A recent client of ours is building a home in Brentwood and is having a Smarthome system installed. This property is terraced and has a pedestrian gate that is a flight of stairs away from the home itself (which is at a lower elevation). As such, the homeowners had a pretty critical need for an intercom at the pedestrian gate with the ability to remotely unlock the door so they didn’t have to walk up to the gate each time they had a visitor. In the past, this type of intercom install would be handled with brands like DoorKing or Viking. However, those brands can be very expensive and require an active analog phone connection which many homeowners no longer have. Like many, these homeowners have seen the slick advertisements for video intercom systems like Ring, Skybell, Vuebell etc. which claim to have prevented many thefts and allow smartphone viewing of their visitors. However, there is one key feature that all these Video doorbells are missing– the ability to activate a strike release to remotely open a gate or door.
Now, it is true that some of the video intercom systems listed above can interact with a Z-wave controlled lock for a standard wood door to remotely open it. However, what about a rod-iron outdoor gate with a commercial latching mechanism that exists in many pedestrian gates? What about a Mortise lock on a metal and glass front door? In addition to being a bit unsightly, many of these Z-wave locks simply will not work for doors and gates that are going into new homes these days. So is there a solution out there that will give you the smart phone flexibility you want but still offer the old school automation of door-strike release? There is in fact, and it comes in the form of the Doorbird Video intercom.
For the purposes of this article, we are only going to compare the Ring to the Doorbird, but the other lesser known video intercoms to the Ring have almost identical features and also lack the same key feature we are discussing today.
The Doorbird is a Video intercom at its core just like many others. It has an HD video camera on it which can remotely stream to your Smartphone. It has a motion sensor on it which can send you a push notification when it senses motion in the area. It has the ability to have a wired or wireless connection to the network. The Ring Pro (Ring has two models) has all these equivalent features. However, there is where the similarity ends.
The Doorbird has a dry contact on board which can be used to fire a door-strike relay, flash some interior lights on and off, or engage in other old-school automation (predicted contact closure on a device can be useful for all sorts of automation routines). None of the Ring skus have this feature. Thus with the Doorbird Video intercom, you get that missing door-strike feature and still get all the usual video intercom features common among other product offerings.
However, the Doorbird has a lot more to offer over the Ring than just the dry contact. The Doorbird has the ability to sound a traditional wired doorbell chime circuit in a home. The Ring only has wireless chimes which often interfere with existing Wi-fi access points in your home– slowing down your Wi-fi. When someone pushes the button on these smartphone based intercom systems, a small push notification sound on your smartphone. However, what if you are giving your child a bath and charging your phone in the other room? What if you are at work with your phone and your housekeeper is at the house waiting for a plumber to come for a service call. How will the housekeeper know there is someone at the front door when your phone is with you? Standard doorbell chimes can be easily heard throughout the home, mitigating many of these logistical issues. And finally, what if you have a smart home system installed in your home and want to activate lights, TVs, shades, in-ceiling speakers and other connected devices when someone pushes the button on the video intercom? After all, that’s a pretty standard feature when the old-school Viking or Doorking intercom systems are installed. The Ring cannot integrate with these smart home systems currently, however the Doorbird can. The Doorbird can even send a live video stream to many 3rd party automation touchscreens, maximizing their usefulness.
In our clients case, we designed a multiple video intercom system using two Doorbird video intercoms (one for the pedestrian gate and one for the front door). If a visitor pushed the call button on either intercom, the hardwired doorbell chime system already installed in the home would ring, alerting them of visitors. The husband traveled a lot, so the two cameras on the video intercoms allowed him to make sure that whoever he let in the gate from his smartphone made it to the front door. The wife was not comfortable enough with the smartphone app to use it to release the gate door-strike however, so we added an additional push button in the kitchen for her to manually release the door-strike on her own.
We hope you have found this information useful. If you have any questions about the solution we presented to these clients or video intercom questions in general we would be happy to answer them for you. Just give us a call at 855-832-4775 or find us on the web at www.technospeakco.com. Have another Smarthome question you want answered instead? We can help with that as well. Just give us a call at 855-832-4775 and ask away.
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