The Crucial Role of Reliable IP Intercom Systems in Emergencies
Camilla Ashdown, 25. 01. 2024 | 5 min read
In the realm of emergency response, every second counts. Yet, a silent threat persists – malfunctioning IP intercom systems and poorly lit setups. Let’s explore the importance of functional and well-maintained emergency intercoms.
The Perils of Inoperable IP Intercoms
Emergency IP intercoms have become indispensable in modern security. In an ideal world, they should leverage the power of IP technology to provide rapid, reliable, and feature-rich communication during critical situations.
Despite this, users of emergency IP intercom systems such as public infrastructure staff (those maintaining highways and tunnels, for example) and other users trying to seek help frequently encounter non-functional intercoms. This results in critical delays and, tragically, may cost lives. So, which steps can you take to ensure that you protect the lives of the people who need to use them in an emergency?
What is an emergency IP intercom?
An emergency IP intercom, also known as an Emergency Voice Communication System (EVCS) or Emergency Intercom System, is a communication device designed for use in emergencies to facilitate quick and effective communication. These systems are commonly used in various environments where users need to be able to reach out to get immediate assistance during emergencies.
Vital questions to ask yourself about your emergency IP intercom
Does it offer reliable two-way communication?
Instantaneous communication thanks to reliable, real-time interaction between users and emergency responders fosters quick and informed decision-making during critical moments. Steps should always be taken to ensure that the intercom is running as it should, including regular performance checks, routine inspections, and prompt repairs.
Our advice is to choose an intercom that makes this easy. An video intercom, which can be maintained online as well as physically, has a host of benefits. Managing the emergency intercom through software such as the 2N® Access Commander (or a third-party security interface) gives personnel complete oversight of the device. They can monitor the intercom thoroughly: everything from call status, audio loop test success, random reboots, and network disconnection are displayed clearly.
IP technology will open up capabilities such as tamper switches that help react swiftly to tampering by sending a notification to the software or triggering a call to security personnel. Automatic audio loop tests are also vital, and good intercoms such as the 2N® IP Safety, for example, can even notify you when the audio test fails allowing you to respond to the issue quickly. 2N also offer comprehensive technical support to aid with the fixing of the device, as well as up to 5 years warranty for extra assurance.
Does it have high-quality communication?
Not only should the audio be reliable, it should also be clear. Clear, full duplex audio is a key part of ensuring high-quality audio transmission, facilitating effective communication in challenging environments. Choose an IP intercom that operates over reliable, high-quality VoIP technology which will ensure no crackling or feedback and can pick up voices clearly - even in loud environments.
Emergency intercoms are often used in extremely noisy environments such as tunnels and highways where intelligibility and high speaker volume are essential. Choose an intercom such as the 2N® IP Safety or 2N® IP Force with a powerful 10W speaker and two microphones that eliminate background noise and ensure full duplex communication in these environments.
Certain models of emergency video intercoms also boast video support, providing visual confirmation for heightened situational awareness and security as well as the chance to visually monitor the area when needed. The camera can also serve as a visual log for looking back on emergencies or security incidents in cases where investigations are necessary.
Can it be easily integrated with security systems and other technology?
If the intercom does not feature a camera within it, make sure it can be easily integrated with another IP camera. Those made by Axis, a world leader in IP security cameras, are your best choice for high-quality, durable cameras.
Any good SOS or emergency IP intercom should be able to integrate effortlessly with other security devices and systems, including IP phones, surveillance cameras, alarms, and PBX. Creating a unified and comprehensive security infrastructure means you’ll strengthen your overall security strategy by creating a system that collaborates seamlessly and can even be managed efficiently within one interface.
The 2N® IP Safety is built on open protocols (SIPS, RTSP, ONVIF, HTTPS), meaning it can be integrated effectively with most leading security platforms – helping with the online monitoring of the device through third-party security interfaces, as mentioned earlier.
It can also be used not only as an intercom for SOS communication but also to play audio alerts – allowing you to increase the reach of emergency notifications by integrating it as a high-quality audio speaker.
Is it easily identifiable, and is the area clearly lit?
It may seem obvious, but in often confusing and chaotic emergencies, the emergency IP intercom should be clearly identified as such. Choose one in a bright, eye-catching design that has very clear and easy-to-use buttons or nameplates that are resistant to fading or erasure. Every second counts, and ensuring the user is pressing the correct button to connect with the right person will help immensely in emergencies.
The 2N® IP Safety was designed in a bright orange design for exactly this reason. No one can mistake this intercom for anything other than what it is (an SOS intercom), and the durable backlit buttons on the device ensure complete ease of use.
Adequate illumination is also fundamental to enhancing the visibility of the IP intercom, particularly during nighttime emergencies or in poorly lit areas. Well-lit systems not only contribute to the overall security of a building or area but also ensure that emergency responders can quickly locate and operate the intercom if needed.
Is it durable and weather-resistant?
A key factor in the unreliability of devices is their inability to withstand harsh environments and damage. Your IP intercom should be able to withstand challenging environmental conditions and guarantee optimal functionality in all weather conditions.
It should also be highly resistant to vandalism and other damage.
The 2N® IP Safety offers IP69K and IK10 grade extreme endurance: meaning that it’s resistant to dust and dirt, and even if you install it in an area subject to -40-degree frost, 50-degree heat, or extreme rainfall, it will continue to function reliably.
Overall, it’s clear that emergency video intercoms represent a critical investment in the safety and security of both public and private spaces. By understanding their features, implementing proper setup procedures, exploring common use cases, and adhering to best practices, organizations can ensure the effectiveness of these systems no matter the emergency.