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Video Door-Phones or Video Intercoms are used in condominiums as security devices to communicate from the Concierge or the Lobby to individual households to announce visitors or to pass on messages. Tenants can also call to the Concierge or Admin with requests. These also have the capability for residents to communicate which each other, though this feature is not commonly activated. Wireless intercom systems are normally used in houses or villas and but not used in large buildings. A more affordable audio-only system allows two-way communication but does not include video.

In the West, main doors are often unmanned and the tenants communicate directly with visitors and can remotely unlock the main door. But in the Philippines, all buildings have a concierge or guard in the lobby to control visitors and guide them to the intercom system if it exists. Normally, the visitor is greeted by the concierge who lets the visitor into the lobby and either allows the visitor to call, or the concierge calls on his behalf via a lobby phone. The concierge can then allow the visitor in if the tenant is available.

In the Philippines, the Lobby Phone is normally located on a wall or mounted on a pedestal at the front desk, while the concierge phone is called a guard phone. The tenant will have a video wall unit or wall pad located inside the condo to communicate with the guard or visitor. While audio is two way, normally the guard or visitor cannot view the tenant. The communication set up is full-duplex, which means both ends of the system can talk and hear each other at the same time.

If there is a locked door to prevent walk-ins, it will be controlled by the concierge and the maglock door will open. A maglock door is installed with a magnetic lock and operated from inside the building to lift the latch and clear the way for the visitor.

While tenants can view visitors and communicate with the Concierge, Guard and Admin, their video intercom can also display CCTV camera views in certain parts of the building. They can thus see visitors as they come up and once they approach the door of the tenant, there is normally a video doorbell connected to the video wall pad in the unit that allows the tenant to view the visitor and then unlock the door. Digital door locks can be integrated into the system, allowing the tenant to unlock the door remotely.

Today advanced video intercoms integrate Smart Building features, such as control by smartphone, control of lights and curtains; and as mentioned earlier, remote door lock control, and remote viewing of CCTV cameras in the lobby, elevator, swimming pool, children’s play area, or other public spaces in the building. Images should be sharp and the wall panel should have an emergency panic button in case of fire, medical emergency or intruder.

Intercom pricing is based on quality, features. and where they are manufactured. The more high-end and quality video intercom systems typically come from Korea, Japan or Europe. Aiphone Intercom from Japan is the oldest brand and very popular around the world, but it remains very expensive while Korean or European brands have the same or better features and are much more affordable.

HMR Solutions is one of the top building communication system installers in the Philippines and represents the top brands of video and audio intercoms in Korea: Commax Ltd., Kocom Ltd., and Samsung SDS. We also are a partner for Hikvision video intercoms.

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