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As society has become more technologically proficient, the use of video has exploded in almost every area of life.  Now that we can watch television on our phones and iPads, watch marketing and how-to videos on almost every business website and spend hours on YouTube devouring video content, we expect video to be available in almost every walk of life.

This thirst for video society-wide has contributed greatly to the explosion in the use of video intercoms in access control and visitor management applications as well.

CellGate was the first company to provide video intercom capabilities over a cellular network when they launched their first Watchman single family product in 2016.  They released a multi-family Watchman product with video intercom capabilities the following year, and today there are a total of 7 Watchman models in production with that functionality.

Why have video intercoms systems surged in demand?  Besides the commonality of seeing video practically everywhere, there are unique benefits to video intercoms compared to older access control technology that previously only offered digital keypads or telephone entry, and required hard-wired telephone lines.

Some of the benefits of video intercoms in access control include:

  • Increased Security. Seeing a visitor via a video intercom as they request entry to a property means you can see their face, clothing and possibly even their vehicle before deciding to grant them access.  If anything about their appearance makes you uneasy, you can choose not to let them in.  This was not an option with access control solutions that only utilized keypads or telephone entry.
  • Deters Crime. When people with nefarious plans see an access control system with video intercom capabilities, it acts as a deterrent because criminals generally do not want to be caught on video or in photos.
  • Access the System from a Smart Phone or Web Browser. Video intercoms like those in CellGate’s Watchman systems allow you to grant entry, open or close a gate, take photos of activity at the gate and check photos of previous access attempts – all from the CellGate app or on a web browser via CellGate’s administrative portal called TrueCloud.  This adds tremendous flexibility that was unavailable with most wired access control systems that did not have video intercom capabilities.
  • See Who Comes & Goes and When, with Photos of Access Attempts. A video intercom system like CellGate’s Watchman line provides live streaming video of visitors and takes and stores photos of access attempts.  This allows you to see who came and went, and when.  If something goes missing or an entry point is damaged, you can check all the historical logs of activity at that location to help identify the culprit.
  • Can Be Integrated with External Cameras. With CellGate’s Watchman video intercom access control products, up to 3 external cameras can be added for additional views of an entrance.  These cameras support pixel activated video stored on the SD card within the camera, including a 6-second pre-record.  The external cameras that can be paired with Watchman video intercom systems can also be controlled by the CellGate app and TrueCloud portal.  These additional external cameras allow for a broader area to be covered visually by photos and/or video and more information about who came and went.
  • Adds to the Appeal of a Property. Homeowners, residents of multi-family properties and commercial businesses love properties with modern amenities.  Adding a video intercom access control system adds to the property value and increases resident/tenant satisfaction.
  • Comes with Additional Convenient Features. A video intercom access control system improves visitor management, helps manage access to regular service providers like yard and pool crews, and product delivery management for residents/tenants– all features that property owners want to make as simple yet secure as possible.  Some video intercom systems, including all of CellGate’s Watchman multi-family models can provide QR codes for visitor management, allowing property managers or even residents the ability to issue a QR code for entry access during a specific day and time window.

It is clear that the popularity of video applications is here to stay – and that video intercom systems like those in CellGate’s Watchman line add tremendous value and peace of mind to those who install such systems.