If Amazon is successful in turning its Alexa into the operational brain of a modern smart home, Ring will be giving it its eyes.
Amazon expanded its network of household, internet-connected gadgets with the acquisition of Ring, a high-tech doorbell makers based in Santa Monica, for the price of $1 billion.
Ring doorbells are being used already by over 2 million customers. The improbable success arrives five years after the company’s founder, Jamie Siminoff, has his idea rejected on Shark Tank, the popular television show.
However, the company was able to prove that demand existed for doorbells that are video-enabled, which allow users to see what is outside their front door through a computer or smartphone.
This technology gives the user a sense of security as well as a remedy for big problem today for e-commerce – package thieves.
That is a great benefit for the e-commerce behemoth Amazon, which revolutionized how people shop and the way their goods are delivered to them.
However, more exists to the acquisition of Ring by Amazon than just protecting parcels delivered to the house, say analysts.
Amazon has quietly been acquiring new technology as a way to bolster its capabilities in a smart home.
Amazon has recently focused extensively on just Alexa, the highly popular home speaker that is also an artificial intelligence device with the ability to answer questions as well as make purchases on Amazon.
Three years ago, Amazon acquired Rachio the smart lawn sprinkler maker. Also in 2015, Amazon acquired Scout Alarm the home security business.
With investments across many different industries – retail, hardware, grocery, AI – it is not out of the realm of possibilities to see a future in which someone tells Alexa to purchase groceries, a delivery worker picks up that order at Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, and a customer monitors the delivery of the groceries at the doorstep through the use of Ring.
One of the most recent as well as controversial experiments by Amazon involves the Amazon Key, which is a service that allows a courier to enter homes to leave packages. If this is successful, it could end package theft, but if it ends up being unsuccessful it may erode the trust consumers have in Amazon.
Ring’s doorbells that are equipped with cameras might give Amazon shoppers who are hesitant, reassurance in allowing strangers to open their front door.
The idea for the video-enabled doorbell came to Siminoff after he determined that while brainstorming business ideas he could not hear his doorbell in his garage.