About Intercom

An intercom (intercommunication system) is a standalone, closed-circuit system for one-way "simplex" and/or two-way "duplex" communication. The general purpose of a professional intercom system is to facilitate simple to complex communication setups for a few to thousands of users who need to be continuously on talk and/or listen mode. Two-way communication systems can operate in half-duplex or full-duplex. With half-duplex systems, one party talks while the other party listens. With full-duplex systems, both parties can talk and listen at the same time as if they are in a natural conversation in person.

Users, who have different roles in a particular operation, can be in a conference or partyline together. Or they can be sub-divided into a matrix of independent groups in any one or many private intercom channels. In addition to establishing communication points, intercom can also interface with third-party devices such as 2-way radios, 4-wire audio, telephone, TV cameras, AES3 digital audio, relay control (for signal light activation or door control), etc. Coordinating activities via voice or through third-party devices such as relay controls require low-latency (delays measured in milliseconds).

The core technology of an intercom system could be based on one of the following platforms: 2-wire/analog, 4-wire/digital, wireless, and IP networks. The decision to deploy one platform over the other will greatly depend on requirements, environment and budget. These intercom platforms operate independently or can be integrated to form a larger system in order to address specific unique communication workflow needs. Moreover, intercom systems can be bridged together with different communication systems as part of a multi-platform solution.

In certain applications, intercom systems need to be geographically distributed to support the various communication positions in a given workflow. Therefore, they can be connected over 2-wire or 4-wire; MADI for close-distance connections such as floor-to-floor; optical fiber for short to long distances within a building; E1/T1 for inner-city connections; and IP networks (LAN, WAN, or Internet) for connections across a wide area, across town, and across the country.