The Call Box: Is It Still Useful Today?Henry Wasserman
Call boxes have been around since the nineteenth century. Some of the first ones were used by Chicago police and Washington used them all over the city to provide a direct line. Nowadays, they’re used often on gates to give the visitor a direct line to the respective house. You’re probably looking for information regarding your call box. Perhaps you’ve been locked out, or maybe you’re wondering what number to press on the phone to open the gate and let someone in.
Call boxes can be frustrating and difficult to use. Their technology is quite dated in the advent of new proptech like cellular gate opening systems that can be used on single homes, gated communities, and businesses alike. However, a lot of homes still use call boxes. Here’s some information on the call box we hope you’ll find useful.
What Is A Call Box?
You’ve probably walked past them hundreds of times and never even realized it. A call box is a small box affixed to a gate. On the call box is a number pad. You press the relevant number on the gate and it calls the respective person. The person on the other end of the phone can then speak to the visitor and let him or her in by pressing a button. A lot of people get frustrated with what number to press on a phone to open the gate.
Some houses might not have numbers, but names. Sometimes you won’t have to dial a number, but just press one number to be connected. Others might even have passwords and the like to stop random people walking past trying to dial into people’s homes.
Some call boxes only have audio functionality whereas others will open a two way video link between the box and the home. They come in all shapes and sizes.
As you can imagine, these can be quite annoying when they service multiple homes in a gated community.
What Number Do You Press On The Phone To Open The Gate
Again, this differs depending on the manufacturer but it’s a common question asked.
How do you let people in through the gate once they’ve called? If you’ve just moved home or had a call box installed, it can be frustrating.
Some manufacturers use the number 9. Others will have clearly defined buttons for open and close, which makes it a bit easier. It’s industry standard to use the number 9, but some brands might use 1 or the # key. Also, some call boxes are programmable, so the old user might have had something unique set up. If this is the case, see if you can contact them for the user guide, or call the manufacturer to see if they can reset it for you..
Also, on a call box, there’s often a lag from pressing the right number or button and the gate opening. So if you’re pressing the number over and over again, you could confuse or break the call box. Press the right button, and wait for five seconds to see if the gate opens before trying again.
Downsides To The Call Box
There are, unfortunately, many downsides to a call box. In this day and age there are far more modern alternatives that’ll make life for you a lot easier and also ensure your property is secured.
- You have to be at the call point to open the gate. So, if you’re busy, not at the property or doing something else you won’t be able to answer and let them in.
- Outside interference. As you can imagine, it’s easy to interfere with external call boxes.
- No Cloud: Modern gate control technology uses the cloud to store data. With older call boxes you have to manually update certain information instead of doing it on your phone.
- Single use control point. Take Nimbio for example. You can control multiple access points, and who has access to these points, with an app. With a call box, you can only control access in and out for one gate.
- No courier control. Modern solutions might have something for couriers. Today, people get deliveries all the time and with an old style call box you’ll be getting up and down all the time just to let people in.
What’s Better Than A Call Box? App-based Cellular Smart Entry
A smart cellular access app. These days, with advancements of property technology and the internet of things, it’s possible to control your electric gate with your smartphone. All you need to do is install the right software/hardware on the gate itself along with an app on your phone and you’re good to go.
No more getting up to let people in. You can also let delivery drivers etc. in when you’re not at home. You can also choose who can come and go from your home too by allowing permissions on the Nimbio app itself. For example, you could extend permissions to your children who can use the app to control the gate. If you live in a gated community it makes things a lot easier. No more visitors pressing the wrong button on the call box and calling the wrong home by mistake.
You can use a cellular smart app to hold the gate open too. If you leave for work at the same time everyday, you can tell the gate to schedule a hold open. This means you can come and go a lot easier. You can also do this if you were throwing a party or having a lot of guests around. These smaller features that are present in quality cellular access systems represent a wholesale upgrade over dated call box systems.
Cellular entry systems, like Nimbio, are slowly taking over from older and dated entrance systems like a call box or pin entry system. However, there are a lot of call box systems left out there from earlier installations. If you want to chat about upgrading and replacing your call box with a cellular access system feel free to contact us. Or, check out our testimonials so you can see how others have gotten along with Nimbio. If you are looking for more information on electric gate access systems, have a read through our blog or FAQs page.