SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Amazon hosted a virtual media event Thursday to lift the curtain on a bevy of new smart home hardware, and one device in particular is most buzzworthy: an autonomous indoor drone called the Ring Always Home Cam.
The lightweight, boxy device — with compact dimensions, 5″x 7″x7″ — is designed to fly predetermined paths set by users, thereby providing greater visibility when the residence is vacated. When linked to the Ring Alarm system, users can be alerted to alarmed events via the Ring app and view high-definition video feeds from the drone on mobile devices.
Scheduled to launch sometime in 2021 and retail for $250, the device is geared for users who prefer to monitor their home without installing multiple cameras throughout the residence. In the video above you can watch how the diminutive drone, with four enclosed propellers, lifts off from its base, exposing a camera embedded in an extension below the propeller cage.
The camera only records when it is in flight, during which the drone makes an audible noise so it is obvious when footage is being recorded, Ring says. When a flight mission is completed, the device returns to the dock and charges its battery. When not in use, the Always Home Cam remains in the dock where the camera is physically blocked.
Ring Founder and CEO Jamie Siminoff told techcrunch.com the inspiration to design and market the advanced home security camera spawned from customer feedback. The company often hears from consumers who desire the ability to view happenstances in their home, but don’t necessarily want cameras deployed throughout their residence.
“It’s not practical to have a camera at every angle in every room of the home,” Siminoff said. “Even if you had unlimited resources, I think it’s still not practical. What I love about the Always Home Cam is that it really does solve this problem of being one cam for all — it allows you to now see every angle of the home, in every part of the home.”
Ring of Security for Cars
Ring also introduced three new security products for vehicles: Ring Car Alarm, Ring Car Cam, and Ring Car Connect. The idea here is to extend the company’s concept of a whole-home security ecosystem. Here are details of the three portfolio additions from a press release:
Ring Car Alarm — The discreet, wireless device plugs into the OBD-II port in 99% of cars on the road in the U.S., and alerts you in the event of bumps, break-ins, tows, and more. When an event is detected, Ring Car Alarm sends a real-time alert via the Ring app, enabling users to then trigger its siren. If users have other Ring or Alexa-enabled devices, they can easily link them to their Ring Car Alarm so when an event is detected, Ring Car Alarm can trigger their Ring devices to turn on and send audible Alexa alerts for added notification options. Some of Ring Car Alarm’s features require connectivity with Amazon Sidewalk, a shared network designed with multiple layers of encryption and operated by Amazon at no charge to customers, launching later this year.
Ring Car Cam — When a car is parked, Ring Car Cam is on guard and its intelligent sensors actively monitor for bumps and attempted break-ins. If an event is detected, Ring Car Cam sends a real-time alert to the user’s phone; they can then check in and see what is happening in and around the vehicle via the Ring app over WiFi or from anywhere via LTE (with an optional connectivity plan).
While on the road, the Ring Car Cam also helps users stay safe with Emergency Crash Assist, which requests help from first responders at the car’s location whenever a serious crash is detected, even if the user can’t make the call themselves. Additional features include Traffic Stop, which lets drivers simply say, “Alexa, I’m being pulled over,” to record the interaction and save it to the cloud. The device also features helpful privacy controls like a physical camera shutter to electronically disable the interior video and audio. Some of these features may require an optional connectivity plan.
Ring Car Connect — Ring Car Connect is an API for car manufacturers that allows customers to receive mobile alerts for detected events, watch recorded vehicle video footage, and see important vehicle information such as if the car is locked or unlocked. Starting today, any auto manufacturer can integrate on the service. The first compatible vehicles for Ring Car Connect are Tesla models 3, X, S, and Y. Once users install this aftermarket device, they can watch Tesla Sentry Mode and recorded driving footage in the Ring app over WiFi or from anywhere via LTE (with an optional connectivity plan).
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