Ring goes all in on home security with Ring Protect
The leading video doorbell company Ring has been on a roll with new product announcements this year, with a raft of new video doorbell models (with the Video Doorbell 2, Pro, and Elite) and outdoor cameras (with the Floodlight Cam, and Spotlight Cam variants). Ring promotes their product line as providing a Ring of Security around your home, and the range has offered solid options for perimeter monitoring and video recording for a number of years.
With the announcement of Ring Protect, the company is looking to enter the home itself with a professional grade home security system that can be installed yourself. Installation is simplified by Ring’s commitment to wire-free products, but where these products have been exclusively WiFi based to date, the new Protect offerings connect to a base station via the Z-Wave protocol.
The reasons for this are two fold; Z-Wave provides an industry standard, secure, low power communication protocol that is ideally suited to installations of many sensors with a need for reliability. Secondly, being industry standard, Ring is able to offer inter-operability with a wide range of existing professional grade security sensors. Ring has indicated that 'select Z-Wave and Zigbee sensors' will be supported, but not included in their monitoring service. The base station itself will act as a WiFi bridge allowing communication with Z-Wave, ZigBee, and Bluetooth sensors, and allow the system to connect back to Ring’s servers to provide the promised monitoring and integration with their existing doorbell and security products.
Of course, there are other connected interior home security solutions. Conventional security vendors are attempting to make their offerings smarter with apps and remote control functionality and other smart device makers, such as Canary, have offerings which provide internal camera, sensor, and alarm system features. Ring's camera products aren't suitable for internal use where privacy is a concern. While notifications can be controlled, the cameras typically record any motion events regardless. The Canary solution includes privacy features and auto-arm/disarm based on peoples location, which better addresses these concerns. Still, there are many who feel that a WiFi connected camera doesn't provide enough protection on it's own to serve as a security system (I happen to prefer it, but each to his own). It is these customers the Ring Protect offering is targeting.
The pricing is a point of difference where Ring is trying to shake up the industry, offering the starter package (base station and Z-Wave extender, keypad, infrared motion sensor and door/window sensor) with a $100/year fee for the Protect Plus monitoring and cloud video storage. This seems to be an extension of their existing Ring Protect cloud storage plan for the camera products, which provides cloud storage for an unlimited number of cameras for the same price. That’s good news for existing Ring customers, and significantly undercuts more conventional monitored alarm services. There are no other fees or charges on top of that either, so it’s really all-you-can-eat.
The initial release is limited to the US and Canada, but plans to bring it to other countries are in the works. It will be interesting to see how the system setup is handled, and how easy it will be to add third party Z-wave products to the mix. Given their run rate so far, we can reliably expect a further raft of new product releases in the coming year as new accessories are added to the Protect line up.