As we continue to automate our homes and introduce smart technology around the home to make life a lot easier to manager, it is no surprise our decades old doorbells received a makeover. Hello Smart Video doorbells #Always Home
We have come a long way with the every fateful doorbells. I recall growing up and noticing the switch on my friend’s door. The switch looked like a light switch but this one had a little image that resembles a church bell.
At the front door, my friend instead of knocking, pressed the switch and I could hear something that sounded like an old school telephone ringing from one of those old school black and white movies but this noise came from inside the house and seconds later someone opened the door.
Fast forward a few decades on and here we are still with the doorbell but more advanced and more intelligent than just a switch and telephone noise to alert the home owners. As one video doorbell manufacturer puts it “home security at your finger tips”
I am not entirely sure who invented the first video doorbell but I can say the innovation has been spreading like wild fire ever since and many companies are adopting and re branding the technology for exploits and sale.
I became aware of the ring doorbell in passing through YouTube ads that I tend to click off after five seconds and not paying much attention to the technology. Practically dismissing it as another gimmick tech.
Then it was announced that Rapper Nas stood to make millions if not billions from the sale of a piece of tech video doorbell technology known as Ring to Amazon.
In my excitement for Nas I jumped on the internet to get some more insight into this video doorbell company and as with everything on the Internet there is always more to it behind the scene.
Currently in the market there are popular video doorbells and the not so popular ones for various reasons including scepticism from the public consumers and level of security as well prices.
The fancy brands are Hive doorbell, Ring i.e Ring video doorbell, Ring Video Doorbell 2 Ring Video Doorbell pro and then you have its closest competitor the Nest which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet. They grange from $180 up to $400 depending on spec and add on’s.
It is worth mentioning others that also offer similar security features and practically do the same thing but on a cheaper budget include: Arlo Audio Doorbell, Blink Video Doorbell and Soliom Video Doorbell just to mention a few.
These are the major players at the moment and they command a reasonable steep price at the beginning but recently prices are starting to come down as other not so popular brands are snatching up the average price markets.
But hey you cant put a price on your home security right and i can argue it might be cheaper than paying a whole lot for home content insurance for those of us who can relate.
But back to these beauties, I gathered that Amazon stated that part of the reason for the purchase back in 2017 was to incorporate it with their delivery services where delivery drivers can access the home of a customer via the ring app + Amazon app and leave the package they ordered safe inside the house.
This is to curb the issue of missing packages or leaving packages with neighbours or inside bins or behind the homes and finally when no one is home and the delivery driver has to make another trip down to the local post office to drop your package.
The slim designs makes them very easy to install on narrow door frames and the apps simple instructions makes it easy to setup as well. it is as easy as out of the box immediate access to your camera live feed once the apps is setup on your mobile device.
As well as your phone you can also access the camera feed from the website when you login. This is probably practical for those of us in the office and are not allowed to have your mobiles on or on the desk next to you.
Greetings contains some default standard ‘Hello there’ with a female sounding voice although you could customise your greetings to be played out once the doorbell detects a movement or when someone appears in front of the camera.
I have touched on some of the features of these devices below and given my thought in-between of what I think of them.
Say goodbye to the days of running to the door only to find out its that annoying neighbour of yours wanting to borrow some sugar. I mean don’t mind sugar borrowers its that they always come back for more. Don’t forget those cold callers knocking on your door when you are expect your sweetheart at the same time Lol.
Finally those pesky no good for nothing kids that always play pranks with your property, well now you can see who they are and identify or even speak to them using your somewhat intelligent doorbell.
Some of the cameras are 1600 by 1200 Hi definition so picture Quality is pretty good by using the app, you can adjust the camera quality to suit your WiFi signal strength.
Night Mode can be manually edited in the settings if you are unsatisfied with the default setting. This could be because of the type of light you have or the shadow cast by buildings and trees around your home.
Alerts include push notifications on your mobile and emails to your email address whenever your video doorbell detects motion, sees a person or hear a loud sound.
When you some rings the doorbell you get a notification and you are able to communicate live with the person at the front door and see who they are using the camera feed and two way audio.
For those of you who turn up to your family’s home without first calling to check if anyone is in., fear not as some of these doorbells have the Home Away Assist, which is the ability for the owners to unlock their doors from their mobile devices or send access codes to your family to give them access to getting into the house.
So when it rains you are not stuck outside waiting for your boyfriend or wife to get home first.
Some the doorbells can be scheduled to go on or off at quit times. Personally I’m not sure why i would want to have this feature activated when it involves 24 hour security around my home.
But I found out this feature does not turn off the doorbell completely. It only turns off or reduced the chimes/rings inside the house. But still i would not want to have this feature activated either way.
Video Feed storage
Video doorbell generally come with free limited storage for your devices depending on how many cameras you have you have installed in your home as well as add ons such as flood lights etc.
I think the Nest video doorbell offers up to three hours of video storage. But as with most devices that require storage these days, you have to pay a subscription fee for additional video storage just as you would for your IPhone.
I would say this is the only downside I can think of with regards to this piece of tech. Yet, you cannot put a price on security and what better place to store your private security footage than the cloud.
With the Nest aware subscription at $5 a month you get 24hr video recording, facial recognition safe video clips that can be linked to your other home devices such as the Google home or Amazon’s Echo or Hive and then you also get the motion detection zones among other perks.
Newer models in their third or fourth generation coming are beginning to include compatibility with more platforms, two or more cameras, Artificial Intelligence AI, smart and flood lights which turn on when the motion sensors from the doorbell is activated either by movement or sound.
A colleague of mine was recently woken up around 2:00am at night by his doorbell sensors and chimes which switched on all the lights in the house after there was a cracking sound.
He narrated that he was taken by surprise and rushed downstairs fearing a break in but was relieved to notice one of his baby’s toy had fallen from the edge of the table.
For all intent and purpose I believe this innovation is going to be around for decades to come and we are yet to scratch the surface with this as newer features and development are being added to the video doorbell, the next stage will be to make them more intelligent with more face and voice recognition among other fascinating controls.
I would like to think there is a doorbell out there that potentially would ring the police in the event of a break in and the home owner is away on a trip or holiday or maybe 10 miles away from home.
In my next piece of tech search I would be looking at the user experience, security vulnerabilities and issues that users ( my colleagues) have encountered so far with the various brands of the video doorbell.
As we all know internet access + camera feed means it is a target for bad guys, just ask the baby monitor manufacturers.