Supercharging intercoms as part of your commercial security setup

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Supercharging intercoms as part of your commercial security setupI get a lot of questions about intercoms and what can be done with them as part of a robust commercial security system. Most companies secure the entrances and gates to their facility. Intercoms provide a balance between security and accessibility for visitors. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of confusion around intercoms. Including intercoms in your security setup is valuable, but you have to start with the end goal in mind. If you start down the wrong path, you may not get exactly what you want, or it might not be as easy to implement and use as you had hoped.

Intercom Options

Let’s break down your intercom options so that you can “start with the end in mind”.

First, you need to think about the door or gate where an intercom will be installed.

How much space is available for mounting? Sometimes, you may only have a thin mullion to mount to, or you might have a height restriction on a gate pedestal.

Second, will you need to have hardware options for the guest to use like calling security vs Human Resources or others?

Supercharging intercoms as part of your commercial security setupDo you need a directory listing so the visitor can call the host like what you would typically see in an apartment building? Most people want a camera on the intercom so they can see the guests, but some intercoms exist without a camera as well. The most commonly used intercom options are 1 button, 5 buttons, or a directory. Less commonly used options are a keypad, Bluetooth reader, and an induction loop.

The next thing to think about is how you want to answer the intercom.

This one is a little more in-depth but can be broken down into four options. You can mix and match as needed:

  1. Answer the intercom at a fixed location like a reception desk. You can have multiple fixed locations where an answering station like a 2N Indoor touch or a desk video phone can be placed.
  2. Answer the intercom with a mobile device. You can allow your people to roam and still be able to answer the intercom or even answer when away from the office. This is done through a mobile application or a softphone. The only thing required is network or internet access for the intercom and answering devices.
  3. Answer in an application you are already using. Several video management systems allow intercom interaction through their interface. Milestone, Genetec, and Hanwha Wave all allow you to record the video at the intercom and answer when the button is pressed. Gallagher Access control also allows you to answer and route intercoms, which is rare in the access control world.
  4. By connecting the intercom to some kind of Voice over IP (VOIP) system you can dial any phone number in the world. You do lose the video capabilities of the intercom, but you gain access to any possible number. This option is mostly used in apartment complexes or condos where you don’t want to use option 2.

The last thing to be thinking about is how you want the answering station to ring.

Supercharging intercoms as part of your commercial security setupYou can have several answering stations ring at the same time, you can have calls roll over when there is no answer. You can have calls routed to one answering station during a specific time and then call another answering station during a different time. Again, you can mix and match stations that ring together, roll over, and timing.

With the rise of VOIP intercoms, we have gained even more expertise, capabilities and flexibility when it comes to intercoms in your security mix. But, with flexibility, comes complication. If you need help figuring it all out, let us walk you through it.

The Fortified Village: A Fable of Kenton Brothers Systems for Security in the Medieval Realm

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

Welcome to Eldoria

The Fortified Village: A Fable of Kenton Brothers Systems for Security in the Medieval RealmIn a distant medieval realm, nestled between rolling hills and dense forests, there existed a peaceful village named Eldoria. The villagers, content in their simple lives, lived in harmony with the land. However, peace is a fragile thing, and the tranquility of Eldoria was shattered when rumors of marauding bandits spread like wildfire. Travelling caravans spoke of their perils and the destruction left behind by these marauders.

These bandits, known for their cunning and ruthlessness, struck fear into the hearts of the villagers. As the threat loomed larger with each passing day, the village elders gathered to seek a solution. It was then that a wise elder, known for his sagacity, spoke of a distant land named Kansas City where Kenton Brothers Systems for Security thrived. This organization, led by the great Lady Gina of Lee’s Summit, was known across the land as the protector of the realm.

Emissaries were dispatched to seek the aid of Lady Gina and Kenton Brothers, and after a long and perilous journey, they arrived at the gates of the city to visit the renowned security experts. The village’s plight reached the ears of Lady Gina and her band of Knights. It was agreed that something must be done to help the people of Eldoria.

The emissaries returned to Eldoria with the good news.

The villagers were filled with hope as they eagerly awaited the arrival of the Kenton Brothers Knights that promised to fortify their village and repel the bandit threat. A caravan bearing the emblem of Kenton Brothers arrived in Eldoria. The villagers marveled at the advanced equipment and the skilled craftsmen who had journeyed to their humble abode.

The head of the caravan, a seasoned security expert named Sir Neal of Systems addressed the villagers.

“Fear not, good people of Eldoria, Lady Gina has heard your pleas for help. Kenton Brothers stands ready to fortify your village against the menace that plagues you,” Sir Neal proclaimed. The crowd cheered as Sir Neal dispatched the Knights of Kenton Brothers across the village to assess the current state of defenses.

Gathering that evening in the Great Tent of Engineering, the knights reported all levels of defensive capabilities and the changes need to repel the great horde of bandits quickly closing in on the village. The Eldoria leaders grew fearful as they heard the reports and understood how poorly the city was prepared for what was to come.

All Eldorian hearts were heavy until Sir Ryan of Service loudly proclaimed that there was no task too great for Kenton Brothers Systems for Security and that working together with Eldoria, great works could be done and they will be prepared to face the threat! The Eldorians were filled with confidence from the Knight’s enthusiastic statement and cheered their support! Laboring through the night, assisted by oil lamps,  Kenton Brothers and the Eldoria leaders created a plan that would preserve their village and surrounding areas.

And so, the work began.

The craftsmen from Kenton Brothers labored day and night, constructing a formidable perimeter around the village. Towering walls were erected, equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance systems that could detect the slightest movement in the surrounding forests. Access control points were installed, ensuring that only those with the villagers’ best interests at heart could enter. Village elders were trained in recognizing threats and identifying counter measures. They in turn trained other villagers on situational awareness and what steps to take to keep their crops, livestock and family safe.

As the villagers observed the transformation, a newfound sense of security enveloped Eldoria. The once fearful whispers were replaced with hopeful conversations, and the children played freely in the meadows once again.

The Bandits

The bandits, hackers, thieves and nare do wells have had an easy time raiding villages throughout the land. Running unopposed across the lands, growing rich in spoils and reputation. Many times raiding abandoned villages as the people would run away in fear the night before. The Bandits numbers growing daily as evildoers all over the realm sought out easy payoffs.

Unaware of the changes taking place in Eldoria, the bandits planned their next raid. Little did they know that Eldoria was no longer an easy target. The night they chose to strike was a dark and bitter night.

As the bandits approached under cover of darkness, they began to set off perimeter alarms. The Eldorian villagers were alerted and immediately sprang to action. Alerts were repeated and everyone assumed their given role and position on the defensive line. All of this before the bandits even knew they had been detected.

The bandits launched their first attack! The bandits encountered an impenetrable barrier – the walls of Eldoria fortified by Kenton Brothers Systems for Security. As the bandits futilely attempted to breach the village, the surveillance systems alerted the villagers and the guards stationed at strategic points. Sir Neal of Systems, leading the defense, rallied the villagers to stand united against the common enemy. The bandits, disoriented and outmatched, were forced to retreat into the darkness from whence they came.

Enraged, the leader of the bandits decided to try again by attacking the rear defenses. There stood Sir Ryan and his Eldorian defenders waiting on the bandits as the surveillance system tracked their movements through the forest. All night long, wave after wave of bandits crashed unsuccessfully against the defenses. Cheers arose at dawn’s light as the bandits scurried into the forest in defeat.


Word of Eldoria’s successful defense spread far and wide, reaching the ears of neighboring villages facing similar threats. The reputation of lady Gina and Kenton Brothers Systems for Security soared, and emissaries from other realms sought their expertise to fortify their own villages against banditry and other perils.

Emboldened by their success, the villagers of Eldoria embraced their newfound security with gratitude. The partnership forged with Kenton Brothers became a symbol of hope, illustrating how advanced security solutions could safeguard even the most vulnerable communities.

As the years passed, Eldoria thrived under the watchful eyes of the Kenton Brothers and their band of Knights and craftsmen. The villagers no longer lived in constant fear, and the bandits, aware of the impenetrable defense, dared not approach the fortified village. The people of Eldoria flourished, their once humble abode transformed into a beacon of safety and prosperity across the lands.

And so, the tale of Eldoria became a legend passed down through generations – a testament to the transformative power of Kenton Brothers Systems for Security in a medieval realm. The villagers lived in peace, secure in the knowledge that their fortified village was a shining example of how innovation and collaboration could triumph over adversity.

If your village is in danger, please send a rider at once!

Which ADA Operator is right for my business?

Which ADA Operator is right for my business?By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

An ADA Operator is a device that you install on a door to make it suitable for people who need help opening and holding open a door. ADA Operators come in many styles, offerings, and sizes to help meet the needs of a facilities openings. Operators can be integrated to work with a company’s access control platform and can be set to work on specific schedules.

The question becomes which ADA Operator is right for my business?

First let’s discuss some of the common type of ADA Operators.

Low-Energy Operators, Power-Assist Operators, and Full Power Operators are some of the most common types. Each of these Operators are made for a specific purpose:

Low-Energy Operator

A Low-Energy operator allows users of all types of mobility to select either manual operation or automatic operation of the door.

Power-Assist Operator

A Power-Assist Operator uses a motor driven mechanism inside the device to open and close the door, it senses the presence of a person trying to open the door and assists them in doing so.

Full-Power Operator

Full-Power (Or Energy) Operators use more energy to quickly open the doors with a higher amount of force. They use sensors, guide rails, have variable closing speeds, and other internal tools to help at the opening.

Which ADA Operator is right for my business? Which ADA Operator is right for my business?

Access Control Integration and ADA Buttons

Which ADA Operator is right for my business?Next let’s discuss the integration of the operators.

Kenton Brothers installs hundreds of Operators each and every year, and a large portion of these are integrated with our customer’s access control platform. The benefits are simple: They can be controlled via schedules, they work in tandem with physical door hardware to keep your facility secure, they allow employees and or patrons with mobility issues to gain entry at correct times, and the operators become an integral part of the building design.

I also wanted to mention ADA buttons.

ADA buttons can be hardwired, wireless, and wave actuated. Button selection is determined by many things including wire paths available; do you want people touching the buttons or not, location of buttons, and aesthetics. Buttons also come in different sizes depending on the available space in the location where they will be installed.

If you have any questions regarding ADA Operators and how they can fit into your facility’s safety and security methods, please contact one of our security consultants to learn more.

SALTO Systems: Unique Access Control Solutions for a 100+ Year Old Building

By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

SALTO Systems: Unique Access Control SolutionsIn late 2023, Kenton Brothers was approached by a property management company about adding access control to a local, 100+ year old tenant-based building in Kansas City, MO. The building has more than 16 floors and multiple elevators needed access control. As you can imagine, when the building was being built access control was not in the minds of the architect nor builders. So, the task became how does Kenton Brothers provide access control for this unique situation while keeping costs in-line with the customer’s budget?

SALTO Systems

The answer was an access control platform that supports both online and offline locks while at same time being able to take care of access control for the elevators. The system is made by a company called SALTO Systems. Their array of lock solutions allowed Kenton Brothers technicians to install cable where it was accessible to connect to the server and have some of the locks being online, while also being able to install locks at doors where cable wasn’t an option. All while still granting access or denying access depending on the credential presented.

Here is the interesting feature of this system: Online readers re-program each card as they are presented, and then the new information is carried to the offline locks the next time they are used. This allows the system to be centrally managed without running wires to every lock. (Remember, this building is over 100 years old.) Pretty cool, right?

Our solution allows the property management company to grant access to individuals with the correct credentials into certain spaces like the gym, pool area, rooftop, etc. And they can deny individuals who should not have access to those spaces. Without the SALTO access control system, this is almost impossible to control.

SALTO Systems: Unique Access Control Solutions SALTO Systems: Unique Access Control Solutions

The next phase of the project was the elevators.

To accomplish getting readers to work with the elevators, and the readers needing to be offline readers, Kenton Brothers worked closely with the elevator company whose software and the access control software would work in tandem to take tenants to the correct floors while still allowing the property management company to program proper access to the readers. This was a close coordination between our team and the elevator company to accomplish our customer’s goals. And this was crucial to the success of the project because it again helps keep the flow of traffic of people going to the correct floors where they are allowed to be.

Projects like these are what Kenton Brothers loves to take on. These kinds of projects make us think outside the box, deliver one-of-a-kind systems, and come up with unique and customizable solutions to take care of the customer.  This is the type of work that has made Kenton Brothers stand out for over 127 years.

To see how Kenton Brothers can help with your unique needs, please give us a call.

SALTO Systems: Unique Access Control Solutions SALTO Systems: Unique Access Control Solutions

Parks and Rec Project: No Network? No Power? No problem.

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Challenging installs are our specialty.

Parks and Rec Project: No Network? No Power? No problem. We love a good challenge, and love creating the right solution to meet the need. The latest challenge comes in the way of no network, lots of trees, and in some places… no power.

A local county Parks and Recreation group came to us with several places they wanted to have cameras. They have an existing Milestone commercial video surveillance system in the county, but it was not integrated with their parks and rec department. The team wanted to cover marinas, several park shelters around lakes, and a few trailheads that had no power. The final goal was to integrate everything into the Milestone platform so there is more visibility.

Remote Locations

The first challenge is how remote some of the locations are. An internet connection was available in 8 of the 30+ locations they wanted cameras, but the internet connections were not very strong or fast. We need to make sure the cameras are recording reliably, so we placed servers at the 8 locations as centralized storage spots for the cameras around each area. In one instance, we installed a server at the marina.

Parks and Rec Project: No Network? No Power? No problem. Parks and Rec Project: No Network? No Power? No problem.

No Local Area Network (LAN)

The second challenge is that there is no network at several of the shelters where the department wanted cameras. Of course, wireless radios are nothing new, but we have lots of trees in the way. We had to get pretty creative to make a path from the cameras back to the marina, with line of sight for the radios and the least number of “hops”. There were several times we had to direct the signal away from the marina so that we could collect many signals in one place, and then send it all back to be recorded on the marina server.

No Power

No network is for sure a challenge. But the hardest challenge can be no power. We had to move  to a solar solution to power the cameras.

It’s always fun to overcome technical challenges. Projects like these are memorable and satisfying. Do you have an interesting situation to deal with as you consider improving your commercial security posture? We’ve dealth with literally hundreds, and if you have something new, we would love to tackle it with you. Please give us a call.