Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Last month, Ring, an Amazon subsidiary, began shipping its home alarm security kit, called Ring Alarm. The $199 system includes a central base station, a keypad for activating and de-activating the system, a contact sensor for monitoring doors and windows, a motion detector for sensing movement within a room and a range extender, which connects to sensors located too far from the central base station. Ring sells the sensors individually to build up a system.
Ring also offers a professional home monitoring service for $10 a month without the need for a contract. The fee includes LTE connectivity as a backup when local wireless and Wi-Fi connectivity goes down. The system runs on a battery backup if the power goes out.
Other Ring devices such as the company's smart doorbells and spotlight cameras can be integrated into the Ring Alarm system. The ecosystem is expanding inside and outside the home.
With its alarm kit, Ring is joining the growing market for self-installed home security systems. As consumers feel increasingly comfortable in installing and maintaining smart home devices, security systems have become a mainstream component of this trend attracting a series of providers, with Amazon's Ring and Google's Nest among the front runners.
Nest offers a home security system called Nest Secure, similar in spirit to Ring's Alarm system, if not in price. Nest's system costs $399, twice the cost of Ring's system. Furthermore, Nest's monitoring service starts at $19 per month.
Ring's chosen to come out fighting, competing hard with Nest in this nascent market. Security is becoming an important element in the ongoing rivalry between smart home systems, primarily between Amazon and Google. Once consumers choose an ecosystem, they're less likely to leave or mix and match them.
Ring has been an impressive and innovative company since it first began selling smart doorbells. Amazon will be hoping that success comes knocking.