Kerching! Amazon pays $1 billion for a doorbell. Smart idea?
ring doorbell startup is acquired by amazon in smart home security play

Kerching! Amazon pays $1 billion for a doorbell. Smart idea?

Amazon has bolstered its smart home offering with the acquisition of Ring, a California-based maker of video doorbells and security cameras, in a deal thought to be in worth in excess of $1 billion.

Ring’s WiFi-enabled doorbells come with motion detection and night vision as standard. They stream a live video feed to users’ tablets or smartphones. Two-way audio allows users to see and speak with whoever is there. Ring also has a range of connected home security cameras.

As recently as last year, Ring had an estimated 97% share of US video doorbell sales, according to ForbesBut competition is looming: several established smart home operators have plans to launch rival products this year.

Ringing the changes in the smart home

If Amazon’s deals for Zappos, Twitch, and Audible are anything to go by, Ring will continue to operate independently of its new owner – unlike Google’s strategic plans for Nest. That said, Amazon will want to integrate Ring’s services and customer base with Prime where possible.

“Ring is committed to our mission to reduce crime in neighbourhoods by providing effective yet affordable home security tools that make a positive impact on our homes, our communities, and the world,” a Ring spokesperson said in a statement.

“We’ll be able to achieve even more by partnering with an inventive, customer-centric company like Amazon. We look forward to being a part of the Amazon team as we work toward our vision for safer neighborhoods.”

Read more: Amazon Go store previews the future of retail in Seattle

Read more: Alexa beware! New smart home tests reveal serious privacy flaws

Internet of Business says

Anyone looking for evidence of the technology-led disruption in retail and other sectors need look no further than the fact that Amazon has paid $1 billion for a doorbell on the day it was announced that Toys R Us and Maplin face collapse, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Now, slowly but surely, Amazon is building up its smart home offering. It acquired home security startup, Blink, toward the end of 2017. Meanwhile, Amazon’s indoor Cloud Cam is already being integrated with the Key program – the controversisal service that gives couriers permission to drop off shopping when customers aren’t at home.

As well as tapping into Ring’s existing customers, adding more camera technology to Amazon Key could be what’s needed to ease the reasonable anxiety that people have over letting strangers into their homes while they’re out. Yet it doesn’t alter the fact that Key is an ambitious – if potentially doomed – venture. 

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