Ring introduces new privacy and security controls, Access Controller, and smart lighting

Ring introduces new privacy and security controls, Access Controller, and smart lighting

Controlling smart devices with voice alone is something most Alexa users do regularly. In fact, customers now use Alexa for smart home controls hundreds of millions of times each week, according to Amazon. Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that Ring — the device maker Amazon acquired for over $1 billion in February 2018 — is launching a slew of new products compatible with Alexa, following the introduction of the Ring Door View Cam in January 2019.

Control Center

Perhaps the headliner is Control Center, a forthcoming component of the Ring app that will afford customers greater control over devices, services, and more. When it arrives later this month, users will be able to see and manage connected mobile, desktop, and table services, as well as third-party services, and to opt out of video requests from Ring’s local police partners. (Ring notes that it currently has 33 smart lock integrations in its ecosystem alone.) Future versions of Control Center will add additional privacy and security controls that provide greater visibility into Ring’s data handling practices.

Control Center might be perceived as a direct response to criticism from advocacy groups like Fight for the Future and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which have accused Ring of using its cameras and Neighbors app (which delivers safety alerts) to build a private surveillance network via police partnerships. The Electronic Frontier Foundation in particular has singled out Ring for marketing strategies that foster fear and promote a sale-spurring “vicious cycle,” and for “[facilitating] reporting of so-called ‘suspicious’ behavior that really amounts to racial profiling.”

“Ring enters 2020 with a robust lineup of security devices, and we will continue to focus on innovating new products while enhancing our customers’ experiences, especially around privacy and user control,” said Ring founder and chief innovator Jamie Siminoff. “[W]’re excited to offer our customers over 50 different products they can choose from to build their custom, whole home security system.”

Access Controller Pro

Second up is the Ring Access Controller Pro, which lets customers remotely operate electronically controlled locks, lights, doors, cameras, and alarms to let in visitors and receive deliveries via Key by Amazon. (You’ll recall that Key by Amazon is an opt-in service that allows delivery people to enter homes, garages, condos, and apartments to leave packages.) When paired with a Ring Video Doorbell or Cam, the Access Controller Pro enables the unlocking or re-locking of gates from the Ring app’s Live View screen.

In-home package delivery is an acute area of interest for Ring parent Amazon, which last January extended its Key delivery service to third-party smart locks and garage doors. Amazon officially launched in-garage delivery for U.S.-based Prime customers in April 2019, nearly four months after first announcing the service, and it recently expanded Key to new cities, including Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Fresno, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Virginia Beach, Virgina.

The Access Controller Pro is available today on Ring’s and Amazon’s websites starting at $299. It’ll also be available bundled with Ring’s new Stick Up Cam Battery for $390 on Amazon.

Smart LED Lightbulbs

With respect to lighting, Ring is filling out its portfolio with a lineup of smart LED light bulbs in two styles: the A19 and PAR38. The A19 Smart Bulb is designed for indoor use and protected outside spaces, while the PAR38 Smart LED Bulb is ruggedized against inclement weather and dust.

Customers can use the Ring Bridge — Ring’s dedicated control hub that pairs with smart lights, doorbells, cameras, and select Alexa-enabled devices — to group and control the A19 and PAR38, and to remotely power toggle the lights and adjust their brightness. They’re also able to set schedules using the Ring app, and when the lights are linked with peripherals containing motion sensors, they can trigger them with motion.

The A19 Smart Bulb and PAR38 Smart Bulb will be available online and at The Home Depot later this year.

Smart Lighting Solar

Ring lastly introduced three new solar-powered Smart Lighting devices, including a new floodlight and path light. They join Ring’s existing outdoor motion-sensing lights, some of which were brought to market through the subsidiary’s Mr. Beams acquisition.

The Ring Solar Floodlight — which features a combined 1,300 lumens and a 45-foot maximum motion detection range, as well as adjustable mounts and settings — is a motion-activated smart light for illuminating driveways, yards, and walkways. As for the motion-activated Ring Solar Steplight and Ring Solar Pathlight, they’re designed to illuminate stairs, decks, porches, and other high-traffic areas.

When paired with the Ring Bridge, the Steplight’s and Pathlight’s brightness and motion sensitivity can be adjusted on the fly. Additionally, the lights support custom light schedules, including “dusk to dawn glow” for continuous light that brightens when motion is detected.

As with the A19 Smart Bulb and PAR38 Smart Bulb, the Floodlight, Steplight, and Pathlight will be available online and at The Home Depot later this year.

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