Intercom for wall mounted tablets (Android or iOS)


Active Member
I thought it would be useful to start a discussion about voice/video intercom software for wall-mounted home automation tablets.  Personally, I use android-powered tablets, but I understand that many others use iPads (due to the wide availability of wall mount docks).
One aspect that I've never seen addressed for home-brew solutions is intercom software.  I've dug around quite a bit for voice/video intercom software for Android, but I've come up dry.  I've played around with Skype, but the overhead is too high and there are audio issues when the tablet is being charged through the dock connector.
I plan to update this post with other options for android as I test them out on my Nexus 7 tablets.  It would be great if others could post their experiences with iOS/Android intercom apps (voice or video).
1. DroidCom
Platform: Android
Comments: Does not work on Nexus 7.  The software connects to the other "nodes" (other tablets running the software), but no audio is emitted from the other tablets when push to talk is engaged.
Verdict: Do not use.
2. Zello
Platform: Android, iOS, etc.
Comments: Works well for 1-way paging.   Stay tuned for more details.
This is something I've really wanted for a long time and has kinda been the barrier that's kept me from mounting these in every room of the house.  If a good solution comes up - preferably one that integrates with one of the HA packages, I'd be all over this.
Why not a SIP client program?  You can run a raspberry pi pbx server on the cheap, install the free paging and intercom module.  I use house extensions (201 for ipad 1, 202 for ipad 2, etc.. ) and bought a video call plugin for my Bria software.  You can have it auto answer for announcements if you want.  Additionally, you can dial out since it's a phone too. 
editted a link to the paging and intercom module
I've been searching as well and have tried out quite a few Android PTT / intercom / Walkie-Talkie but none seem really polished.  I think the current best solution may just to be to use Google Hangouts where each tablet has it's own email address and "circles".  You can start a hangout with a single tablet or a group (via a circle).  Only problem is its not really a push to talk intercom.  A general announcement like "Come to Dinner" -- is going to be a pain, you'll have to hangout with the circle and as each one picks up, you can tell them.  I guess you could also have a text hangout sent to the tablets, and maybe read it out using text to speech.  Not ideal for an intercom, but you get the built in "connectivity" -- ie, my kids could hangout through a tablet right to my phone if i'm out of the house.  So maybe this will be supplementing a PTT solution.
One of the last one's i'm trying now, is "Wifi Conference"  Seems simple enough.  I do wish they had a widget I could drop on the home screen though.
Has anyone found anything better?  I really love the look and feel of the Control4 UI -- very polished, but wont work unless you have their hardware as well.
Rather than streaming a live Google Hangout of your home to the internet, all the time, at that point you might as well just use IP cameras with audio. Also, Google Hangouts will time out after a while.
I think the trick will be to work in a SIP softphone somehow.
Or I had to call my son this weekend - he had his ipad in his room so I just facetimed him - that worked pretty well too, but no auto-answer.
Fl0ck said:
You can use the Wave app, which is a specificially designed home intercom app and you can use your devices (tablets and phones) as an intercom agent.
Wave app
Thanks for the suggestion - I just tried this on two Nexus 7 tablets, but it didn't work very well.  The audio was broken and the video was extremely poor quality (even on the highest setting).  Also, the screens rotated to landscape during a video call and the video was upside down.