Protecting a crisis shelter from intruder threats

Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh safeguards residents and staff with an integrated 2N network video intercom and access control solution

“2N video intercoms and access control systems have really helped us step up our security. With the increased visibility and two-step authentication, there’s no way an abuser is going to be able to sweet talk or force their way into the premises.” Mark Ritter, Information Systems Administrator for Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.


With demand for its crisis shelter on the rise, Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh (WC&S) needed to expand its facility to accommodate more women and children fleeing domestic abuse. In addition to creating more dormitory space, they also urgently needed to replace the building’s woefully antiquated phone and security systems. They believed the best way to maximize security would be through a network-based solution integrating a robust telephony system with IP video intercoms and IP access control.


WC&S first installed the Cisco Call Manager video/voice system as the Center’s communication hub. This was quickly followed by deployment of 2N® IP Force network video intercoms, equipped with card readers to control access to exterior and interior entrances. Two years later, an incident in a nearby neighborhood prompted WC&S to increase its safety posture with a stronger layer of defense at its three exterior doors. The Center replaced its 2N IP Force intercoms at the external doors with 2N® IP Verso intercoms equipped with a combination keypad and card reader that allows them to require staff to swipe an access card and enter a unique user PIN to get into the building. Both types of 2N IP intercoms integrate with the Cisco system using SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) which enables staff to see and communicate with whoever is entering or leaving the premises.


WC&S is far more secure since implementing its new technology. With the new 2N video intercoms, staff is now able to see who is trying to gain access to the building and decide whether it’s safe to buzz them in or whether they pose a threat and take action accordingly. The two-step authentication process is helping the center prevent an intruder bent on harming a resident from gaining entry with a stolen card.

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