Camera, Sound, Action on the Network

Digital Audio and Your Security System

Integrating IP Video and Audio
Integrating IP Video and Audio

Just like old-time movies had no sound, the first surveillance cameras were just video.  Adding sound to the movies provided that additional feeling of reality to their entertainment.  Adding sound to security systems increased our safety.  The sound provided better clues about what we were seeing. For example, if we saw two people together, we would react differently if we heard laughing or yelling. 

Audio technology provides a flexible enhancement to security. From speakers attached to cameras to paging systems and apartment intercoms, this article reviews the integration of audio into a security system.

What Audio Specs are Important?

When we add audio to a security system, some specifications are more important than others. Here are the more important specifications for IP paging and Intercoms.

Watts per Channel

IP speakers attached to the network or a camera and use amplifiers to provide enough sound volume in a specific area. The sound level is related to the type of speaker, the amplifier’s wattage, and is measured in dB.

What is the right sound level? It depends on the size of the room (area) and the background noise. For example, normal conversation is between 58 dB and 65dB.  The threshold for pain and hearing damage is about 130 dB.  We want to select sound levels that are between these extremes and hopefully above the background noise. The optimal volume is the point where everyone hears the page.

An 8-watt amplifier can provide about 109 dB of sound. This is about the sound level of a screaming child. If we use a 40-watt amplifier, we get a slight sound increase (around 117 dB). You may not be able to tell the difference between these sound levels, but your ears will still hurt.  To learn more about the right sound level read our article, What is the Right Sound Level for Your Paging Speakers?

Sound Frequency Range

The frequency range of the sound determines if we can hear the bass drum or maybe the violin. Audiophiles would like to hear sound between 20 and 20,000Hz, but in reality, most people can’t hear frequencies above 15KHz. The human auditory system is most sensitive to frequencies between 2,000 and 5,000Hz.

Cameras that Detect Gunshots and Screaming

Several IP cameras include built-in microphones that can detect loud noises. The camera includes specialized intelligence that identifies the sound and then alerts the security monitoring person. The security person can be alerted by a message, email, or text message on their computer or smartphone. 

Intercoms Attached to Cameras

IP camera systems are the new standard for CCTV. The technology not only provides high-definition color, but we can also add microphones and speakers to the cameras.

The intercom includes the audio processing and amplification and the call button that alerts the user that someone is at the door.

A special interface is used to make it easy to connect an intercom to a camera. The interface connects to a network connection that includes PoE. The power is distributed to the intercom and the IP camera using network cables, making the installation easy.  To learn more, please read Intercoms for IP Camera Systems and Door Access Control

Intercom Attached to Camera
Intercom Attached to Camera

Intercoms and Access Control

Intercoms can be used in an office to control visitors and are an excellent addition to an access control system.  There is a relay inside the IP intercom that can be used to control the electric lock. It can also be wired to the access controller. Either way, the intercom can override the access control system to allow a visitor to enter.

Intercom Controls the Door
Intercom Controls the Door

An IP camera can be added to this system. This allows you to see the person you are talking to and check if more than one person is waiting at the door.  To learn more, please read our article, Access Control Enhanced With Intercoms.

Apartment Intercoms

Android tablets with a microphone, speaker, and a built-in camera provide a video intercom for a multi-tenant building. The apartment intercom is a device that includes a touchscreen that allows the user to select the person they want to contact.

The IP intercom panel provides wireless audio and video communication to the tenant’s smartphone or wired phone. In addition, it includes a door relay that can release the electric lock at the door. These intercoms are used by any organization that has multiple tenants.

You can learn more about the Apartment Intercom by reading our article.

Apartment Intercom
Apartment Intercom

Emergency Notification

Whether there’s a fire or a lockdown, the PA over IP paging system distributes the message across your enterprise.

Emergency Buttons

Emergency alert buttons can be placed at various parts of the facility and connected to your IP security system. This means you can provide different responses depending on the location. You can also have unique buttons for specific emergencies. For example, you can respond to a fire or establish a lockdown depending on the button pushed.

To learn more about using buttons, read our article, Automated Emergency Notifications and Response.

Mass Notification

Sophisticated software is available that can notify everyone in your organization about an emergency. The IP-PACast is a state-of-the-art system that includes advanced software and hardware. It includes everything you need when everyone must get the critical message. This powerful communication system integrates many different platforms such as mobile and on-premises devices to ensure everyone gets the message.  To learn more about mass emergency notification, please read Mass Emergency Notification Product Comparison.

IP Cameras Provide Automated Audio Announcements.

Intelligent IP cameras provide pre-recorded audio messages that can be played automatically. In addition, the cameras have built-in “if-then” logic that allows you to determine when the audio will be broadcast.

For example, If the camera detects motion, or a person crossing a virtual line, the camera can say, “Please leave. You are entering a restricted area!” To learn more, go to Automated Audio Playback On Event.

IP Audio and Security Summary

Audio has become an essential part of security systems. Intercoms attach to IP cameras or directly to the network. The paging message can be delivered from a computer or your smartphone, providing increased safety in emergencies. In addition, automated announcements, emergency notifications, and apartment intercoms provide increased safety and security.


For help selecting your IP audio system, contact us at 800-431-1658 in the USA, or 914-944-3425 everywhere else, or use our contact form.