All About Smart Doorbells
Ring, Nest, August, Blink, SkyBell + More Doorbells
What is a smart doorbell?
A smart doorbell is an internet-connected device that plays video to the homeowners’ phone app or computer. Mounted to the outside of any door frame (or anywhere), smart doorbells are activated when a guest presses the button or sets off motion sensors in the doorbell. These popular devices are designed to show everything at your door — from packages and friends to unwanted guests / potential home intruders — whether you’re at home or hundreds of miles away you can answer your door by phone.
Why are smart doorbells so popular?
In 2017, researchers at Ring (now owned by Amazon after a $1 billion acquisition) concluded that nearly one in five U.S. homeowners has been a victim of package theft. “Porch pirating” sees a spike around the holidays — during the 2017 holiday season, the New York Times reported on the problem, and said that while local law-enforcement officers were stepping up efforts, most risk situations could be remedied with video-connected doorbells.
What makes smart doorbells different from smart locks or security cameras?
Smart locks allow homeowners to lock or unlock their door from anywhere, or to grant remote access to someone like a babysitter or Airbnb guest. While a smart doorbell doesn't open your door (yet), it provides a video of activity happening on a doorstep similar to what a security camera would do.
Models from Ring, Nest, Skybell, Blink and August include a video camera, intercom, and two-way talk options. These smart doorbells allow you to answer the door like a FaceTime call. Ring 2 and Nest Hello offer night vision and Google's Nest Hello has developed “familiar face” alerts that use facial-recognition technology.
What are the power and compatibility requirements?
Most doorbells need 16 volts to operate. However, if you have an older home there might not be enough juice to power a smart doorbell. This can usually be fixed by having a Doorbell Ninja pro replace your doorbell transformer. If you don’t already have a doorbell, no problem - just buy a battery-powered smart doorbell, like Blink or Ring 2, which runs on batteries. You will need to recharge the unit every 6 months or so.
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