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Intercom Systems Offer Flexible, Creative Uses

Jun 4, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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Requirements and Features

The Teracom intercom system uses a data infrastructure wiring topology with Cat-5 or Cat-6 cable. "There is no need for a homerun to each speaker back to the head end like in traditional systems. For our system, the speakers can be wired to an IDF closet, thus saving on cabling costs," Parmenter says.

An IDF, or Intermediate Distribution Frame, closet consists of local data networking equipment that services a specific area, like a particular hallway or series of classrooms.

According to Parmenter, Teradon provides the PC that runs Teracom. The complete system is built and tested at the factory. "The contractor simply connects the Teracom to the speaker infrastructure," he says. "And it is a Windows-based system so it utilizes what people already know."

Features include automatic daylight savings time adjustment, the ability to pre-record announcements, remote access and monitoring, and the ability to make calls from a telephone or master handset. System time is also set automatically from the Internet, so there is never a synchronization issue. "If there is a 2-hour weather delay in the morning, the principal can access the system from home via the Internet to change the bell schedule. No need for someone to be onsite to make that change," Parmenter says. "Teradon dealer can also use remote diagnostics to assist schools when there is a problem."

Advanced features include integration with other systems such as flood sensors, fire alarms, or installed camera systems. "If a flood sensor is triggered in a school's boiler room, Teracom can play a tone or recording to notify staff as well as activate a contact closure for the pump," Parmenter says. "Or, if a break-in triggers a motion detector camera, a prerecorded voice can notify the intruder that the police have been called and the system can activate a contact closure that locks the doors or dials the police."

Similar to IT architecture, the system allows three different login levels, ranging from a basic user who manages the bell schedule to administrator and certified administrator who can access more technical settings. The system works with 25V or 70V speaker system, and it requires no extra maintenance except for basic computer maintenance. "Intercom systems bring flexibility and creativity to the schools, as well as create a safe environment for the kids," Parmenter says. "The applications are limitless."

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