At two of its Bedfordshire properties, Bilberry Road and Kingsway House, Grand Union needed to update the access control technology after vandalism and several system failures. The team was also keen to improve tenant engagement, to help foster a better sense of community within the blocks. Following a recent digital push, they opted for several wireless intercoms and an Interactive Digital Noticeboard, to transform access management and tenant communications at the sites.

A long-standing not-for-profit organisation, Grand Union provides over 12,000 homes for more than 27,000 people across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire, with plans to build many more in the coming years. But at Bilberry Road and Kingsway House, home to around 350 tenants across 48 flats, the previous wired, fob-based system was causing headaches for the team. The technology at Bilberry Road had been vandalised and needed urgently updating, while keeping track of multiple fobs at Kingsway House was difficult and time-consuming. What’s more, the Kingsway House property is based in central Bedford, where tenants often held on to fobs even after moving out, so they could access the gated car park.
It wasn’t always easy to match the car to the real tenant – so how could they ensure only the current residents had access?
With two busy properties, Grand Union also had to coordinate contractors regularly entering the buildings too. The team would often need to buy new fobs and program them, before making sure they got into the right hands. But when considering all their options, repairing the current system would bring unexpected costs, with installers needing to run long cables and
enter individual flats to update the hardwired handsets, as well as scaffolding outside to contend with. Already committed to exploring more digital solutions, it was a simple decision for Grand Union – choosing wireless access control technology would not only streamline the team’s management processes, but it would also improve accessibility and safety for the tenants.


On the look-out for better options, the Grand Union team spotted Intratone products at an industry conference and wanted to know more. After meeting on-site, together with the installer, they chose two SC-02 intercoms with an integrated, invisible camera for Bilberry Road, and two vandal-resistant DD-01 intercoms and an Interactive Digital Noticeboard for Kingsway House, as the solutions that best fit their requirements and those of their tenants.
Despite the installations taking place during the pandemic, the process took just a few days – and was even quicker and simpler than the team expected. The technology has already been a game-changer for Grand Union, enabling them to grant access to contractors with one-off door codes. They found Intratone’s online portal easy to set up and intuitive too, allowing them to manage access for both contractors and tenants using one system, and operating it remotely. There is no need to wait for fobs anymore either – contacts can be amended, added or deactivated with a few clicks, without a site visit each time.
Feedback has also been positive on the video feature of the SC-02 intercoms as
tenants can easily see who’s at the door on their phone before granting them access.
From a communication perspective too, the Interactive Digital Noticeboard installed in the foyer of Kingsway House is already having a positive impact on day-to-day living, encouraging people to become more involved in their community and respond to simple surveys with a swipe of their fob.

Boosting accessibility and robustness with the DD-01

Vandal-resistant and user-friendly, the DD-01 intercom provides both housing management professionals and tenants with long-term peace of mind.

Designed specifically for affordable housing, the DD-01 is a cost-effective intercom, for safe, secure and durable property access. With plug-and-play technology and
no software requirements, the panel is quick and easy to install and maintain too. Connected to a remote online management system, housing managers can oversee their properties from wherever they are based – and amend or delete tenant details in real time.
GSM-based, wireless technology also allows tenants to use their phones to answer the door, without the need for an individual handset in every flat. Plus, high-contrast buttons on the panel make access control easier for the visually impaired.


“Managing access control with the previous system was a nightmare.
The two properties were located far apart, which frequently meant having to drive back and forth to grant access to contractors or tenants. Now, having everything in one place puts us back in control.”

Henry Hogben – Mechanical Services Manager at Grand Union commented on the transformation.