Because back-to-back news cycles, essentially in miniature, are just more time than we have in a day, so today I decided to build a presentation when really I’m just going to hold a bunch of my items in my hand at once. Get it over with, folks. And, I want you to see this: a really, really weird, really neat little camera, an Amazon Echo camera, flies around your house when you tell it to so you have a full solution to the panic that can occur when your one doorbell doesn’t seem to connect with your door.
Yes, yes, Amazon has a few other cameras in its Echo line, but the company has gone out of its way to promote its Ring product, based on the line of lights I saw the whole home setup. I saw three: a tall one behind a white rack in the foyer, a small one on the far end of the room, and then the big one attached to the side of the other heavy items of light. These things are really gigantic. I feel sort of guilty to carry this massive, bulbous piece of plastic in this lovely room.
So one of these nightstands is going to function as the dashcam. Another needs to be attached to the front door and have Ring’s microphone and motion sensor, so you can hear the person standing in front of your house, if that person is you. Because really, the question everyone asks when you’re out of the house for a few hours is: “What is everybody doing?”
Amazon has also put some clever insurance into all of these products. Once you use an Echo to order Ring products, Amazon will call and deliver it for you. The $199 product is also available in case you’re out of your house and can’t send someone to get it. To get these things, you have to sign up for Amazon Households, and only then can you decide whether to get Ring with your Echo.
The Ring feature I love is Ring’s Tag. Once you add an Echo Show or Echo Spot, then the two smart devices can use Ring’s cloud-based promise to automatically exchange the alert when a key is attached to one of your doors. Any Ring-enabled home can keep track of the person who came to your house, watch the person try to get in, and watch their every move.
The data collected by Ring and Amazon will also be used to make recommendations for you when you go to an Amazon warehouse or click to order something. And the entire Family plans, which include free delivery for up to six people, are just a one-step away from sharing these bits of information even further.
Two functions are maybe not as perfect. I’d be a bit nervous about having a child at night, which can disturb the neighborhood even without your presence. Also, if you want to get things off your step, you’ll have to enter a PIN code. But even that is a super convenient idea: One set of eyes checking your driveway is far better than one set of lights.
So if this is, what we would call, “the killer product of the next year,” then Amazon has set itself up for serious competition with Google Home, Alexa and everyone else. And this is all hypothetical, too. I don’t know what Amazon will actually build, or exactly how much these products will cost. But I do know a lot of people who already have their Amazon account open to other services, and who will appreciate this idea. Plus I’m so that excited about getting an awesome new body in my home, because sometimes to me, the goal is essentially to see what happens when I act idiotic.
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