In our world of smart devices, it’s no surprise that doors are also getting more intelligent. We have a variety of smart door locks on the market, which can be remotely managed or tell when you are close and unlock. We also have a growing number of security cams that can be positioned at the door and used for two-way communication, alerts and more.
What we don’t have too many of – yet – are smart doorbells that offer security cam features as part of their offering, combining services into one common sense package. But the lack of smart doorbells is changing as more ventures and companies have found ways to make video doorbells work.
So, what does a video doorbell actually do? Well, it obviously includes both a doorbell and a video cam, then adds some smart wireless technology and an app for your phone. Someone rings the doorbell, you get a buzz on your phone, and you can open the app to see the video footage of who it is – sort of the modern day version of peeking through the peephole, except you can do it anywhere thanks to your phone. Other sensors and recording features may also be added, depending on the product.
Do You Want a Video Doorbell?
It depends on your perspective on smart technology and your own needs. Frankly, if you can get your security or access needs met by a smart lock or a simple security cam, then you can find cheaper options on the market rather than buying video doorbells. On the other hand, if you want an especially advanced security cam, or the functionality of both a security cam and a smart lock, then video doorbells may be the product for you.
Popular Smart Doorbells on the Market
Ring: The Ring Video Doorbell offers a simple feature set. It uses a motion sensor and sends alerts to phones when people approach a door or step up onto the porch. This also includes some automatic footage (including sound) and stores it via cloud tech so you can view door-visitors in person even if you don’t have time to check out every event when it happens. If you do want to operate in real time, there’s a small speaker that allows you to speak out to whoever is standing at your door. Right now, unfortunately, there is no on-demand live video feed, so you can’t just use the camera whenever you want. The Ring costs $199.99 and you can install it yourself.
Blueguard: Blueguard is based on an Indiegogo smartfund project that has met its goals and is getting ready for broader production. This product combines a video doorbell with a smart lock for your door, giving you a complete package. It has a keypad for unlocking the door via a code, but it also offers fobs and smartphone apps that can unlock the door at a distance. A motion sensor can give you alerts if anyone approached, and you can lock or unlock the door both by hand and by phone. It sounds like the complete package, but right now the primary issue is that the smartfunding campaign, despite meeting its goal, still seems to be in its infancy as far as product development goes. Wait and see how many of these promises are being kept.
SkyBell: SkyBell is very similar to the Ring, but with a different style and slightly different purpose. This round doorbell includes a video camera, a small motion sensor, and both a microphone and speaker to initiate two-way conversations. The motion sensor will send alerts even if the visitor does nothing, but when the doorbell button is actually pressed, the app gives you a life feed alert, allowing you to see and speak through the device. The doorbell also includes infrared LEDs to help when it gets dark, and various placement and camera customization options. Perhaps best of all, it still looks like a normal doorbell. You can get one for $199.
Photo Credit: David Goehring