Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Ring, a California start-up, has made it clear that the purpose of the video doorbell is security. When someone's at the front door, no matter if you're home or away, you want to see who it is.
Ring essentially made the market for the new product category of smart doorbells. It's now riding a wave of tech-savvy consumers who are turning to do-it-yourself monitoring solutions to stay connected to their home and possessions.
The company currently controls about 70 percent of the US market for smart doorbells, a market which should approach about 1 million units for 2017, up from roughly 600,000 in 2016. The products start at about $200 and require a steady hand and a certain degree of confidence to self-install. But once they're configured, they offer some app-based peace of mind. Smart doorbells are connected to the home network. When the bell or motion sensor detects activity, it sends a notification to the app, which enables monitoring and two-way audio, allowing the user to communicate with anyone at the door.
Parcel deliveries have become a major reason for purchasing smart doorbells. As online shopping increases, so does the level of package theft. At least in theory, smart doorbells along with other monitoring hardware have become a method of deterring thieves. It's a theme of Ring's ads.
Home monitoring solutions are becoming an important part of the connected home and Ring is expanding its product portfolio to reflect its growing desire to have every corner of the house covered. It now makes a range of security cameras to accompany its smart video doorbells. The products all use the same app and cloud-based storage service.
These are consumer devices that can see at night, sense their surroundings and sound an alarm. They're also learning to play with other smart products in the home. For example, Ring users can access video feeds through Amazon's Echo Show, by using a voice command such as, "Alexa, show me the front door".
Ring is addressing some clear frustrations for consumers, establishing itself as a physical world equivalent of antivirus protection software and is being joined by start-ups and traditional lock-making companies. Products from companies such as August, SkyBell and Yale are moving in on the same category and we expect others to come knocking. For now, Ring is the belle of the smart doorbell ball.