From Ding to Ring, Doorbells and Buzzers Smarten Up

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Ring doorbell app

Seemingly simple household products keep getting smarter—and the phrase “Dumb as a doorbell” couldn’t be more obsolete. The vacuum can be controlled from the office, the fridge can reorder groceries, and the art can change depending on who is in the room. Now it is the doorbell’s turn.

The basic button informing homeowners that someone is at the door has gone high-tech, as exemplified by two soundalike brands: the just-launching Ding and the relaunching Ring.

The UK-based Ding allows homeowners to immediately communicate with whoever is ringing the bell through a smartphone so that if the woman or man of the house isn’t home, she or he can talk it over with a delivery person or visitor that they are sorry to miss. Retailers should be happy to see the smart doorbell movement occurring since they are losing up to £780m ($1.01 billion) each year due to failed deliveries, according to IMRG.

Creators John Nussey and Avril O’Neill see their product being potentially helpful to those living with disabilities or who are at home with young children as well. “You need something that allows you to live that kind of on-demand lifestyle,” Nussey told the Guardian. “The next step is to get the product out of the door and into people’s homes.”

That entails releasing (in August) the more than 800 doorbells that were pre-ordered from Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns and then launching the product for the general market later this year.

“There are always challenges getting to market, no matter what route you take, but the benefit of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites is that they are a sounding board for your idea,” Nussey told the Guardian. “There are a few changes we’ve made based on feedback and a few features that we’ve prioritised due to popular demand.”

Meanwhile, Ring, which launched its first version early in 2015, is more focused on doorbells that use video. Its batteries are easily changed but charges extra if users want to store past video clips from the doorbell in the cloud, CNET notes. It also might be too big to fit on every doorframe.

Ring actually captures video even when someone just comes up to the door and doesn’t actually ring the bell, Tech Hive notes. When someone does ring the bell, the homeowner can communicate with him or her via a smartphone app. Ring has partnerships with such organizations as Google’s Alexa, Wink, and IFTTT to help people access their doorbell information in different ways. According to the Daily Caller, Amazon sold out of the ones it had set aside on Prime Day.

These aren’t the only smart doorbells on the market. Doorbolt, SkyBell and August Doorbell Cam also come to mind. However, these are the newest to a market that is sure to see some contraction and growth in the coming years.

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