Zara Kulish, Staff Writer
We all know Amazon as a huge online retail marketplace, but they also have their own line of products and subsidiary companies that give them stake in many smaller and more varied industries. Among the companies in the Amazon empire, not counting CEO Jeff Bezos’ acquisitions under his other corporate umbrella, Bezos Expeditions, are Whole Foods, Zappos.com, Audible, IMDb, and Twitch. Amazon’s automated home assistant, Alexa, is one of the best-selling devices of its kind, and has helped push Amazon further into the future, as well as into the homes of its customers. Amazon recently acquired Ring, a purveyor of video doorbells, representing an additional push into home automation technology.
Ring was founded in 2012 by Jamie Siminoff in Santa Monica, Calif. Ring is dedicated to providing “smart security that’s accessible to everyone.” The Ring video doorbell works with an app and sends alerts to the user’s phone when someone rings their doorbell. It also allows the homeowner to answer their door and converse with guests via a built-in video chat function on the app. The product was featured on Shark Tank in 2013, but none of the sharks invested in it. That did not prove a setback for the startup, however, as proven by their recent sale to Amazon, who, according to Reuters, paid over $1 billion for their new subsidiary. Having been bought by Amazon, Ring is now readily available to millions more people with great ease.
The video doorbell represents an incredible leap forward in the realm of home security. Since it allows the homeowner to not only monitor their entrances from afar, but also answer the door as well if necessary, people can now use their doorbells to interact with their visitors in real time, however far from home they may be.
Ring was not Amazon’s only recent foray into the field of home security. Amazon also acquired another video doorbell company called Blink a short while ago. In addition, Amazon now has their own home security system, which includes a system for remote access into peoples’ houses. The visual aspect, Cloud Cam, is an indoor security camera with a basic live feed 24 hours a day, and has the ability to store video clips when it senses motion. On its own, the Cloud Cam is fairly standard, but its accompanying software, Amazon Key, is something new. With an accompanying smartlock, the Amazon Key software allows the homeowner to grant access into their house to guests or delivery drivers. While there was some trouble with how easy it was to hack the Amazon Key system, the key system offered a solution to another security issue: people who order expensive packages online do not want to risk them being stolen, but also do not want to have to stay home to sign for them. Amazon Key lets a delivery driver place the package directly into your home, circumventing those issues, though some have expressed concerns with this practice.