In 2014, SBV-VIDEO started its work on the premium video intercom system Chameleon. The idea was to create a versatile housing with a front panel that could be decorated with all sorts of materials for integration into any interior design.
Requirements for the housing. The surface had to be flat, and the surface area, sufficient to show off the beautiful texture of the inlays made of natural materials. We had tried several different dimensions and opted for a square design.
Handset. Both options — with and without a handset — are equally popular for intercom systems. We decided to use a hands-free system because, otherwise, we would have to decorate the front of the handset with the same material as the front panel of the intercom. Unlike the intercom housing, which requires no contact with the user (the user interacts with the screen), daily use of the handset would result in slow but steady deterioration.
Device control. The device features a touch control system. We went for two options: touch buttons and a touch screen. Intercoms often feature mechanical buttons, but we rejected this option because we wanted a front panel with a perfectly flat surface where the material or a combination of materials of the front panel would play first fiddle.
Control board. We developed two modifications of the control board: IP and analogue boards. Our first prototypes were analogue, but after the development of AHD technology by Chinese manufacturers (introduced by Nextchip) and the merger of other Chinese formats, such as CVI (by Dahua) and TVI (by Hikvision), as a multiformat hybrid system for the production of video intercoms and doorbells, it was decided to move to the new standards. Due to the replacement of the electronic components, we had to redevelop the entire device. But it paid off — thanks to the new technology we managed to go beyond 1-megapixel resolution (while 98% of all intercom systems globally support the analogue (CVBS) transmission with a maximum resolution of 960x576 pixels). Therefore, we have no limits to the growth of resolution of devices connected to Chameleon products. The first Chameleon was a multiformat model and the doorphone supported resolution of up to 1920х1080р (Full HD).
Software and functionality. In the beginning, when we designed different functions, we wanted to add as many features as possible; we wanted it to be a multifunctional device no one has ever made before. Because of that, we had no clue about the lead time it was going to take. At last, we realised that the intercom market was changing faster than any of our developments got to be implemented and that we couldn’t keep up with China, so we decided to focus on the visual part of the device and add only the best and most popular functions. After all, an intercom doesn’t have to be a smartphone, it has only three basic functions: to see and talk to the person pressing the call button; to control access; to look pretty. The first software that we used was based on the T582DB circuit designed by the Taiwanese LCD controller developer Terawins. However, the market had changed, and we decided to switch to products by Nextchip, a Korean manufacturer of microprocessor solutions. The 6134С model was used for the first production model of Chameleon.
Sound. Having tested lots of various intercoms by various Asian manufacturers, we discovered that all of them had an irritating issue — bad sound. The solution was easy but no one seemed to have used it before — good-quality speakers and microphones. So, we just did it.
Touchscreen. We considered three options: TFT LCD for touch buttons; resistive and capacitive touchscreens for touch control. We opted for a more expensive capacitive screen for touch control, although most intercom systems in the Russian market use the resistive technology. TFT LCD is used in intercom models that do not require touch control.
Front panel design. We were inspired by the idea to use an unlimited number of materials and their combinations for the front panel of the housing. Today, 99% of video intercoms are made purely from plastic. Metal elements are used sometimes, however, it is usually anodised aluminium of silver or golden colour.
The original concept of Chameleon was to provide the greatest variety of high-quality materials. Wood veneer alone, with its wide array of different types, can provide dozens of colours and textures, not to mention metal which can be custom-coated with varnish of any RAL colour to integrate the intercom into any interior design. Various kinds of exclusive leather, from lambskin to python. Different kinds of metals with various types of finish, from anodising of aluminium to patination of copper. Stone veneer strikes by a variety of textures — we will have a lot of interesting models with this gorgeous material. Pure multi-layer carbon fibre with patterns or lettering in nickel, gold and silver plating, colour printing and jeweller-grade resin finish, combination of carbon fibre with leather and metal — the options are endless. Creativity knows no bounds, and we will continue to present more and more new designs that will complement any interior.
Handcrafted devices + high-end production. Growth of nickel, its plating with silver and gold, laser cutting, milling, carbon fibre weaving and its coating with jewellery-grade resin, finishing veneer with oil, and hand-perfecting each detail. For five years, we have been learning to properly cut metal, finish wood veneer, paint metal (we have experimented with a large number of paint and coating types), we have spoilt lots and lots of leather and carbon. Ensuring top-quality serial production turned to be a titanic challenge. It is hard to achieve perfection even when working with a single material, while we were working on several areas at the same time, and for four years we were far from perfect or close to it, but that was not it. However, the investments paid off. Eventually, we have developed unparalleled technologies of production of high-quality panels and inlays.
SBV-VIDEO will produce new models of video and audio intercom systems, access control devices, and doorbells under the brandname Chameleon in line with the company’s philosophy, preserving high quality and diversity of materials.