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INSIGHTS

Announcing the era of IP-based PA and intercom

Announcing the era of IP-based PA and intercom
For a long time, PA and intercom systems have been based on analog, which has become quite inadequate in fulfilling users’ more complex demands. As a result, like their video and access control counterparts, PA and intercoms are more and more migrating towards IP, which allows many benefits that traditional analog systems otherwise do not bring.

When talking about security systems people tend to focus more on video surveillance or access control. Yet, video only provides the visual of what’s going on. In the event of emergency, providing a live communication channel to instruct people in distress or to allow them to talk back to the control center is also critical. That’s where PA and intercom systems come in.

“CCTV allows you to see what is going on. Access Control allows you to block or allow entry. But often, PA and intercom are forgotten,” said Piet De Vriendt, Commercial Product Manager for Building Security and Public Safety at Zenitel. “As soon as a certain amount of people are gathered in a single place it is almost impossible to inform and direct them without technology. Now imagine there is a crisis going on, it gets even harder. PA and Intercom are an absolute necessity. People rely on you, the chief of security, to assist and direct them if they need help during an emergency.”

For a long time, PA and intercom systems have been based on analog, which has become quite inadequate in fulfilling users’ more complex demands. As a result, like their video and access control counterparts, PA and intercom are more and more migrating towards IP, which allows many benefits that traditional analog systems otherwise do not bring.

One of benefits is the ability to integrate PA and intercom to other security systems. “The functions and the ability of extension of tradition digital PA systems is limited. The compatibility with other new-innovated equipment is poor as well,” said Jerry Hung, VP of BXB Electronics. “However, with IP-based PA system, other equipment can be easily integrated with it. IP-based PA system is already there, and we believe it would be more common.”

Integrating PA and intercom into video, or having them work side-by-side under a higher-level platform such as PSIM, can greatly enhance the user’s situational awareness, giving them the ability to see as well as instruct people or scare intrudes away. “Horn speakers allow our operators to immediately intervene when video analytics alerts us of trespassing at customer sites,” says Lars Kämpe, Business Development Manager at Securitas. “Normally, a trespasser will flee the scene when notified of his detection. This saves cost for our customers due to reduced damages and also no unnecessary callouts.”

Additional benefits

Another benefit of IP is allowing ease of deployment. Specifically, most IP-based PA and intercom equipment are now equipped with PoE, and this spares the installer the need and labor to install extra power cables. “IP-based intercom systems are clearly the future of the technology. By using PoE, networks and cables can be run to the closest building instead of running expensive POTS lines back to a telco closet,” said Bruce Czerwinski, General Sales Manager of Aiphone. “This also allows the units to integrate with other systems such as video surveillance and smartphone apps using geo-locating technology.”

In addition, an IP-based system makes self-diagnostics operations possible. “Network horn speakers allow operators to monitor the connection and status of each unit at all times,” said Håkan Hansson, Product Manager at Axis Communications. “This is not possible with analog speakers. Operators would not be sure an analog speaker is operational at a given time or that its volume or sound quality are sufficient.”



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