Ring's Video Doorbell allows users to see and speak with visitors to their home via a mobile device, no matter where they are ... and it's not just a pie-in-the-sky project. The company recently announced that it has raised US$28 million in Series B funding led by Sir Richard Branson, Shea Ventures and American Family Insurance.
Originally known as DoorBot, Ring rebranded last year and launched its first product under the Ring moniker at the same time. The DoorBot device Gizmag featured back in 2012 worked on much the same principles as the firm's current devices – it connected to a home Wi-Fi network to stream two-way audio and video to the user via their internet-connected smartphone or tablet.
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Since then, the devices have become much more refined. The most obvious difference between the old DoorBot device and the Ring devices of today is the design. What was defined by a fairly uninspiring curved aluminium faceplate has been replaced with a much sleeker self-contained device.
The Video Doorbell still connects to a user's home Wi-Fi network, but is now activated by way of built-in motion sensors, rather than when the button is pressed. This means both that users can be notified of visitors (or suspect individuals lurking about) and video recording can be initiated sooner.
Video is now recorded in HD, while night vision is one of the features that has been carried over from the older versions. Among the most recently announced features of Ring's service is Cloud Recording. This allows all HD footage captured to be saved to the cloud, accessed from anywhere via the accompanying mobile app (for iOS or Android) or a computer and easily shared with others.
Another recently added feature is Ring Chime. The Chime device is a ringer that plugs into a power socket and sounds when the Ring doorbell is pressed. Although simple, this bestows the Ring doorbell with the functionality of a normal doorbell that was otherwise lost by the device, and means that users don't miss a visitor if their phone is in another room at home.
An internal rechargeable lithium-polymer battery that lasts for over a year has replaced the earlier four AA setup. Alternatively, the Ring device can be connected to existing doorbell wiring for power.
Ring says its doorbells can be installed in a matter of minutes and that they will replace them free of charge if they are stolen. They can be bought at the company's website for US$199. If you want to shop around for similar products, you could also check out the Peeple device.
The video below provides an overview of the Ring Video Doorbell.