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9 Drive-up Intercom Installation Pain Points

Every drive-up intercom system is unique. Specific to each installation are the problems faced by the customer and installer. If you work in banking, pharmacy, cannabis, fast food, or liquor, youíre likely familiar with these nine drive-up intercom installation pain points:

The Learning Curve

Intercom installations are varied and complex, sometimes employing tech from multiple manufacturers. The curve isnít getting flatter, either. Companies constantly innovate new products and technologies to keep them on the cutting edge of this highly competitive industry. As a result, installers often find themselves immersed in a mountain of spec sheets and manuals. Whether youíre looking for parts or someone to fit them, an established brand with proven experience is essential to help guide you through this process.

Tech Support

In todayís workplace, churn rates are higher than ever. The effects are felt most heavily within specialized industries where it can take years of training and tribal knowledge to turn a new hire into a seasoned expert. Each time this happens, it means one less person to turn to when a project goes sideways.
If you have a solid support tech on speed dial, I suggest you cherish them.

Complex Product Line

Because of the many types of installs, itís easy for manufacturers to find themselves with a Cheesecake Factory menu of products. Itís done with the best of intentions. After all, who wants to tell a customer that you canít help?†

No one, thatís who.†

But you could avoid drowning in a sea of products with a well-developed product line and good supporting staff. To prevent this, you must carefully assess if their sales and support staff understand how their product fits into the companyís product model. If youíre confused by the end of the meeting, itís likely because they were too. Remember, innovation does not equal complexity.

Installation Time

Time spent hitting the books, contacting support, and searching lists of products all increase installation time, and thatís all before you even start running cable. Project managers use site maps to provide their installers with as much information as possible and to save time. You should definitely do this, but thereís another way to save installation time. Use an intercom system that is simple to install. Plug and play, with just one run of cable to connect the intercom to each lane.†


The drive-up intercom industry is competitive and specialized. Salespeople in this field operate with slim margins to maintain a competitive edge. Itís easy to see how a few extra work hours or a non-conforming part could quickly turn a lucrative project into a financial hemorrhage. To prevent this, look for an easy-to-install system from a well-established brand. Their extra years of experience are invaluable during the project planning phase.†

Compatibility With Other Systems

Itís cool when McGyver makes a basement torpedo out of rocks, rags, and a pipe, but your customers deserve a reliable, engineered solution. If youíre going to source parts from different manufacturers, you need to be sure that everything is compatible. Check out our list of proven distributors here.

System Failures

Ahh, system failures, a tragic but unavoidable part of any product life cycle. So what do you do when it happens? You must plan if you donít want to spend hours on hold with whatever call center is fielding tickets that day (provided you can get a hold of anyone at all). Shopping US manufactured is a great way to avoid faulty hardware. US manufacturers are known to prioritize quality, which means your system will stay up and running better for longer. Talking upfront with your suppliers about their support capabilities is another excellent tool. Ask now, and save yourself a lot of questions later, and if you do have questions, ask Curtis.


Recall the bygone days of Androidís micro USB charging or the iPhoneís original 30-pin connection. These two innovative improvements to their respective phone lines were met with staunch opposition at their launch. It turns out thereís something to be said for backward compatibility. This is especially true in an industry where products last upwards of ten or more years in the field (well, ours do, anyway).

System Security

Generally speaking, anything that transmits a signal can have that signal intercepted. Encryption protocols, firewalls, and VPNs help mitigate that risk, but theyíre not foolproof (nothing is). But all things considered, hardwired connections are your most secure option. To access the signal, you must physically tap into the line, and someone digging up your concrete or climbing on your building draws a lot of attention.

To recap: Remember these six things for your next successful drive-up intercom installation.

  • Seek out established brands with proven experience†
  • Develop strong relationships with your sales reps and technical support personnel†
  • Look for clearly defined product lines with minimal installation hookups and hook-up types†
  • Research to see if multiple suppliers are using the same suite of products†
  • Buy products manufactured and supported in the USA.
  • Wireless can be more convenient, but hardwired is more secure

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