Aiphone’s Question of the Week

Aiphone offers security communication systems providing versatile solutions for a range of industries. Our wide variety of reliable, high-quality products offers comprehensive security solutions for virtually any security needlarge or small.  


As leaders in our industry, it is our privilege to bring you perspectives and considerations from our pool of knowledgeable experts around topics related to technology, security, and business. Each week we will post new and timely answers to relevant topics. 

Question of the Week: What does secure/security mean to you? What defines security?


Author: Paul Hefty, Technical Sales & Support Engineer II

AWhat is security? Security is peace of mind. It is being aware of your surroundings and knowing everything is as it should be. To maintain this, we lock up our buildings and yards. We install cameras and alarms so to stay alert for intruders. To allow access for our coworkers, friends, delivery people, andcustomers we do business withwe install video intercoms. The video intercom allows us to securely identify who is at the door and determine their intentions.  While having a secure location is important and provides peace of mind, it is also important to know when the pizza is delivered.







Author: Norbert Artur, Aiphone Corporation, Director of Sales Canada

A: Security for me is the ability to provide peace of mind to occupants in any type of environment: residential, educational, commercial, institutional, and more. It is the means we must provide everyone using a facility a way to feel secure and to conduct their activities without having to worry about the safety of their environment. In today’s world, having proper layers of security is paramount for the wellbeing of all. For me, what defines security is the ability to stop or deter crimes and to provide a safe environment for the occupants.





Author: Luke Romero, Regional Sales Representative Northwest

A: A place in which you have added total peace of mind and protection beyond your own senses, to detect and react to a concerning or dangerous event. 









Question of the Week: What are common security gaps that need attention? 


Author: Luke Romero, Regional Sales Representative Northwest

A: A common security gap is the ability to give someone temporary access to a building door, apartment, or residence for a designated period of timeProviding temporary access for a dog walker, house sitter, or delivery service is often requested to be time and date based, so even if you forget to remove access, the system will do it for you. Right now, while we can add access codes and give them out, this creates a huge security breach because those codes are permanent and will continue to work unless they are manually changedConstantly updating system can be inconvenient to owners and might include added fees (varies with their service contract)


Assigning temporary access is something I am constantly be asked for in mixed-use and multitenant buildings. 




Author: Cody Graves, Regional Sales Representative, South Carolina, North Carolina

A: An all too common, but rarely addressed, security gap is clean system design or lack thereof. 


Offhand this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but poor cable management, port labeling, hidden power supplies etc. can cause an enduser to leave malfunctioning or non-functioning system components untended resulting in a major security gap.  


Many endusers have partiallyfunctioning systems with cameras, card readers, intercoms, and other devices not working as intended. These go unrepaired because of the confusion regarding where the malfunction leads back to, where the power supply resides, or where to even begin troubleshooting. 

This issue is more common with analog devices. 

PoE IP devices can mitigate this challenge. All PoE stations cable back to a central switching location and can be pinged through the network to detect a malfunction. Without a power supply, and an infinite number of cable-pathways to search through, the process of troubleshooting malfunction is streamlined. 


Whether it be access control, video surveillance, or monitored entry via a video intercom device, IP options are available and will often lead to a more robust and easier system to service with fewer security gaps. 



Author: Clark Landguth, Inside Sales & Support Manager

A: One common security gap is glass entryways that don’t control who comes in. Just because you can see who’s at the front door, do you really want to keep it unlocked or openEven a simple audioonly intercom solution with door release is a safer approach.







Question of the Week: What is the best approach to upgrading an existing intercom system? All or nothing?
How old is too old 
to upgrade?



Author: Luke Romero, Regional Sales Representative Northwest

A: I always start with the type of application, system, and wire being used. This will help determine the best system for their needs. If they need to reuse the cable,  our choices are limited at that point. If they plan to repull, then I would recommend the best current system for the application. 


Reusing existing equipment is always a possibility, but budget and customer needs will be paramount on the direction at that point. If the product is discontinued,  we must start completely fresh with wire and product. However, even with older equipment, a lot of times we can reuse the cable and save much of the cost by just installing new equipment. 




Author: Karlis Praulins, Regional Sales Manager Provinces covered: Ontario (Except Ottawa) and Nunavut Territory

A: The best approach I am finding here locally in the Toronto / GTA market is upgrading existing intercom systems in a “phased” approach. Phase 1 would be upgrading all the back-endequipment to IP using 2wire convertors or running new cable. This will allow the customer to use an existing cable or equipment that can still be used in the field. Phase 2 would be upgrading the devices out in the field. This could be  replacing an analog device with another analog device or putting in a new IP video intercom device, that has unique calling features or mobile app capability to help cut down on security guards. The phased approach to upgrading really relieves the “stickershock” to the customer and helps develop a longterm relationship.




Author: Sean Gaffey, Senior Sales Representative GA

A: Preferably, a site survey helps to confirm exactly what they currently have,and I note what the customer wants to improve. Often they want to improve everything, as they are updating from an audio only to a video intercom. I usually recommend updating to an IP system, like our IX Series, as this system can always be added to,and may avoid complete system replacement in the future. I then ask if they have a relationship with a security contractor. Sometimes they want recommendations, which I provide along with bill of material recommendations.






Question of the Week: What’s the benefit of using an IP intercom over analog? 



Author: John Hemp, Director of Sales Mid-Atlantic and New England

A: There are multiple benefits to using IP over analog, and there are one or two benefits to going with analog in certain situations. 

Deploying an IP solution allows for scalability and future growth. 
Ialso makes integrating with other IP security platforms possible. Most would agree that in 2020, intercoms fall squarely into the electronic security industry. They are not just for roomtoroom communication in residences anymore. We are seeing the value of VMS, ACS, EMS, and even MNS integration from a software perspective grow year over year. Corporations, colleges, government agencies, and healthcare groups are using electronic security and visitor management systems to not only protect their assets and employees, but to help curb potential liability issues, and reduce the expenses of manpower and headcount. Understanding how these systems integrate and add value and profit to an overall business model for any organization is paramountand working with IP solutions is a necessity to achieve those results.


Although on average an IP product is more expensive than an analog product, and on the surface may seem like a drawback, the total project cost including installation is often reduced. This cost reduction is due to the amount of labor hours required to run wires and the use of specialty tools such as lifts and scaffolding required for analog installations. The use of mobile apps and WiFi connections further reduces the amount of time and materials needed to deploy many IP solutions, and simultaneously allows for more customization for the end userThis opens up more RMR revenue streams for integrators who can now offer offsite management services and support contracts.


There are still a few situations where an analog solution may be preferred over an IP solution though. One application that comes up semi-regularly is in the healthcare and government markets. Ultra-secure network applications such as a SCIF or highlevel classified access rooms may find it more valuable to go with a system that is not hackable and is not tied to a switch or network anywhere. It reduces the risk of sensitive information such as patient records being accessed by unwanted parties, or doors to certain areas being opened by unauthorized individuals. Although creating VLANs and firewalls are sufficient for most applications today, there are some organizations that will prefer an analog system as an added protection against outside security breaches. 



Author: Paul Hefty, Technical Sales & Support Engineer II

A: There are several factors that make using an IP intercom more advantages than using an analog intercom. The biggest of those factors is that you can install an IP intercom anywhere. While an analog system is limited to a specific distance on a specific wire, IP intercoms can be installed anywhere. We have had IP intercoms installed in the middle of the forest protecting logging equipment allowing remote monitoring in the city by using a network satellite feed.  We have connected buildings using wireless mesh networks without having to trench cable between buildings. We have connected remote offices together around the world. All this is possible because we no longer need to worry about wire distance, if we can get a PoE network connection, we’re good. Other factors such as integrating with third-party VMS providers, or tying into SIP systems, are just icing on the cake.




Q: Question of the Week: How do hardware improvements drive better physical security?

Author: Norbert Artur

A:  Hardware improvements are as important as the physical security devices in a building, if the hardware is not efficient/durable then it could jeopardize the whole security solution. Improving the hardware around physical security increases the performance and reliability of the install, less vulnerability to failure and less down time.



Author: Marty Schutt

A:  Hardware improvements drive better physical security in several ways. In today’s high-tech world, hardware is the most important piece of the puzzle.  Everyone thinks that software is the driving factor, but let’s face facts—if the hardware that the software is interfacing with is inferior, it does not matter how good your software is.  A fine example is camera quality. 1 HD cameras can do the job of several old analog cameras.  Have you ever seen crime shows where they show camera footage from a crime scene using an old camera and VCR tape?  Now, with hardware improvements, you can not only see there is a person in the frame, but you can see the knife or gun they are holding in their hand.  This would not be possible without the first line of defense is a good solid piece of hardware.


With good hardware, software possibilities are endless.  Remember the adage garbage in—garbage out. This applies to hardware across the board.  Whether you are running a high-end physical security system or just trying to open a door, if the doorknob doesn’t work, nothing else really matters.  Hardware improvements are the cornerstone of any security system.


In today’s climate with Protests, COVID-19 and crime on the rise, physical security has become more of a priority than ever before.  The hardware deployed is being pushed to its limits.  Software developers are working feverishly to come up with solutions utilizing old hardware and running into roadblocks due to the limitations of cheap or outdated hardware.  The hardware is the origin of everything whether it is a simple sensor, switch, or keypad. If your hardware is old or inferior, so is your solution.


There is a psychological factor to hardware as well.  New cutting-edge hardware sends a message to everyone—the customer in your facility and the criminal.  The customer sees the hardware and feels confident and comfortable doing business at your location.  The criminal, on the other hand, sees your new hardware and knows you are taking security seriously and will look for a softer target.  Bottom line—don’t skimp on hardware whether you’re purchasing it or designing it. You can’t build a better mousetrap without good hardware.


See our contribution to the Security Informed Expert Roundtable here.