In today’s world, with the Internet of Things becoming ever larger and all sorts of IP devices available on the market, more of your devices at home and in the office are capable of working in conjunction with other devices on your network to create highly useful, though unconventional, use cases.
When it comes to your business phone system, for example, there are many more possible SIP endpoints than just your standard IP desk phone or VoIP app. IP intercoms, for example, can be configured to work with your phone system to make and even receive calls.
For the busy, modern office, this is highly useful. In combination with the call routing capabilities of a business phone system like Yay.com, you’ll be able to set up your office IP intercom to ring the entire office or selected groups of users when the ‘call’ button is pressed.
Another possibility is for those of you with a video IP intercom at the entrance to your home. You’ll be able to configure the intercom to make a video call to your mobile device or SIP desk phone when a visitor or someone with a delivery rings the intercom, allowing you to communicate with them directly with your personal and work devices. No more missed packages!
IP Intercoms as SIP Endpoints
To achieve this, almost any IP intercom will do, though for video calls you’ll need a video intercom and configuration will differ slightly depending on the brand. IP intercoms work much like IP phones, they just have to be connected to your local network by way of an ethernet cable. Once on the network, you’ll have to sign in to the device’s web interface to conduct some local configuration. If you don’t know the device’s IP address, a network scanner app (the manufacturer of your intercom is likely to supply one of these as a download on their website) can be used to find it out.
Whilst IP intercoms will, by default, be able to conduct calls internally across your local network (usually to an indoor answering unit), they can also be linked to a hosted PBX (VoIP phone system) or hardware PBX to break out onto the PSTN (regular telephone network) and make/receive calls from regular phone numbers.
For our use case, we want the intercom to ring all the phone in the office when the ‘call’ button on the intercom is pressed.
How to Use an IP Intercom With Your Business Phone System
Remember that, when someone calls a number, the call route that number is assigned to sends the call through the call flow you’ve created. When the first module is ‘send call to user/external/trunk’ and a SIP user is added to the field, the call will be sent through to that SIP user. You can link any SIP user with a hardware device by entering the SIP credentials listed under that user in the ‘Users’ section of the dashboard in the IP intercom’s web interface (accessed by connecting it to your local network and then entering its IP address into the address bar of any browser).
Here’s the method.
- Link a SIP user to your device
- Head to the web interface of the IP intercom.
- Register the device to the user by inserting the SIP details listed in ‘SIP user details’ to your IP intercom’s web interface.
(Refer to the instructions listed by your device manufacturer for details on where in the web interface to do this. For a 2N IP intercom, you’ll head to the ‘Services’ section to configure a SIP line.)
- Create a call route within the Yay dashboard (call received —> send to user/external/trunk —> end/repeat prior steps)
- Assign a number to that call route.
- Back in the web interface of your intercom, set the call button to, when pressed, call the number you assigned to your call route.
How Does an IP Intercom Make Calls to SIP Users?
2N IP intercoms, for example, offer three methods of calling. Their ‘local’ calling method requires an admin to specify the IP address of the device on the local network they want to be called. The ‘direct’ calling method requires an admin to assign a unique ID to each device and this ID is then used to refer to the device instead of an IP address. This gets around the problem of IP addresses being assigned dynamically without the admin having to set static UPs for each device.
The third method is via PBX or SIP proxy. This is the method we’re interested in since we’re linking these devices through a third-party hosted PBX (VoIP platform). By registering the IP intercom to a SIP user within the PBX, we are able to direct calls to or from the device when a number is called or dialled. Instead of ringing just one other device on the internal network when the call button is pressed, as with local or direct calling, we can have the intercom call multiple users at once. For example, all the phones in the office when someone is at the front door.
Conclusion - VoIP and IP Intercoms for Increased Flexibility
With cloud-based telephony and IP network devices, you have more flexibility than you might think. IP intercoms that support the SIP protocol can easily be configured to work in conjunction with your business’ cloud phone system to remove the need for additional indoor answering units, saving your business money and ensuring your visitors are seen promptly.