When it comes to intercoms one may wonder why a model that becomes a big hit in one country isn’t even considered in another part of the world.
In creating this series on door phones in different countries we travel around the globe to see what solutions people prefer at their doors and understand the specifics and preferences in different countries. Please check our article about Taiwan.
You’ll be seeing a lot of residential intercoms, door phones, doorbells and such with all of them having one thing in common – they all are responsible for two-way audio and (or) video communication between the home owner and a visitor through the closed door.
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Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world located in northern Central Asia. The climate is continental, with warm summers and cold winters, and sometimes with pretty heavy but short rain storms and barely unbearable heat.
After visiting two cities – Almaty and Pavlodar – the “at-the-door” pattern becomes pretty clear.
The bedroom districts of the cities are mainly represented by the concrete-paneled apartment buildings or “Khrushchyovkas”, as they are also called. These houses, three to five or later nine stories high, were developed in the USSR to provide masses with low-cost apartments. They were constructed from the end of 1950s until mid 1980s.
Until approximately 10 years ago most of these houses had wooden doors as their main entrance that was open day and night even during the turbulent 1990s. The situation changed in 2000s with the population wealth’s growth and, as a result, with the rising offer from intercom vendors.
The average five-story high Khrushchyovka has four blocks of flats and four entrances not interconnected with each other.
Today, all the entrances in panel houses look like this: metal door that can only be unlocked by the residents of this particular block of flats.
Some entrances have intercoms that are operated by simply dialing the apartment number and then letter “B” to initiate the call. In other blocks of flats, the unlucky visitor will bump into the cold metal door with no intercom. It must be said that the intercoms are only installed in the blocks where all the residents unanimously agreed to invest money in purchasing and installing the device.
What impressed me the most after long live in Taiwan is the fact that there are no hundreds of outdoor cameras to see and record your every move. Because of that, it was very odd to walk among single-family houses or “private sector” as it’s also called in Kazakhstan.
The private sector can be found at the outskirts of the cities and towns, as well as right in their center. Looking at the private sector, most of the foreigners will probably think that they suddenly came into Russian village due to the peculiar look of the houses.
The fact is these houses were mainly constructed as temporary over 60 years ago during the Virgin Lands Campaign (some of them still don’t have water supply). The Campaign has long ceased to exist but the houses still live, probably because even the temporary dwelling in the USSR was of high quality and was meant to last for centuries.
The at-the-door solutions here can be divided into three types. In some houses the door is equipped with a simple doorbell button covered by handmade weatherproof hoods; in others, you won’t find any “calling” solution at all.