choosing the best IP door entry system for your property

Investing in the right entry system for your property will make access easier and more secure for tenants, staff, and guests. And whether you’re replacing an old doorbell phone system or selecting one for new development, you’re better off choosing an IP video intercom with a mobile app instead.

IP video intercoms offer a wide range of features that traditional video door phones can’t compete with. Through the power of the internet, IP video intercoms enable two-way video calls with high-quality audio and visuals that are better than any in-unit device. So, not only do you save money on installation costs with fewer devices, but the experience is also more secure and convenient.

Beyond wireless installation, benefits of an IP video intercom system include:

  1. Manage access with a smartphone
  2. Cloud-based management
  3. Software integrations


1. Manage access with a smartphone

Video intercoms that call a tenant’s smartphone directly are the best alternative to an old-fashioned door phone. Not only is the hardware at the front entrance wireless, but there is also no need to spend valuable resources installing and maintaining in-unit hardware. Tenants receive a video call directly to their phone from guests at the front door.

As a result, tenants don’t even have to be in the building to grant access. This means no more lost packages or confused visitors because tenants can remotely let them into the building.


2. Cloud-based management

With modern IP intercoms, you can manage access from anywhere, on any device. So, even if a staff member or tenant isn’t in the building, they can still seamlessly manage the tenant directory, update access permissions, and open the door for guests. Cloud-based video intercoms are a time-saving and cost-cutting asset to your property that will improve the access experience for visitors, tenants, and even property staff.

Benefits of cloud-based intercoms include:

  • Convenient tenant building access: With a cloud-based intercom system, tenants can answer video calls from anywhere to grant guests remote entry into the building. Not only does that make it easier than ever to let in deliveries, dog walkers, and more; it also means they can open the door for themselves using just a smartphone.
  • Convenient and effective security: The cloud has revolutionized property access and security. With a cloud-based system, managing keys is a thing of the past. Systems that use virtual keys are more secure because you can limit access to a specific time frame, unlike a key that can be used 24/7. Also, investing in a door intercom with a camera means everyone can see exactly who they’re letting into the building.
  • Remote management: Traditional door phone systems take up valuable building storage space and require staff to go onsite to make updates. Even if you get extra software for remote management, there’s the added complexity of downloading that software onto devices and adding multiple admins.


IP video intercoms are the best alternatives to video door phones


3. Software integrations

There are many disadvantages to old-fashioned door phones. One of the biggest, however, is a lack of integrations with other technology throughout the property. With an IP video intercom, your door entry system can also communicate with smart lights, locks, temperature controls, and more. These integrations make day-to-day operations more convenient for tenants and staff.

Software integrations can also make managing tenants easier. When your intercom system integrates with your property management software, the tenant directory syncs with your rent roll and updates automatically. That way, your staff doesn’t need to manually update tenant information as they move in and out.



An IP video door phone is a step up from a traditional, audio-only door phone system. But for the best access experience, go with a smartphone-based IP video intercom instead. IP video intercoms improve building security, property access, and the tenant experience all with one device installed at the front entrance.

When you’re ready to upgrade to an IP video intercom, consider ButterflyMX. 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 wireless video intercom on the market today.


Ready to ditch you door phone? Try ButterflyMX.

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Jeff Granger

I'm a native Texan and tech guru who is fascinated by technology's impact on the real estate industry.