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Akuvox Intercom Review: Innovative Features Meet Usability Challenges

Founded in Xiamen, China in 2012, Akuvox has made a name for itself in the realm of smart home automation and IP intercoms. The brand, which was acquired by Chinese conglomerate Star-Net in 2014, offers a range of models with multiple access options, including virtual keys, Wiegand, and facial recognition.

Key Features

1. Large Door Entry Panel: One of the standout features of Akuvox’s products is the door entry panel with a large 13-inch screen. This large display enhances visibility and user interaction, making it easier for users to manage their access control.

2. Competitive Pricing: Akuvox offers its products at competitive prices. This affordability, coupled with the range of features offered, makes Akuvox an attractive choice for many customers looking for cost-effective intercom solutions.

3. Variety of Access Options: Akuvox intercoms offer a range of access options, including virtual keys, Wiegand, and in some models, facial recognition. This variety allows users to choose the access method that best suits their needs and enhances the security of their property.

4. Robust Construction: Akuvox products are known for their robust construction. Whether it’s an aluminum case for their intercom panels or the IP65 rating for water and dust resistance, Akuvox ensures that their products are built to last.

Akuvox R20A Intercom Panel

The Akuvox R20A is a well-known intercom one call button panel. It features a sturdy aluminum case and can be installed via flush mounting or wall mounting. The panel includes a mechanical button and a 2M pixel camera with a 110º angle. It also boasts a light sensitivity of 0.1 Lux and supports RTSP or Onvif. However, it does not include face recognition or multi-factor authentication, and it does not integrate with intercom management software. The R20A does include an RF access control that supports 13.56MHz (with NFC) & 125kHz and Wiegand support. It also has a 12V DC connector if not using PoE. The panel is water-proof and dust-proof with an IP65 rating and comes in a silver color.

On the other hand, the BAS-IP intercom supplier offers a similar enterphone, the AV-08FBL, but with more options. Like the Akuvox R20A, the AV-08FBL features an aluminum case and can be installed via flush mounting or wall mounting. However, it uses a piezoelectric call button instead of a mechanical one. The camera is also 2M pixels but has a wider angle of 124º and a higher light sensitivity of 0.01 Lux. The AV-08FBL supports RTSP or Onvif, just like the R20A. However, it also includes face recognition and multi-factor authentication, and it integrates with intercom management software. The RFID card reader supports 13.56MHz (with NFC), 125kHz, and also Bluetooth for keyless entry. The AV-08FBL also supports Wiegand and comes in black, gold, and silver colors.

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Here’s a comparison chart for a quick overview:

FeatureAkuvox R20ABAS-IP AV-08FBL
CaseAluminumAluminum
Installation TypeFlush mounting, Wall mountingFlush mounting, Wall mounting
ButtonMechanicalPiezoelectric
Camera2M pixels, 110º angle2M pixels, 124º angle
Light Sensitivity0.1 Lux0.01 Lux
RTSP or OnvifYesYes
Face RecognitionNoYes
Multi-factor AuthenticationNoYes
Intercom Management Software IntegrationNoYes
RF Card Reader13.56MHz (with NFC) & 125kHz13.56MHz (with NFC), 125kHz & Bluetooth
Wiegand SupportYesYes
ColorSilverBlack, Gold, Silver
Water-proof & Dust-proofIP65IP65

Customer Support and Presence

Akuvox’s customer support has been a point of contention for some users. There have been reports of dissatisfaction with the level of service provided by the company. This includes issues with responsiveness and effectiveness in resolving problems. A strong customer support system is crucial for any technology company, as it directly impacts the user experience and overall satisfaction. Therefore, these reports of subpar customer support could be a significant drawback for potential customers.

In terms of presence, Akuvox is based in China and has a strong foothold in the Asian market. However, its presence in the United States is relatively limited. This could pose challenges for customers based in the U.S., especially when it comes to customer service and technical support. Time zone differences could lead to delays in response times, and language barriers could potentially complicate communication.

Furthermore, the limited presence could also impact the availability of products and replacement parts in the U.S. market. It could also affect the speed and efficiency of service and repairs.

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Security Concerns

Akuvox’s security concerns primarily revolve around its E11 Smart Intercom. Recent reports (here and here) have uncovered more than a dozen security vulnerabilities in this product. These vulnerabilities are serious and could potentially be exploited by attackers for a variety of malicious purposes.

One of the most concerning vulnerabilities allows attackers to execute code remotely. This could enable them to activate and control the device’s camera and microphone, essentially turning the intercom into a spying device. Attackers could also steal video and images captured by the device, infringing on users’ privacy.

Akuvox vulnerability

Another vulnerability could allow attackers to gain a network foothold. This means that an attacker could potentially gain access to the user’s network through the intercom, posing a significant security risk.

Furthermore, some of the vulnerabilities can be exploited without authentication, and attacks can even be launched directly from the internet if the targeted device is accessible from the web. This makes the vulnerabilities even more dangerous, as they could be exploited by anyone with the necessary knowledge and intent.

Despite these serious security issues, many of the vulnerabilities remain unpatched. This means that users of the Akuvox E11 Smart Intercom are potentially at risk until these issues are addressed.

In light of these security concerns, users are advised to ensure that their device is not exposed to the internet and to isolate it from the rest of their network to prevent lateral movement attacks. Changing the default password for the web interface is also recommended as a precautionary measure.

Usability

Akuvox’s indoor intercom stations, while packed with features, have received some criticism regarding their usability. The user interface, which is a crucial aspect of any technology product, has been described by some users as non-intuitive and difficult to navigate.

A non-intuitive user interface can pose challenges for users, particularly those who are not tech-savvy. It could lead to difficulties in accessing and using the various features of the intercom stations. This could potentially detract from the overall user experience and may even discourage some users from fully utilizing the product’s capabilities.

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Furthermore, a difficult-to-navigate interface could lead to increased time and effort spent on simple tasks. For instance, users might struggle with setting up the system, managing settings, or even performing basic functions like answering a call or unlocking a door. This could result in frustration and dissatisfaction with the product.

A complex user interface could potentially impact the effectiveness of the intercom stations in emergency situations. In such scenarios, users need to be able to perform actions quickly and easily, and a complicated interface could hinder this.

However, it’s worth noting that users have the option to compare Akuvox’s user interface with that of BAS-IP. The BAS-IP R&D team has reportedly spent thousands of hours perfecting their user interface to provide the best user experience possible. This dedication to usability could result in a more intuitive and user-friendly interface, potentially making BAS-IP a strong contender for those who prioritize ease of use in their intercom systems.

Akuvox SmartPlus App

Akuvox SmartPlus is a cloud-based security and intercom service designed for buildings. The app allows residents to interact with visitors, open doors, monitor entrances, and issue virtual keys via their smartphones. This is facilitated through Akuvox doorphones installed at the property entrance. The app aims to provide a unique building entry experience and simplify property access management for property managers and owners.

However, the app has a mixed reception among users. Some users have praised the system, noting that it is particularly useful for places with a Guard Shack or a Barcode Only entrance. They also appreciate the developer’s responsiveness to issues. On the other hand, some users have reported frequent system breakdowns and difficulties signing in, even with the correct credentials. There are also reports of the app being buggy, with issues such as freezing, crashing, and needing frequent reinstallations.

The developers appear active in addressing these issues, as indicated by the recent update that fixed some bugs. However, it seems that more work is needed to improve the app’s stability and reliability.

In conclusion, Akuvox SmartPlus offers a promising solution for property access management, but potential users should be aware of the reported technical issues.

Conclusion

While Akuvox offers some innovative features and competitive pricing, potential customers should be aware of the brand’s customer support issues and serious security concerns. The brand’s limited presence in the United States and the user interface of its app may also be points of consideration. As always, it’s important to thoroughly research and consider all aspects before making a purchase.

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