As one of the Securitygem’s articles reasonably pointed out, we are all witnessing today the so-called door bell automation - the process of automating your door controlled by Android or iOS devices.
I’m talking here about the Smart Bell or Video Door Phone, if you please, since there is a plethora of names which this device goes by. Just to name a few: IP door phone, IP door bell, IP video based door bell, IP intercom, Door bell camera, WiFi IP Video Door Bell – with some of them referring to a slightly different product concept than another.
The idea of the electronic doorman is not new to the market. Intercoms have been present since 1950s to make consumers’ life easier and safer. With the development of digital communications technology in 1980s, it became possible for the house owners to not only talk, but also see visitors at their door and then make decision whether to grant them access or not.
From the end user’s point of view, there are a few main disadvantages of such devices. One, both analog and digital intercoms are complex hardwired devices that have to be installe
d by a contractor during the initial construction of a building. Two, this solution doesn’t provide mobility. Once the door bell button is pushed, the only option the user has is walking to the indoor phone unit to proceed with the further communication.
These two problems were partially eliminated after the wide application of wireless intercoms that allowed people to communicate via radio waves. Most of these devices work straight out of the box and unlike the traditional analog peer give user freedom of moving around the house or even the back yard. Yet, this technology also brought a lot of complains about the voice quality caused by disturbance created by the nearby electrical equipment and short receiving range. The wireless intercom with portable receiver turned out to be not that mobile after all which brings us to the next step in the doorphone technology.
IP Video Door Phone is a new type of intercom system that came into picture in the past 5-7 years. Following the boom of IP telephony technology development, SIP protocol was applied for the door phones supporting both voice and video transmission.
The main breakthrough and the biggest benefit of the IP solution are right here – the user is capable of answering his door from any location. Doorphones finally evolved to using telephone technology for greeting the arriving visitors, seeing them and even opening the door without even being anywhere around the entrance to our houses.
Yet again, if we take a look at the IP Video Door Phone market, we can see the same thing happening again – the IP solution is hardwired and in most cases requires professional installation. Not only that: most of the IP video intercoms only work with premise based servers that, in its turn, would require some setup procedure. This makes manufacturers and solution providers to team up with the system integrators and installation companies to reach to the end user. Besides, the described on-premise solution is still more attractive for the business use.
Around 2013, it became clear that whole single-family market segment remains uncovered. Lots of houses were built with no preinstalled wiring and lots of private users would like to do the installation on their own without paying extra few hundred bucks to a professional installer.
This is when the concept of the WiFi-enabled video door phone came into picture - the video door camera that communicates with Android or iOS devices and doesn’t require any wiring for installation.