Upgrading a two-wire analog intercom to a conventional IP video system typically involves messy and costly rewiring work. So what happens if you want to install over 500 IP systems into a single building?
“If someone rang the bell at the side entrance, it wouldn’t always ring in my apartment upstairs,” says the chairman of the condo council, who lives at the RiverGate condominium in River Valley, Singapore. “Visitors often had to call me to let them in, and I would have to travel down 20 floors to the main entrance. It became incredibly frustrating.”
The resident’s story is typical of millions of residents across Asia, where high rise living is the norm. In Singapore, the first condominiums were built back in the 1960s, to tackle the challenge of high population density and soaring land costs. Today, high-rise living in Singapore is not only necessary but highly desirable, with many condominiums offering swimming pools, spas, sky-gardens and a host of other deluxe facilities at exclusive locations across the island.
Nevertheless, even the most luxurious apartment blocks are wrangling with aging access control systems. Many systems only work intermittently, while all but the newest builds feature intercoms that use outdated two-wire analog cabling. “The intercoms in Asia’s condos are crying out for an upgrade to IP, but the infrastructure just doesn’t support it,” says Daniel, Engineering Director at Serron Technology.
The dream: IP video
Making the move to IP intercom systems is a logical step, as it would offer a host of benefits to Asia’s high rise residents. First of all, IP systems are video-based and can work with HD cameras, giving homeowners crystal clear images of who is at the door potentially dozens of floors below. What’s more, they also typically link to an app, so residents can see and interact with the person at the door – even when they’re not in the apartment. “Video IP systems are much more functional, more future-proof, and incredibly reliable,” adds Daniel.
The problem is, most of today’s IP intercom systems typically need to replace wire for an internet connection – and that means an upgrade to the building itself. “To upgrade to an IP system across a whole condo… that’s a massive job,” Daniel confirms. “Chasing out walls and replacing wiring is disruptive, messy and time-consuming. Plus it’s expensive, and management companies would have no choice but to pass this cost on to residents.”
Two wires? No problem
Although it may seem like an impossible problem, one company – Hikvision
– has provided an excellent solution. As its product name suggests, the company’s Two Wire IP Video Intercom System
is purpose-built to work over existing two-wire cabling, so that two wires supply power and transmit voice, video and control signals at the same time.
At the heart of the Hikvision two-wire system is the Two-Wire
Video/Audio Distributor (DS-KAD706). It’s this intelligent box that makes the two-wire solution possible by consolidating power and internet connectivity, enabling it to be distributed out to the external door video stations and the indoor video units.
HD video in action
At Singapore’s luxurious RiverGate complex, the management team was so impressed with the potential of the Hikvision two-wire solution that they have already installed it into the condominium.
Each of the 545 apartments within RiverGate has a Hikvision Intercom Indoor station (DS-KH6320-WTE2) featuring a video screen, while each of the entrances to the building has a Video Intercom Door Station (DS-KD8102-V) featuring an HD camera. If someone calls an apartment via a door station downstairs, it rings the appropriate indoor screen. The resident can see the visitor and have a conversation with them, before letting them in with a simple tap of the screen.
The RiverGate central management offices also have the Hikvision Video Intercom Master Station (DS-KM8301), to monitor the building perimeter and control entry. Plus the complex has installed a number of Hikvision’s Waterproof and Vandal-proof Card Readers (DS-K1104M), to ensure that only authorized individuals can move around the building.
What’s more, by downloading the HikConnect app, residents can be alerted to a visitor when they’re away from the video unit, or when they’re out of the premises entirely. The app offers the same functionality as the video screen – allowing residents to see visitors, speak to them, and even choose to let them into the building.
Reliable, functional, innovative
The benefits of the new Hikvision system are far-reaching. From a building management perspective, the ability to use the existing two-wire system has kept installation costs to a minimum.
“Hikvision’s Two Wire Video Intercom System is a market-leading product, and ideal for retrofitting and modernizing large residential and office building projects. Across Asia, there are thousands of high rise buildings whose access control systems desperately need upgrading. This sleek system provides a cost-effective and elegant IP-based solution – one that’s ideal for high end residential or commercial environments – for minimal cost and disruption.” Jacky Xie, the project manager at Hikvision is very optimistic about the potential of the two-wire solution.
And of course, it’s had a huge impact on RiverGate’s residents, “The new intercom does more than the old system. I particularly like the functionality of mobile app – I can use my phone to let visitors come in even when I don’t have access to the indoor device, like when I’m not at home or using the bathroom.”
“It’s also such a relief to have an access control system that works reliably. I love it; it’s more convenient, it’s really easy to use, and I feel safer.”