Looking for a new intercom system for business or office? We have put together a comparison of best business intercom systems. This guide provides all the buying considerations and comparisons for office intercom systems.
We will cover:
- Criteria for choosing the best intercom system for your office and business
- Comparison of The best office intercom systems, their features, pricing, pros, and cons
- Jump to Best video intercom systems for office and business
If you are looking for a residential intercom system, visit our 2020 Guide to Buying an Intercom Systems for Apartment Buildings and our comparison of Best Video Intercom Systems for Apartments.
How Does a Door Intercom System Work?
The complex definition: Intercom systems are two-way communication electronic devices that contain circuitry for the purpose of transmitting and receiving audio and/or video transmissions.
The basic definition: An intercom system is a way to communicate with someone in another office or location using voice or video calls.
Now, let’s get to the important part and figure out which intercom system is the best one for you.
What Should You Consider Before Buying an Intercom System?
Intercom systems help solve a lot of issues around safety, security, productivity, access control, and visitor management for high-rise residential, multi-tenant commercial buildings, and offices. But there are a lot of features, functions, and considerations to consider before deciding which intercom system is the right solution. Do you need access control built-in to your video intercom system? Is face recognition a priority? Is visitor management important? The following checklist details what questions you should be thinking about before buying an intercom system.
Do I need a doorbell feature?
The simplest solution is to just buy a battery powered doorbell, however it’s operationally very cumbersome, since you have to walk to the door everytime it buzzes, which is a huge pain point.
Do I need an audio component?
If you want to be able to perform audio calls to visitors, then you need to make sure your intercom has an audio component that allows for two-way calling.
Do I need a video component?
A video intercom component is necessary if you want to be able to visually verify who is at the front door and perform two-way video calls.
Do I need built-in access control with an intercom system?
The best intercom systems integrate seamlessly with touchless access control by utilizing face recognition and mobile app unlock. This comprehensive solution enables modern access that securely authorizes visitors, tenants, and employees.
Do I need weatherproofing on my intercom system?
Depending on where you’re located and if inclimate weather is a reality, ensuring weatherproofing is a must if you want to install an intercom station outdoors.
Do I need to scale the intercom system to multiple sites and locations?
The number of channels you need will depend upon the number of locations or offices you need to connect
Do I need automatic door unlock and access control with video intercom?
Automatic door unlock capabilities allow remote unlock from anywhere and can be extremely useful for managing visitors, vendors, janitorial services, and more without needing face-to-face interactions.
Do I need remote visitor management?
Remote functionality will allow you to pick up calls and grant access from anywhere using just a mobile phone, browser, or desktop cloud-based dashboard.
How many admins do I need?
Do you need to be able to assign multiple admins and easily update administrator permissions? Cloud-based video intercom systems will allow for easy, streamlined admin controls and permissions.
How much does hardware cost?
It’s important to identify budgets up front because intercom systems and the corresponding hardware can range from affordable to expensive — and expensive doesn’t always mean better. Some intercom systems will require upfront costs to buy hardware, and other options will allow leasing for a determined and agreed upon contract.
Do I need one-way or two-way video?
Video intercom systems can offer one-way or two-way video capabilities that allow for secure visual verification of all visitors and anyone requesting access at the front door.
Do I need a wired or wireless intercom system?
If you need reliable connectivity and minimal interruptions, Ethernet wired solutions are ideal. If you’re okay with intermittent disconnect and video issues, then a completely wireless system will work.
Learn more about Swiftlane Video Intercom
Swiftlane Video Intercom System provides secure visitor management solutions for commercial and high-rise residential buildings.
Best Office & Business Intercom Systems
Now that you’ve asked yourself important questions about what you need in an intercom system, let’s compare the main players in the intercom systems market.
Top 5 Intercom Systems Comparison
Key Features Comparison
The following matrix gives a side by side comparison of the top 5 intercom companies and their features. Read on below for the full review of each company.
The following graphic shows a high-level pricing comparison between the top intercom companies.
Swiftlane Office Intercom
Starts at $1,200
Swiftlane’s hardwired IP intercom system is an integral part of its latest office automation suite that includes:
- Two-way video intercom calling
- Great for offices, multi tenant commercial and residential buildings
- 7MP high resolution camera
- 1080p adaptive high resolution
- Audio only call option
- Video only call option
- Comes with door controllers with door unlock for upto 4 doors, including vestibule style entrances
- Unlock doors from anywhere using the app
- Use touchless face recognition access, critical for COVID-19 safety. Built with strong privacy controls and SOC II certification
- Slick design and hardware with a built in touch screen
- Reliable Ethernet based connectivity
- Unlike most products that work only inside a building, pick up calls from anywhere, using the Swiftlane app
- Receptionists can receive calls through the web browser interface
- Setup multiple admins for picking up calls, in case one person in busy
- Support for multiple tenants
- Cost Effective than most business intercom systems
- Includes access for users via Face Unlock and Mobile App
- HD PoE and IP Video Intercom
- Integration with visitor management systems like Envoy to provide link based access
- Cloud hosted system—provides instant and ubiquitous connectivity with zero down time.
- Monitor the front door, make announcements, and connect via mobile phones.
- Provides automatic or remote touchless unlock for individual doors.
- Works with other cloud based management and security apps such as OKTA, Azure AD, Envoy VMS, G Suite, and more
- A comprehensive video intercom system
- Built-in mobile and face recognition access control
- Touchless entry solutions for a post-COVID world
- Easily scaled from a standalone video doorbell to a multi-tenant, multi-site enterprise video intercom system
- Entry photo logs are automatically and securely stored in the cloud
- Saves money by eliminating the need to buy access control separately
- Ethernet provides better quality and security, but you’ll need to lay down cables if your facility doesn’t have Ethernet networking installed. Luckily, most offices and multi-tenant buildings already have ethernet wires since it’s the most common format of wiring in buildings.
- More expensive than single doorbells like Nest or Ring, that do not have built in wired support for unlocking doors.
Where to buy
Contact sales to get a quote for installing Swiftlane intercom
Swiftlane’s system’s interoperability as video intercom, face recognition, mobile and legacy access control makes it a great choice for residential and commercial buildings as well as offices of all shapes and sizes. Swiftlane is well-suited for enterprises and small and medium businesses that want more security, flexibility, and future readiness from their office intercom systems.
The face recognition feature is optional. The video intercom works as a standalone system, thanks to its wired architecture. Even micro businesses can use it as a video doorbell and remote unlock system. Strong privacy controls built for data, with SOC II certification, secure transfer and storage of data.
Aiphone Intercoms for Business
Aiphone is one of the most respected brands of security communication systems. They have an extensive range of intercoms and related products. The product lineup includes peer-to-peer IP intercoms, hardwired intercoms with IP capability, multi-tenant intercoms, app capable video intercoms, emergency intercoms, intercom doorbells, and more.
The price of different Aiphone intercom models varies widely and will depend on the products you select.
- The IXG Series comes with PoE stations, cloud-based app, remote updates, built-in HID reader, touchscreen entrance panels, and a system capacity of 9999 including physical stations, gateways, and lift control adaptors.
- The peer-to-peer IX Series intercom system has a capacity of 5000+ door stations and 5000+ master stations.
- SIP 2.0 compliant and allows integration with Cisco Unified Call Manager.
- Comes with master-to-master video conferencing, an IX mobile app, 3rd party IP camera, VMS and NVR integration, door release capability, custom sounds and chime schedule, call transfers, virtual receptionist, and many other unique features.
- The GT Series: These are multi tenant video entry systems that can comprise up to 480 entrance stations, 5000 tenant stations, and 96 video guard stations.
- Door stations have a digital directory or individual call buttons for different apartments.
- Built-in PTZ cameras that can be monitored from the guard station.
- The guard station can receive and forward calls to tenants and offer an additional layer of security and privacy.
- Remote network-based or onsite NFC based directory revisions.
- Ability to connect multiple sites over the same network for centralized security.
- The AI Series is a hardwired and network based solution for entry security, internal communication, rescue assistance, paging, and bell/chime scheduling. It can support a staggering 5120 door stations, 5120 master stations and 30720 sub stations.
- The JP Series is a touchscreen video intercom for room to room communication in smaller offices.
- The JO Series is a video doorbell with mobile app capability, similar to Doorbird.
- Ability to connect multi-building complexes
- Can support thousands of door stations, master stations, and substations
- Extremely reliable hardware
- Virtually unlimited choices of models and features for small and large buildings
- Door chime, paging, chime paging, and guard station features
- Only the IXG, IX and JO Series are cloud based and offer a mobile app for management
- Most Aiphone models are network based local systems that can only be managed from inside the building
- Need for onsite monitoring and maintenance
- No Aiphone models support facial recognition
- Touchless mobile unlock is not available in most models
- No COVID safety features available
Best intercom system for: large campuses, multi-building communities, high-rise residential
Aiphone intercoms are robust devices with all the features a traditional building may need. Aiphone is being used at large campuses, multi-building communities, high-rises, and other large scale facilities.
2N Telekomunikace is a European manufacturer headquartered in Prague. The company has a sound global reputation for building tough and resilient analog, IP and LTE intercom systems, access control systems, elevator systems, and telecommunications products.
2N has a wide range of models and the price will vary depending on the components you select. The main unit of 2N IP Verso with camera is available with 2N dealers for a price of $995. You still need to buy the keypad module (~$696), Bluetooth (~$440), RFID (~$582) and other modules that your facility requires.
- The Company has introduced modular intercom systems, which allow users to build the perfect intercom for their needs by selecting from 14 different modules.
- Top of the line 2N IP Verso has a touchscreen keypad, address book, fingerprint reader, and Bluetooth
- SIP support available.
- Ethernet port built in.
- Entry methods include RFID, Bluetooth, touchpad, and fingerprint reader.
- 2N devices can be bulk-managed through the 2N Access Commander. It’s a browser interface that allows:
- Access control configuration
- Device management and monitoring
- Multiple site control
- Time and attendance management
- Visitor card management, and more
- Can retrofit with legacy systems such as RFID card readers and fingerprint scanners
- Work perfectly with the modern smartphone access control system
- Built-in night vision camera
- Free onsite configuration support
- Easy to install and start using. No need for a local network or cables
- Centralized multi device management through a web interface
- Video resolution is 640×480
- No facial recognition feature
- No mobile proximity unlock. Users needs to touch the Bluetooth reader with their elbow for a hands-free unlock
- The voice and video quality of IP intercom can be affected by electromagnetic or RF interference
- No COVID safety features are available.
- Touchscreen, fingerprint and keypad entry may be considered unsafe after COVID-19
Best intercom system for: large commercial buildings and high-rise residential
2N has a wide range of models and is suitable for most commercial and residential buildings. The modular design gives the system a lot of flexibility. But the users need to select and assemble the modules they need.
DKS, also known as Doorking, is one of the oldest American providers of residential access control and telephone entry systems. Its most popular product is a building entry intercom system that allows visitors to speak to any of the residents using regular telephone lines. Residents can remotely unlock one or several doors after speaking to the visitor.
The price of different models depends on the number of lines and other available features such as directory names, entry codes, expansion, PC programmability, etc. According to Doorking’s price schedule effective Feb. 3, 2020, the price of a single 27-line Telephone Entry Station Model 1802 AP is $2,022 for surface mount and $2,050 for flush mount. Model 1833, which stores up to 3000 phone numbers but no PC programmability, is priced at $3,576. This doesn’t include the price of locking hardware, accessories, and installation.
- Installs on regular telephone lines
- Can be programmed through a PC with Doorking’s application
- Digital keypads for calling residents
- Residents can unlock doors by pressing telephone buttons
- Proximity, RFID and Doorking MIFARE card readers available
- Electric and magnetic locks
- Microplus transmitters and receivers for distant operation
- Mobile app allows users to manage the system from anywhere
- Connects with mobile phones via DKS Cellular Connection Box
- DKS also provides warning signs, traffic signals, control stations, heater kits, slide gate accessories and more
- Simple and robust system
- No wiring required if you already have telephone lines installed
- LTE calling and mobile access control available through DKS Connection Box
- Mobile app unlock available through the SmartOpen Android app
- Doorking only offers telephone intercoms not video intercoms.
- Many Doorking models can only dial phone numbers, but do not support video or VOIP based intercom through apps
- No cloud connectivity. Multiple devices cannot be managed centrally.
- Telephone intercoms are being replaced by IP and PoE systems.
- No facial recognition feature
- No COVID safety features such as health checks or capacity planning
- Contact based entry systems (keypads) can spread germs and make people feel uncomfortable during COVID-19
Best intercom system for: business or commercial
DKS Doorking has been the leader in residential telephone intercom systems, but the company is facing increased competition from new IP and PoE based wireless video intercom systems. DKS may not be the best intercom system for modern residential buildings because it lacks cloud connectivity and cannot be managed remotely.
Doorbird is a German-built video intercom doorbell that can be answered from anywhere in the world. Doorbird simply replaces the traditional doorbell with an IP based door video intercom. You’ll get notified on your phone when a visitor presses the doorbell. You can speak with the visitor and tell them, for instance, when you’ll be back or where to drop the deliveries.
Depending on the products you choose, a single DoorBird will cost between $1,500 to $4,500. There are no charges for the automatic cloud storage of entry photo logs.
- Easy install to connect the intercom to WiFi for secure video calling from your phone.
- Built-in connectors for traditional door chime, Ethernet, electric door strike, and door opener button
- Unlock the front door and garage door from Doorbird mobile app
- Sends photo records of visitors to the cloud from where they can be accessed through the app
- 4D Motion Sensor. RFID. API. PoE. SIP. IP65. Infrared Night-Vision. Bank-level encryption.
- Each video doorbell can connect with up to 8 iOS or Android phones or tablets
- Different models are available for multi-tenant buildings with 4 to 18 and up to 100 units
- Multiple form factors: 5.98 x 2.56 x 1.26 inches; 10.08 x 10.13 x 1.92 inches; 15.83 x 6.14 x 1.92 inches and 6.77 x 3.35 x 1.26 inches. Door stations are available in beautiful brushed and polished stainless steel and brass finishes.
- Answer the doorbell via smartphones and talk to visitors via video calling
- Works on eight devices simultaneously
- Integrates with all popular home automation systems
- Ultra sharp, 180-210 degree ultra wide angle HD image, straightened and without black fish eye edges
- Aesthetically designed, durable, and high-quality video doorbell
- Open API and extensive integration options. It can work with NVR, VMS, NAS, RFID, and the widest range of smart locks and smart home systems.
- Door lock relay built into the intercom. This poses a security risk should the intercom device be removed and reconnected as it will unlock the door.
- Base models only offer 720p HD resolution
- Some Doorbird doorbells have door relays in the intercom. If someone forcefully takes out the Doorbird intercom and connects those relays, you can trigger a door unlock. Typically, more intercom devices avoid this by having a separate device on the secure side of the building that triggers door unlock.
- No cloud based remote management available for access control at multi-tenant commercial or residential buildings
- Face recognition and COVID safety features not available
- No built-in SIP or PBX connectivity, can only send push notifications to non-IP phones
- The models for multi-tenant residences and buildings have a large form factor and may require a huge space for installation
- Camera lens should be at a minimum height of 57 inches, compared to the ADA compliance height of maximum 48 inches
- Free cloud recording is available in VGA only for the 50 most recent visitors and motion events. You need to pay $53 per year to buy 7 days of 720 HD cloud recording.
Best intercom system for: Startups, homes, and small offices
Doorbird is an innovative and convenient video doorbell designed for single family residences as well as multi-tenant buildings with up to 100 units. Startups and micro businesses may still use Doorbird as a basic video intercom and access control system for small offices. It’s also a good system for multi-tenant buildings with up to 100 units, except for the fact that common-touch surfaces have become a health risk after COVID-19.
Latch is a U.S. based innovator that started with locks and has evolved into a video intercom and access control system. The system is focused on large residential buildings and property management. It is positioned as a complete building system and contains hardware, software and services to make buildings better for everyone.
The visitor entry intercom is priced at $2,999, and you need to buy an external camera for video. Latch charges $2 monthly per unit as software fee. Pricing may vary by number of units and contract length.
- Latch intercom system connects via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or LTE
- Residents can choose how their name is displayed on screen and whether or not to share their video and photo
- Invisible keypad lights up only when touched
- Visitors can scroll through the list of apartments and connect to the resident via tactile buttons
- Doors can be unlocked by a key, a passcode, or remotely through a smartphone
- The system allows for temporary codes for guests, delivery people and cleaning crews.
- Beautiful door lock that even has a keyhole if you want to enter the old fashioned way
- Each smart door lock comes with a built-in camera for image capturing during entry
- Optional property management features including Ecobee climate control, Leviton smart light switches, and Sonos sound based access
- Integrated intercom, access control, and building management system
- Receive audio calls at any U.S. phone number
- Eliminates the need for buying additional hardware and software
- Restrict video streaming and choose custom display names
- Allow and share access for cleanings, laundry, and chores directly through the Latch App
- Multiple entry methods including mobile app, NFC, passcodes, and the good old metallic key
- Comes with optional energy saving tools, visitor access, deliveries, and sound-based access
- Built-in camera with every door, and entry photos are synced to the cloud
- Innovative door lock design
- Door lock relay built into the intercom. This poses a security risk should the intercom device be removed and reconnected as it will unlock the door.
- External camera required for video calling
- Does not mention support for key card system
- No health check or remote screening tools available for compliance with CDC/OSHA COVID safety guidelines
- The intercom page does not mention support for PIN based unlock. It’s unclear whether one-time use pins for delivery can be granted ahead of time
- The website does not mention if multiple admins can be assigned for a unit or commercial tenant
- Property managers know when tenants leave or enter their apartment, which might be a concern with privacy conscious users
- The intercom is a part of the Latch full-building solution, which requires a two-year service contract
- Face recognition is not available
- Powering using PoE would require POE+ with 55W+ power. Just POE enabled switches do not support that much power from a single output, so you would need to make sure you use a POE Switch that supports 55W on a single port
Best intercom system for: small and large residential buildings
Latch is a great system for small and large buildings, particularly multi-family apartments. Latch intercom integrates with Latch front door devices and software, so users need to buy the complete system to use the intercom for access control.
The New York based manufacturer positions its intercoms devices as “smart video intercoms.” These systems are available in various dimensions, including 7- or 11.6-inch wall-mount video intercom stations with touchscreen displays.
ButterflyMX hardware costs from $3,650 to $6,150 depending on the tablet size and design. The software is priced based on the number of units, starting at $750/yr for residential. Commercial pricing is based on the number of employees and starts at $2,400/year, based on pricing available in Sept 2020.
- Support for multiple tenants directory
- Pin based access for residents
- Provides smartphone door unlock including mobile app and touchless swipe unlock
- Issuing QR codes for visitor access
- Remotely unlock via mobile app after visually verifying and talking to the visitor
- The app records door release logs along with photos
- Elevator integration via intercom hardware or the mobile app
- Systems are available in 7-, 11.6-, or 21-inch wall-mount video intercom stations with touchscreen displays
- Butterfly MX outdoor units connect to the network via a Cat 5e/Cat6 network connection
- Powered via a 18/2 AWG wire running from the intercom to a transformer, connected to a UPS and Wall outlet
- Separate UPS suggested for reliable power connection
- Dedicated network connection suggested for higher internet connection reliability
- Modern intercom offering with many types of features combined into one: video intercom, visitor temporary access via QR code, PIN based access, and others
- Detailed installation guides on the website
- The intercom is very easy to install and starts working as soon as plugged in
- The simple interface makes it a great choice for tenants and property managers
- All basic features including remote unlock, automatic touchless unlock, entry logs, and video calling are available
- The company lists customer’s across multifamily, commercial offices, student housing and other industries
- A minimum of 7.5-inch width surface is required to install Butterfly’s smallest 7-inch Surface model, which not be available at all entry points where intercom / access control is required
- No facial recognition access control option
Butterfly products provide modern solutions , including video intercom, pin unlock, and QR codes for guests. Modern access control and intercom systems can help future proof of your investment. A $3,600+ hardware price, plus install cost might not fit the budget for some customers. A minimum 7-inch width for install might not work for the space available at all your entrances.
How Do Intercom Systems Increase Office Safety and Security?
Intercom systems are being used at corporate offices, commercial buildings, hospitals, schools, retail outlets, airports, warehouses, and many other facilities. There are many benefits to installing an intercom system, but thanks to the pandemic, one of the biggest reasons is to increase workplace safety and security by implementing touchless solutions. Here’s how offices and workplaces are using modern intercom systems.
1. Quick Interoffice Communications
Interoffice communication (or intercom) systems are the best way to speak to anyone in the office instantly.
2. Make General or Emergency Announcements
Intercom systems can be joined with public address systems to send out informational or emergency announcements, such as at airports or healthcare facilities.
3. Ramp Up Security and Surveillance
Video intercom systems that come with speakers and microphones can be used to complement video surveillance systems at certain facilities. The security team can make a cautionary announcement after observing a person entering a prohibited area, such as a section of the building that has been closed because of fire or infection risk.
4. Reach People on Mobile
High-end intercom systems can integrate with iOS and Android devices and allow the caller to speak to a person even when they’re not in the office.
5. Control Access to Certain Areas
Intercom systems provide a simple but reliable form of remote access control when you don’t want to issue key cards to employees or tenants. A person can remotely unlock the door from inside the building or from anywhere if an Ethernet based or wireless IP video intercom is being used, after speaking to the visitor or after visual verification.
6. Grant Access for Janitorial or Deliveries
Cleaning services or deliveries may arrive at odd hours. IP intercoms allow security teams to unlock doors remotely from anywhere and allow entry without having to come to office. Modern cloud-based facial recognition video intercom and bluetooth access control systems (such as Swiftlane) can be programmed to allow automatic scheduled access to visitors.
7. Integration With Electronic Locks
Sometimes the intercom is integrated with a keypad that automatically unlocks the door after an authorized person enters their personal identification number or PIN. However, use of common touch surfaces including office entry keypads should be avoided in post-COVID-19 workplaces.
8. Integration With Touchless Access Control
Swiftlane’s face-recognition based touchless access control systems come with video intercom systems built in and can provide a safer way to enter offices. The door automatically unlocks to grant access when the face credentials of a visitor match authorized credentials. When the user is not registered on the face recognition database, they can simply speak to the front desk via video intercom and can be allowed to enter the office.
Swiftlane Integrated Video Intercom
Learn how Swiftlane Video Intercom will enable a modern, touchless access control experience for your workplace, office, and commercial building.
Where to Buy the Best Intercom Systems for Offices
Amazon may be the first destination for many startups and small businesses that think their intercommunication needs are limited to one-on-one voice calls. One can find plenty of wireless intercom systems there, with prices starting from as low as $50 per station. Some of these intercoms offer secure encrypted communications, can support 20 channels, and have ranges up to 4 miles.
But, if you’re looking to buy a more feature-rich and powerful wired or IP video intercom system for a modern workplace, you may need to buy directly from the manufacturer or their dealers. Source Security has put together a list of intercom system manufacturers providing hardware and services in America and the rest of the world. Security and Facility teams can find the contact info of hundreds of companies on this portal.
If you’re still deciding how to choose the best intercom system for your home or business needs, reach out and our team of specialists will help guide you in selecting the best solution.