Ring Pro Video Doorbell Gets Better Motion Detection, Video - InformationWeek

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Data Management // IoT
01:06 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

Ring Pro Video Doorbell Gets Better Motion Detection, Video

The updated Ring Pro can set customized motion zones and record in 1080p HD for a clearer look at your front stoop, making any smart home that much smarter.

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On Wednesday, Ring revealed the Ring Pro, a refreshed version of its popular video doorbell. The Pro corrects two of the previous generation product's biggest problems: wonky motion detection and mediocre video quality. The company, led by serial entrepreneur James Siminoff, recently scored some $61.2 million in Series C funding. It needs the cash to keep up with the more than 50,000 orders per month.

The Ring Pro offers what Ring calls advanced motion detection. It allows homeowners and small businesses to fine-tune the shape of the areas scanned for motion. The idea is to help reduce the number of false positives, or motion readings from things that aren't of concern, such as passing cars or neighbors walking the dog. (This is an issue my original Ring doorbell struggled with, forcing me to turn off motion detection entirely.) The motion zones are managed through the Ring mobile application, which is available for Android, iOS, and Windows 10 devices.

(Image: Ring)

(Image: Ring)

Ring Pro ups the video ante as well, and now captures video at 1080p HD resolution. The improved video clarity provides a better look at the person or persons who've rung the bell, and a cleaner recording of motion events. The Ring Pro includes LEDs for improved night vision. The camera captures a 160-degree angle of view, which means it can see almost everything in front of it.

The new video doorbell features a revised design. The unit is 1.8 inches wide, which is significantly narrower than its 2.45-inch predecessor. Moreover, Ring Pro includes four exchangeable faceplates (in black, silver, white, and brown) to allow for a greater degree of personalization. It is weatherproof and can handle temperature extremes between -5°F and 120°F, as well as driving rain, sleet, and snow. Ring claims the unit is theft-proof, and will replace any Ring Pro that is stolen for free.

The Ring Pro ditches the (rechargeable) battery of the original in favor of power provided by a wired doorbell. The kit includes a bracket that slides over the existing doorbell wires. The Ring Pro offers bank-grade encryption and operates on 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz WiFi networks. When the doorbell is rung, or motion is detected, the Ring Pro alerts homeowners via the mobile app. Homeowners can then view who's at the door via the video feed and "answer" the door from their phone via a two-way voice call.

[Read IoT Reality: Smart Homes Not Smart Enough Yet.]

The Ring Pro does not record video for free. Ring offers a 30-day trial, after which users need to pony up some cash. At $30 per year, which includes six months of recordings, it's hardly expensive. For comparison sake, the Nest home security camera costs $100 per year for 10 days of recordings or $300 per year for 30 days of recordings. Another difference is that the Ring Pro only records motion events and doorbell activity, while the Nest records 24/7.

The Ring Pro is available for preorder via Ring.com. The smart home device costs $249.99 and ships in late April.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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User Rank: Apprentice
4/28/2016 | 10:27:34 PM
Disapointment for AIRBNB, 2nd homes and vacation homes, leaving the country for extended stay? Forget it
Ring video doorbell is a misleading product when it comes to charging the battery. I was looking into hardwiring it while out of the country most of the year and I am told that hardwiring will not keep the battery charged and will need charging eventually. The Ring Solar panel, which I thought was a solution , the mini usb will not fit between the rack and wall mount. Ring Pro Power kit is not available unless you buy Ring Pro. I have already invested in 2 Ring doorbells ($400), one is already faulty and discharges in a week. I got a replacement, but cannot install it for weeks, I am 8 hours away from my second home. These new Ring features are not downeard compatible which sucks. I amtesting. to a Nest Cam (much better audio/pic). With a waterproof case, which I can monitor via motion and 2 way talk. Ring is very disappointing for owners of vacation or second homes. Also the battery takes 4 hours to charge. So you have no doorbell while charging. Upset customer
User Rank: Apprentice
3/23/2016 | 12:00:54 PM
no way
There is no way that they sell 50.000 units per month. There are metrics to estimate the sales of a product. The easiest way is to look up the number of reviews at Amazon. With a product like Ring the most likely multiplier for existing reviews vs. actual sales is times 10-12. With almost 7.000 reviews you can estimate close to 100.000 units being sold so far. The product has been available for around 16 months. Even with much accelerated sales over time, there is no explaination for monthly sales in access of 10.000 per month. Unless you count the product sitting on the shelves of Best Buy and alike which have been technicaly sold by Ring but have found no buyer yet.

This figure is in line with other overall marketing techniques Ring has been using in the past. They scammed early adopters with a faulty product called Doorbot and failed to replace it with the new Ring model. They acknowledged that their first model was faulty and told early adopters to pony up another 100 dollars if they wanted a working unit called Ring. I used both versions of their product and tested other offerings like the Skybell und Doorbird as well. Here are some observations I made:

The third incarnation oft he Ring doorbell, formerly known as the Doorbot, seems to correct some shortcomings of this doorbell. While the first version (Doorbot) was practically unusable, the Ring promised a much better experience.  But some design flaws prevented the Ring of being a good and practical solution. The most important flaw was the decision to base the design on battery use. In order to achieve at least a few weeks of use without recharging, the Ring was designed in a way where the unit has to go into a (deep) sleep mode when not in use. Every time you press the button or activating the motion sensor the Ring has to wake up. And this takes a couple of seconds. Several disadvantages derived from this design:

1.     A  long latency when between ringing the Ring a notification on your phone. Sometimes more than 10-15 seconds. So it regularly happens that people walk away before you have chance to talk to them. Unfortunately there is no way to initiate  or restart the communication from your remote device (phone).

2.     This fact leeds to the scenario almost everybody experiences with the recording based on motion. Before the Ring is up and running and recording, you see the peoples back while walking away from your door. The security aspect promised by using the Ring is heavily diminished if you cannot identify who was there.

3.     The battery did not nearly last as long as promised, because the motion sensors sensitivity could not really be adjusted and the Ring was, depending on the actual installation scenario, constantly awakened from sleep mode.

4.     The only way to connect to your network is WiFi. This alone adds to a longer delay when between ringing the Ring a notification on your phone. An Ethernet interface would have been a perfect solution to provide power by using PoE as well.

5.     The biggest problem is the demand in bandwidth the Ring has. An upload speed of 1.5 Megabits is still a prerequisite not every access point provides. Combined with the forced use of WiFI which adds an overhead of needed bandwidth and other devices on your network using upload bandwidth concurrently, you would have to have at least 2 Megabits of upload bandwidth for a decent and stable video quality.

With the new Ring Pro design, not based on battery any more, quite a few concerns or flaws are now addressed or least addressable. Point 4 remains and if the Ring Pro made any progress on point 5 remains to be seen when the product is available.

One feature now possible is what Ring calls Life view without scarifying battery life. But Ring promises this feature to be implemented for the current generation of the Ring as well in two months from now. Based on the battery capacity the Ring has it seems that using this feature would mean recharging the Ring after a few days of use. A scenario you probably do not like while away from home for a few days and with no chance to recharge.

I have tested almost every device in this category, like the Skybell, the Doorbird and some no name Chinese products. The only product offering a stable technical solution so far is the Doorbird with a technical design avoiding the potential flaws the Ring and the Ring Pro has. The disadvantage is higher price point 349 vs. 249 dollars. The entry level product from Doorbird is much bigger than the Ring and has a typical German design you might like or not. There are versions of the Doorbird (series 20X) available, based on a stainless steel design, which rival the most sophisticated professional products. But they are in a different price category starting at 500 dollars. Given the fact that a doorbell is a product you might want to use for years it still could be a good investment. Having bought the Doorbot, the current Ring and possibly the Ring Pro it adds up the 650 dollars and still does not deliver what you really want.
User Rank: Author
3/16/2016 | 11:38:25 PM
Smarter Doorbells have finally arrived...

Glad to see the improvements are coming to fruition for these doorbells they seemed so promising when introduced but their limitations kept me away. Now I may have to get one! The motion sensing is also great because it might catch a would be thief that doesn't actually ring the bell.

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