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  • Video Entry Freedom
    in Liverpool

Video entry freedom in Liverpool

MEC Electrical Integrated undertakes two installations of the Panasonic wireless DECT system in care environments

Panasonic's VL-SWD501 wireless single door entry system takes advantage of DECT technology to make for a more flexible video intercom system.

Users can answer the door from anywhere in the building, from up to 100m away and further with an optional wireless range extender. In Liverpool, the system has been helping local businesses as well as vulnerable people to deal with visitors, giving additional peace of mind, control and independence.

Users can answer the door from anywhere in the building, from up to 100m away and further with an optional wireless range extender. In Liverpool, the system has been helping local businesses as well as vulnerable people to deal with visitors, giving additional peace of mind, control and independence.

Aintree-based MEC Electrical Integrated undertakes bespoke work for a wide range of clients across Liverpool and the north west, and has recognised the potential of Panasonic's wireless single door entry system.

The company exhibited at independent living show NAIDEX at the NEC, and have engineered their own integration of the VL-SWD501 with other alarms specifically for the elderly, infirm and disabled user.

One of the company's recent customers is Dr Edward Knight, who works in government procurement. Physically disabled and confined to a wheelchair, he has benefitted from an install of a VL-SWD501 in his ground floor flat, which is close to Liverpool's city centre.

MEC interfaced the system with the block's existing audio intercom, meaning visitors can call using either means and Edward is still able to answer. The new system also works with the existing lock on the building's main door.

MEC's engineers also interfaced the new Panasonic system with two RFID card readers from a third party. Edward previously struggled to use the conventional door keys to open the door, and so he is now able to easily let himself in and out using something that is physically easier to grip and use than a key.

His disability means he is regularly visited by carers and district nurses, so it was important the system was easy for them to use as well.

Before MEC's work they would previously make use of a key safe outside the flat to let themselves in, which was not only a security risk, it took some of the control away from Edward - with the new wireless system, he has been able to regain more of his independence, as he can answer the door from anywhere and unlock both the main door and his flat's own door.

"I have a DECT handset in the bedroom, and the carers come in the morning to turn me over, so I can use that to let them in, but I also regularly use it for postmen and couriers - I do a lot of shopping online and there's often deliveries so it's useful for that as well," he said.

The new system has been installed about two months, replacing one that was mounted on the wall next to the front door and that wheelchair-bound Edward had to move over to and answer.

In addition to being able to view the camera when someone is at the door, the system also gives access to the camera at any other time, giving a view of the outside which has been useful for Edward.

"On one or two occasions one of my nighttime carers said there were a few people hanging around outside and they felt a bit vulnerable, so I used the outside camera just to check outside and that the coast was clear," explained Edward. 

"I have a DECT handset in the bedroom, and when the carers come I can use it to let them in" 

"There's only been one negative comment from a carer, that it takes them longer to get in than if they did it themselves, but it's not about that, it's about my independence, so I know they're coming in. When I previously had the keys outside, there's an extra level of trust there that I was counting on."

"It's certainly a reassurance to my friends and family," explains Edward. "My Mum and Dad like the system and are aware of its benefits. The SD card the room monitor records onto is useful as well if God forbid something happens."

"I've had a couple of problems with carers saying they've come in and they haven't, so I've been able to use the system as a means of obtaining proof that they turned up or not. A lot of elderly people are also installing cameras inside their homes, in case of problems with carers or visitors into their home, so there's the potential for the system to work like that too," he continued. 

Dr Chris Mercier - Dental Surgery

Meanwhile in Liverpool's Rodney Street, a historic area home to many of the city's doctors and dentists, the VL-SWD501 has been installed at Dr Chris Mercier's dentist office.

The office makes use of a door station at the main entrance from the street, alongside a main monitor and wireless sub-monitor at the reception desk, enabling staff to screen visitors from outside before they come into the building.

"The system has been installed for about three months. We had an older intercom before that, which did have video, but it was black and white and wasn't as clear," explains Dr Mercier.

"The reception staff like the handset, because if they go off to make a coffee or are elsewhere in the building for some reason, they can still answer the door and let people in.

It's also useful having a recording of who was there; for this type of business it's very useful.

Staff at the dentist office know who they're expecting in for an appointment, so they can see from the image on the intercom if it's that person or not.

"We occasionally get people in claiming to use the toilet; it doesn't happen very often at all but we once had a charity box stolen from the waiting room. So with the system we're able to be that more careful and security conscious about who's coming in and out."

"Also if a staff member is in the surgery with the Dentist, they can't actually hear the front door, so they can take the DECT handset in there and be able to check visitors at the door without having to be at the front desk all the time."

MEC made use of the existing cabling from the old system, so the installation was very quick with minimal disruption. Unobtrusively tucked behind the reception desk, the clean all-white design of the VL-SWD501' s room monitor is the perfect match for the medical environment.

 "It's also useful having a recording of who was there; we haven't needed it luckily but it's good to know that it's there."

"The Video Entry System is flexible enough to make it a complete independent living option, and with our additional features such as vibrating and visual alerts, we've been able to incorporate door opening into the system," said Andrew Morris, MEC's CAD engineer.

"In short, the Panasonic system alongside MEC Electrical Integrated's additional features have been a huge success to both us as a company and the end users."