Until now. Today, Ring says the Always Home Camera will be available soon—but by invitation only (Ring didn’t confirm pricing). The idea behind the cam is that uses active sensors and a “dedicated neural processing unit” to pick up on noise or activity within the home, and then automatically flies out of its docking station—a receptacle that also blocks the camera when the drone is resting—to record whatever movement is happening in the home. Ring’s president, Leila Rouhi, said in an interview before the event that certain design considerations had to be made before the drone could be released. The camera has to be able to identify where windows are located, differentiate between a pet skulking around the house versus an intruder, and avoid chandeliers, she said.
This may all be true, but strong reactions to the reveal of the in-home drone last year may have also led to Amazon hitting pause on the project for a while. “Do not, under any circumstances, put an Amazon surveillance drone in your house,” advocacy group Fight for the Future tweeted at the time. Well, now some lucky customers will be able to do just that.
Ring Alarm Pro
Amazon hopes you haven’t given up on Ring, its smart-home brand that came under fire in 2019 for its controversial data-sharing agreements with law enforcement and a spate of hacks. Ring’s newest hardware is the Ring Alarm Pro, a security monitoring system that doubles as a router.
For $250, you get a base station with Eero’s Wi-Fi 6 router built-in (Amazon bought Eero in 2019). High-speed LTE backup keeps it running even if your internet goes down. For $50 more, you’ll get a range extender, an alarm keypad, a motion detector, and four sensors for windows and doors. The alarm has the ability to store videos locally with Ring Edge, which is nice for anyone who doesn’t want their data on a cloud. It’s available for Ring Alarm Pro and Ring Protector subscribers and comes with a 64-GB MicroSD card, which stores about 47 hours of video, according to the company.
There’s also a new Pro subscription in the Ring Protect plans, which costs $200 a year or $20 a month. You’ll get professional monitoring, backup internet on all Ring devices, access to the Alexa Guard Plus helpline, and more robust online security using Eero Secure.
Virtual Security Guard
If you’re a small business owner or you have multiple houses or rental properties, Ring’s new Virtual Security Guard might sound appealing. A third-party service—Rapid Response, though Ring says other security monitoring companies will join later—can monitor outdoor cameras anytime they’re in armed mode. These agents will be able to view motion alerts and respond accordingly, like triggering an alarm and alerting police if an intruder is spotted. Ring says the agents can only view live feeds when motion is detected, and never when the camera is disarmed. You’ll have to apply for early access.
New Alerts for Ring’s Doorbells and Cameras
There are also two new alert types you can use with Ring’s existing doorbells and cameras: Package Alerts and Custom Event Alerts. With Package Alerts, available on the Video Doorbell 2 Pro and Video Dooorbell (2020), you’ll receive a notification whenever packages are delivered in a specific zone. Custom Event Alerts work with the Ring Cam Battery to recognize when an object is in a certain condition—like when a garage door is left open or a car is in the driveway. You can customize the exact areas and objects you want to monitor and the Ring app will send any necessary alerts to your phone.
Protecting Job Sites
Working with The Home Depot, Ring’s new JobSite Security bundle aims to make it easier to monitor job sites. There are several bundles to customize to your liking, but it includes the Ring Alarm Pro with the option to add the Ring Protect Pro subscription service for cellular connectivity with 24/7 backup internet (to keep devices running online even if there’s an internet outage). You’ll be able to purchase and connect it to additional accessories like Ring Power Packs, smart cameras, and smart lighting. It’s available exclusively at The Home Depot and bundles will start at $400.
Blink Video Doorbell
If you’re not into Ring, there’s always Blink, another smart-home company Amazon acquired. It just announced its very first Video Doorbell, complete with 1080p HD video for day and night, alerts sent to your phone, two-way audio, and up to two years of battery life (unless you choose to wire it). It’s compatible with Echo and Fire devices, which you can use to monitor the camera and control it via Alexa voice commands. It starts at $50.