The intercom technology has gone through an evolution over the decades, changing from simple voice communication between the resident and the visitor to video systems where the resident can get a visual of who is on the outside. With the intercom migrating to IP, the user can do even more with it, for example seeing who is at the door and opening the door for them, all remotely via their mobile app.
One company that has leveraged this trend is ButterflyMX, a U.S.-based startup company that displayed at ISC West this year its smartphone video intercom platform for multi-tenant buildings. The solution is quite intuitive and easy to use. A visitor shows up and calls the resident through the front door panel. A push notification will then be delivered to the resident’s smartphone, alerting them that someone is at the door. They can see who the visitor is and then open the door by swiping across their smartphone – even if they are not inside the building. There is also a telephone backup feature so that residents without smartphones can still receive a phone call via the front entrance touch screen.
What makes ButterflyMX’s solution unique is that it was designed around the needs of three primary stakeholders: the developer, the property manager, and the resident. For developers, the solution offers a low-cost and easy-to-install option. According to the company, the system runs on four connections: the Internet, door release, power, and an optional phone connection, rendering unnecessary the high installation cost, which can go anywhere from US$650 and up per key due to the costly wiring upgrades. The front door panel is also easily customizable to the building logo, location, and building contact information.
For property managers, the solution is integrated with the building’s property management system at the database level to allow automatic updates to the intercom, thus reducing data entry errors and expediting processing time for new tenants. Meanwhile, the building manager can take control of all building intercom features via a web browser.
For residents, they can enjoy other features of the intercom besides the aforementioned ones. They can for example send to guests or service personnel virtual keys that activate or expire as set by the resident. Each time the virtual key is used a record and a photo stamp are made for the resident’s future reference. If they are not at the house and a visitor shows up, the visitor can record a voice message at the front door panel, and it will subsequently be sent to the resident’s smartphone app.
Indeed, at a time when users demand greater mobility in their intercoms, vendors are scrambling to roll out solutions that meet the users’ needs. Solutions like ButterflyMX’s system that combine intercoms with the user’s smartphone are therefore expected to become more popular and prevalent in the future.