smart door locks and video door bell There is great convenience for those living in single-family homes, but what about the millions who live in flats, apartments and condos? They may also prefer to answer their front door from their phone – whether they are home or not – and perhaps discuss their visitor without getting off the couch or rushing home from the office. Ring, the maker of the original video doorbell, thinks there’s a solution.
The Ring Intercom is a DIY, retrofit device that connects to the intercom inside your home and connects to the Ring app on your smartphone via Wi-Fi. It is specifically designed for European apartment buildings where several flats (or apartments) have one entry point and only one audio intercom system is installed. With Ring Intercom installed, when someone rings the bell of your flat, you can talk to your visitor and talk to them through the app. There’s no video component—it’s all audio—and there’s no recording feature. Ring Intercom mimics the existing function of your intercom on your phone, so you can talk to your front door from anywhere.
The main advantage of Ring intercoms is the ability to talk to visitors and buzz them remotely, using your phone or Echo device from anywhere if you’re at home. But having a package or food delivery get it inside the building and potentially to your front door, rather than being exposed to the elements and potential burglars, also adds another level of security and convenience.
The battery-powered Ring intercom is launching at IFA in Berlin this week. It will first be available in the UK for £119, and in Germany, with pre-orders starting on 28 September and shipping on 26 October. A bundle with the Ring Battery charging station and a spare battery will cost £149.99. Ring, which is also owned by Amazon, is offering the product including additional battery devices at a starting price of £89.99, with a total price of around £48. Ring Intercom will be available in France, Spain and Italy in early 2023 and is due to arrive in the US next year
“It’s the obvious solution like a video doorbell,” Ring’s founder and chief inventor Jamie Siminoff said in an interview. ledge, “If I was born or grew up in Europe, I probably would have made it first.”
He says that three times more people live in single-family homes in multi-unit buildings around the world, so this solution was one the company had been trying to develop for a long time. Siminoff said that while its doorbell product line “has done well in Europe,” there was a large percentage of the population that simply couldn’t use one.
Ring introduced peephole cam a few years ago, which worked for the apartment doors (the doorbell camera was in the peephole). But that didn’t solve how to talk to someone calling at your building’s door (and.) Ring closed the peephole last year,
“There are a thousand variations” [on intercom systems],” Siminoff said. “It is designed to work with more than 90 percent of them. It took a lot of work to develop, and it’s packed with a ton of intelligence that decides what it’s connected to, how some smart thermostats work.
The Ring Intercom connects to your internal intercom handset and is powered by a rechargeable, reusable battery. It is compatible with most audio intercom handsets (but not video systems), and is a Compatibility Checker on Ring.com, No structural changes are required to your apartment, and the installation process is completely DIY.
When someone presses the button on your apartment at the main door, it starts a two-way conversation through the Ring app. You can answer calls only when someone is buzzing in your apartment, so you can’t use it to hear people walking in the door whenever you want.
There’s no recording capability, as with Ring Video Doorbells; It’s just live, two-way conversation. “I don’t know if people would like to” [recording],” Siminoff says. “And there are local laws around recording audio.” The Activity Log in the Ring app will let you know if you missed a visitor. The Activity Log also shows what happened by you or anyone in your home The Remote Unlock feature has been activated by the shared user to whom you have granted access.
The Ring intercom also has an optional feature that allows Amazon delivery drivers secure, time-based access to your building to drop off packages, similar to Amazon’s Key program, so you don’t even have to answer the buzzer. Ring says it’s adding an auto-verify guest feature that lets you share a revocable virtual key with your dog walker or cleaning person. This is something that most smart door locks allow you to do.
The Ring intercom can also connect to Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, so you can use any Echo smart speaker or display as a hands-free intercom and talk to your visitor through it. You can also unlock the door by voice, but you need to set up and use a voice PIN code.
While Ring Intercom will operate in the US, Siminoff said Ring chose to focus on Europe for the launch, where there is a large potentially untapped market. “I think everyone has always assumed that once you get to Amazon, you have magic full of engineers and unlimited resources,” he says. “But we have to focus, so we wanted to focus on Europe, launch it there, roll it out, then we’ll bring it to the US.”
While Ring says you can link the Ring intercom to other Ring devices like the Ring Indoor Cam, there’s no combined functionality; It’s just that both the devices can be accessed from the same app. An intercom is a purely audio device. “There are ways you can add video to these types of devices,” Siminoff says. “But it’s a much harder job to do and there are more parties involved, such as building owners. With Ring Intercom, you can stay connected from your front door with a device you can buy and install” Sunday with just a few screws and a half hour,” Siminoff says.
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