Amazon’s New Flying Home Security Drone
Amazon’s new “Ring” camera is an autonomous flying drone — an indoor security camera drone — for inside the home.
The “Ring Always Home Cam” is another new product added to its growing roster of smart home devices. Unlike other security cameras by Amazon, the Always Home Cam is a flying camera drone that docks when it is not used. When not in use, the drone-like device is designed to fit snug inside a cubic dock with a central opening. Once activated, it rises up from the dock and flies on its pre-set path.
This autonomous drone-style camera has a camera that is embedded into the lower part of a central rod, which is attached to a flat, fan-like element on the top of the device that is connected to a series of sensors in the home, which enables it to fly around the home to record disturbances when the resident is away.
This security camera is designed to automatically fly to predetermined areas in the user’s residence if one of the sensors is triggered by a potential break-in. Ring President, Leila Rouhi, describes it this way: “The path is entirely determined by the customer … you actually walk the device around your home and … train it on that path and can set different waypoints for the camera to fly to.”* When the sensors are triggered, the owner will receive a smartphone alert that makes it possible for them to watch the footage live.
It has HD live streaming and a 5-minute runtime, and takes about an hour to charge. According to Rouhi, the short runtime is deliberate, since the purpose is to make it a “purpose-driven security camera.”*
The Ring drone can work with the Ring Alarm security kit, so that if activity is detected while the security system is set to “away mode,” the Always Home Cam will leave its dock and fly around to see what is happening.
Amazon, which now sells a growing variety of smart home security, automation devices, and related accessories, also says that later this year, it will be possible to turn on end-to-end encryption in the Ring app’s Control Center in order to improve the security of its devices.
Ring founder, Jamie Siminoff, shares how he envisioned this new product:
“Instead of simply encouraging customers to buy more cameras and set them up in more locations around the home, how could we solve this problem with one solution? We wanted to create one camera that could give users the flexibility of every viewpoint they want around the home, while delivering on our founding principles of privacy and security.”*
Privacy & Security
Ring takes part in the “Neighbors” program partnership with law enforcement agencies allowing Ring customers to share their saved video clips.
Privacy advocates have voiced concern over how Ring and law enforcement agencies collect and use the information they gather. Security, therefore, has been a big topic of conversation, especially following user data being exposed in December, 2018. This revelation prompted Ring to require two-factor authentication and add a privacy and security Control Center in the app where customers can more easily find and make changes to their personal account settings.
Ring also has patents for facial recognition technology that would scan through law enforcement databases.
Ring promises to provide a list of compatible devices later this year.
Amazon is planning to make the Ring Always Home Cam available in 2021 for $250.
The “Ring Always Home Cam” makes a lot of sense to those who do not want to buy more cameras and set them up in more locations around the home. To have one camera that can provide the flexibility of every viewpoint around the home, with privacy and security, is a dream come true for many residents.