The Perils of Inoperable Apartment Intercom Systems


 Camilla Ashdown, 28. 02. 2024 | 5 min read

Modern apartment intercom systems should ensure rapid, reliable communication in everyday life and emergencies. Despite this, ambulance crews and other users trying to navigate buildings in emergencies frequently encounter non-functional intercoms. So how can you ensure these systems function as they should and protect lives?

ip intercom


What are apartment intercom systems, and how are they used in emergencies?

An apartment intercom system usually comprises an IP intercom and some form of answering device such as an indoor station or a mobile phone with a home access app installed.

The IP intercom is a communication device designed to facilitate quick and effective communication for apartment entry. It will unlock the door when prompted and can also do some clever stuff such as display notifications, allow for entrance monitoring (if it has a camera), and play audio announcements.

Intercoms become more than a way of unlocking doors or speaking to guests when an emergency occurs. It becomes a key tool in facilitating swift emergency action, and the dangers of it not working are more serious than residents simply not being able to enter the front door.

Common uses of apartment intercom systems in emergencies include:

  • Medical Emergencies: Apartment intercom systems enable medical responders to enter apartment buildings and make their way to the person who called them for help
  • Fire Emergencies: In apartment buildings, IP intercoms can be handy for communication during fire emergencies. They allow for the quick dissemination of evacuation instructions – certain intercoms can display or announce instructions - and coordination between emergency responders and residents.
  • Security Incidents: During security incidents or breaches, apartment intercom systems can enable quick communication to alert occupants and coordinate responses.

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What are the dangers of non-functional apartment intercom systems?

Imagine a large apartment building at night, without a doorman, and with everything closed – how can the paramedic access the building if the intercom doesn’t work? If the IP intercom works, but the name is missing, who does the paramedic ring? How will they get in contact with the person that called them? 

As you can see, functioning apartment intercom systems are vital in ensuring effective emergency response. Here’s what commonly goes wrong:

Poor functionality

Sadly, intercoms that are simply not working are a common concern for ambulance crews. These issues make it difficult for responders to identify the person who rang for help who, in many cases, is in a life-threatening situation and is unable to come to the door themselves.

How can you ensure absolute reliability? You can start by choosing a provider who prioritizes reliability and quality. Invest in a high-quality IP intercom that is durable and designed for long-term use. Quality components are less likely to malfunction, providing a more reliable communication system.

2N’s range of IP intercoms are not only premium devices with durable construction and high weather resistance, but they also come with an extended warranty and great technical support should something go wrong. 

The 2N® IP Style is impressively durable: it has the ratings of IP65 and IK08, so you can be sure it stands the test of time. It’s also been extensively tested by our development team to ensure it performs optimally – even in demanding weather conditions and with repeated use in busy environments.

Ensuring the reliability of an apartment intercom system also involves several key steps:

  • Regular Maintenance

Conduct routine checks and maintenance on the system. Ensure that all components, including speakers, microphones, and wiring, are in optimal condition. Address any issues promptly to prevent potential failures.

  • Regular Testing

Conduct regular testing of the apartment intercom system to identify and address any potential issues before they become critical. Test both audio and video functionalities to ensure clear communication in various scenarios.

  • Secure Network Connection

If the apartment intercom system relies on an IP network, ensure a secure and stable network connection. Implement security measures to prevent unauthorised access and disruptions to the communication system.

  • Monitoring

Implement remote monitoring features to track the apartment intercom system’s performance. This can help identify patterns of issues and proactively address potential failures.

  • Vendor Support and Updates

Choose a reputable vendor for the apartment intercom system and stay updated with firmware/software releases. Regularly apply updates and patches to enhance system performance and security. The 2N OS allows you to not only update firmware from a functional perspective or for cybersecurity measures but also to add new features that will allow you to cater to growing market demands.

Unidentifiable nameplates

Every second counts in emergencies, so something as seemingly trivial as a faded nameplate can cause emergency responders to lose precious minutes and could also cost the lives of the people they rescue.

Maintaining paper nameplates is not always the most practical option – the best way to ensure clarity is to choose an IP intercom with a touchscreen phonebook. 

The 2N® IP Style and the 2N® IP Verso 2.0 are both such intercoms – both include high-quality, durable screens that display the names of apartment residents in HD resolution. The 2N® IP Style is a great option as it performs perfectly even in heavy rain thanks to its ability to identify, and ignore, raindrops. You can even use it when wearing gloves!

Light it up!

Lastly, don’t neglect lighting. Well-lit apartment intercom systems are key to ensuring clarity. Of course, a touchscreen intercom with a backlit HD display will always ensure that emergency responders can see who they are calling, but you should also make sure there is sufficient lighting around the IP intercom itself to ensure they can identify the intercom in the first place.

Overall, there are many steps you can take to ensure that emergencies don’t turn into tragedies. The value of apartment intercom systems in these situations can be overlooked. Investing in quality and reliability will not only ensure the best features and communication for your residents, but it may just help to protect their lives when emergencies occur.