The End of Intercom?

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Jim Hoffpauir, President of the Americas for the Zenitel Group. (Vingtor-Stentofon).

Is your market changing?

The intercom market’s value has been diminished by encouraging end users and integrators to look at the technology as only a standalone mass communications or emergency stanchion solution. Essentially an afterthought. But if you study the core processes inside a security department, as well as their evolving need to become relevant in meeting the rest of the organization’s goals, you suddenly realize the need for an order of magnitude difference in intelligibility and interoperability that cannot be achieved by the standard “API” approach.


The scorecard for intelligent communications will be the absolute mandate for clarity in all circumstances; to hear, be heard and be understood. We call this ‘intelligibility’. Secondly, the need for a formal program of interoperability with the key systems that are deployed in the security market like access control, video management systems, and multi-modal communications. And finally, the need to translate what is happening in the IoT world that is driving the platform suppliers like Microsoft. This means we need to drive a new topology that will support the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model that Ed Bacco, the CSO for the Enterprise Security Risk Group is talking about.

Is the end user and the integrator prepared for this? Some are. You have to realize, the integrator is often at a disadvantage. They are not necessarily called upon to study the workflows of their prospects and clients. It is within these workflows that true process and budget optimization occurs. More often they have RFPs that force them to act on a perception of value that is tied to pricing. In many cases, they turn to something they know, instead of investigating the root cause of the organization’s motivation behind communications.

You mentioned IaaS. Do you believe organizations will begin to outsource management, maintenance and measurement of their security infrastructure?

Many will have to. First, it is not the core of what they do. And secondly, they are not solving their core issues around process and budget optimization. That is why we work so hard to create a higher level of interoperability through an established program with core, strategic partners and are changing the topology of our implementations. We have shed the need for a separate server, for example. You can start with one station that has server functions embedded in it. You can exponentially scale without ever buying a stand-alone server. We will continue this intelligence at the edge strategy within a company or outside a company with a virtual SOC or a managed services vendor.

What is the one thing that is always mentioned about your suite of communication devices?

Everyone knows us as the “Rolls Royce” of audio. But little do they know, that applies not only to the clarity of our audio, our interoperability and our cyber defensibility, but also to our value equation. We have been told by integrators and consultants that have really dug into how their clients are attempting to communicate operationally or in an emergency, that we are the best value in the market.