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There has been a lot of hype regarding Ring Video Doorbells and other smart doorbells over the past couple of years. You might’ve heard some friends or family members who keep talking about them, well, even I have written articles regarding the same. However, what’s all the hype about? Is it really worth the upgrade? Are you doubtful of spending your money?
What are smart doorbells?
A smart doorbell also known as a video doorbell is a web-connected, intercom system for your home. However, unlike a standard system, these doorbells send notifications straight to your mobile devices, they show you a live video feed, of whoever is waiting on your doorstep.
This makes it easy to communicate with the visitors on your doorstep via an installed speaker, and not having to open the door. This can prove to be ideal if you’re away from home and want to receive some sort of parcel or delivery; or if you find the prospect of opening your doors to a stranger risky and wish to see who’s there first.
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Few video doorbells are even equipped with infrared sensors, motion detectors as well as AI facial recognition systems. These let you know when someone is approaching your property without before the buzzer is even pushed. This can come handy if you find your home attracts nefarious or undesirable guests.
How does a smart doorbell work?
As mentioned above, a smart doorbell is an internet-connected doorbell that notifies the smartphone or other electronic device of the house owner when there is a visitor at the door. It activates when the visitor pushes the button of the doorbell. Or, it also activates when the doorbell senses a visitor using its built-in motion sensors.
The smart locks can be either battery operated or wired. Few smart doorbells also allow the home owner to open the door remotely via a smart lock.
How do you install a smart doorbell?
For the most part installing a smart doorbell is easy. For any power source option you select, installation is pretty simple. It is especially easy if you have chosen one of the battery-powered options.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2, for instance, can be either wired up to your home, or you also have the ability to power it by a rechargeable battery.
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No matter what the case of the power option you have chosen, it’s merely a matter of securing its casing to your doorframe with adhesive tape. Then pairing the smart doorbell with your home Wi-Fi connection though the Ring app or whatever companion app is provided to get started.
How do smart doorbells get power?
Smart doorbell power sources usually fall into three categories: GFCI outlet plug-in, batteries or low-voltage wiring. Or, there could even be a combination of wired plus battery backup. It is important to know your installation options; as not every home has outlets near enough to the front door. And not all of the houses have working low-voltage wiring.
The Nest Hello can be wired to low-voltage wiring (16–24V AC), it can also be plugged into a regular outlet with a power adapter (100V, which is sold separately). The Ring Doorbell 3 can run exclusively on its rechargeable battery pack, or you also have the ability to hook it up with optional wiring. The battery powered smart doorbells generally make for the easiest installation, as there is no wiring to worry about. However, the size also tends to be a little larger than average, this is done so to contain the batteries.
Will the smart doorbell work if WIFI goes out?
No, it simply will and cannot. Say your Ring device does not have a Wi-Fi network in the vicinity, it will not be able to connect to the its server. If it is not able to connect to the server, it will not be able to work with your smartphone device.
Ring doorbells as well as cameras do not have built-in cellular backup, this means that if your internet or Wi-Fi goes out, they will not be able to operate without an internet connection. Thankfully Ring Alarm Pro customers do have another option open to them.
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The Ring Alarm Pro system provides backup internet as long as you have the Ring Protect Pro subscription, which costs around for $20 per month. This means that if the main internet connection is lost due to some reason, your home’s internet will automatically fall back to a 4G mobile data connection.
You receive 3GB for free, this should equate to around 300 Ring recordings, however, if you feel that isn’t sufficient, you can buy extra data for $3 for each extra gigabyte. Which is not really a cheap option, however, it’s better than nothing.
What happens to the smart doorbell when the power goes out?
Well, there are two possible answers, but if I had to say generally, when the power is out, the special features of your smart doorbell are out. Say, the power goes out, now the scenario depends on how you installed your smart doorbell. If you wired it, then the smart doorbell wouldn’t be smart anymore, if you installed via the batteries method there is a chance.
Why do I say there a chance, despite, power being out meaning, Wi-Fi being out, you might use your mobile data, or you might a Ring Protect Pro customer. However, in most cases the smart doorbell will act as just a regular doorbell as soon as the power goes out.
Do you need wiring for the smart doorbell?
No, not really, the simplest way you can install a video doorbell is with battery-operated devices like a Google Doorbell. With these models all you need to do is simply screw in a mounting plate and snap the fully charged doorbell into it. You don’t need to wire them, or anything, but, if you want to, you can. If you wish, you can even attach these on a back or side door, they are protected from the elements, they record at a high resolution. However, you will have to recharge the batteries once every three months.
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Smart Doorbell?
The Pros of Smart Doorbells
- You can See Visitors from Anywhere
- Smart doorbells offer users the ability to link with their devices through companion applications available on smartphones.
- While few doorbells have an application devoted only to that doorbell, there are others which are integrated into entire security systems to view multiple cameras.
- You can access the companion app provided while you are away from your home to check in on the surroundings.
- You can Communicate Without Reducing Security
- A disadvantage of the regular doorbells, is the limited availability to speak to someone without having to open the door, which in turn reduces your security.
- You Receive Alerts When Someone Visits
- Visual Security Deterrent
- There is evidence that suggests that the presence of an outdoor security camera or an alarm system will act as a deterrent for potential burglaries.
- Home Insurance Incentive
- Depending on your insurance company, you might be eligible for discounts. Or, you might be eligible for incentives with having the upgraded security measure installed outside your house.
- Night Vision Access
- There are a variety of options of smart doorbells which offer excellent night vision access. If you happen to hear sounds in the night, you can just open the app from the comfort and safety of your room to see if anything is suspicious outside.
- You can Pair Select Devices with Alexa
- For example, The Ring Video Doorbell can connect with Alexa devices.
- Easy Installation
- Exterior Security Camera
- If you have additional security cameras installed in your house, or if you are looking to add extra surveillance, a smart doorbell is an excellent option. As it serves multiple purposes.
- Depending on the type of camera along with the possible subscription service, you might have, the smart doorbell might have the ability to connect to other security cameras installed in your house.
The Cons of Smart Doorbells
- False Alerts
- While sending notification is a helpful feature, these devices can potentially send false alerts. It can be so, when it detects motion from an animal. Or, if something in the distance triggers the notification system.
- Smart doorbells can come with additional costs, on top the initial purchase of the doorbell.
- Scope of Surveillance
- Unlike other outdoor security cameras, in a smart doorbell you do not have the option to move or change the field of view.
- Instead, all you will have access to is a static video feed at all times once the device is installed. Yes, this is still an upgrade from the traditional doorbell, however, it might leave some blind spots that would require an additional security camera.
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