Open main menu

Ring Inc.[2] is a home security and smart home company owned by Amazon. Ring manufactures a range of home security products that incorporate outdoor motion-detecting cameras, such as the Ring Video Doorbell. The company Ring's head office is in Santa Monica, California[2] with a secondary office in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Ring
Subsidiary
PredecessorBot Home Automation, Inc.
Founded2013; 6 years ago (2013) (as Doorbot)
FounderJamie Siminoff
HeadquartersSanta Monica, California, U.S.
ProductsSmart doorbells
Outdoor cameras
Home alarm systems
ServicesCloud recording
Alarm monitoring
OwnerAmazon
(2018–present)
Number of employees
1,300 (2018)[1]
Websitering.com/ Edit this on Wikidata

Contents

HistoryEdit

Ring was founded in 2013 as Doorbot by Jamie Siminoff. Doorbot was crowdfunded via Christie Street, and raised US$364,000; more than the $250,000 requested.[2][3][4]

In 2013, Siminoff and Doorbot appeared on an episode of the reality series Shark Tank to seek a $700,000 investment in the company, which he estimated was worth $7 million.[5] Kevin O’Leary made an offer as a potential investor that Siminoff declined.[6] After being on Shark Tank, Siminoff rebranded the company and it received $5 million in additional sales.[6]

In 2016, Shaquille O'Neal acquired an equity stake in Ring, and subsequently became a spokesperson in the company's marketing.[7]

Since then, the company raised more than $200 million in investments and counts Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Qualcomm Ventures, Goldman Sachs, DFJ Growth and Sir Richard Branson—founder of Virgin Group—as prominent investors.[8][9][10]

Ring was acquired by Amazon in February 2018 for an estimated value of between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion.[11][12]

Products and servicesEdit

Ring Video DoorbellEdit

The Ring Video Doorbell is the company's flagship product; it is a smart doorbell that contains a high-definition camera, a motion sensor, and a microphone and speaker for two-way audio communication. It integrates with an associated mobile app, which allows users to view real-time video from the camera, receive notifications when the doorbell is rung, and communicate with visitors at the door via the integrated speaker and microphone. It is also capable of operating as a surveillance camera, and can automatically trigger recordings when rung, or when its motion sensors are activated.[13][14][15][16] A second-generation model (Ring Doorbell 2) was released in 2017, with refreshed hardware, and a 1080p camera with improved low-light performance.[17]

The "Ring Chime" accessory is a unit plugged into a power outlet to play the doorbell's chime. The "Chime Pro" is an extended version that also doubles as a wireless repeater for Wi-Fi networks.[18]

Home securityEdit

In 2015, Ring first released the "Stick-Up Cam", a wireless IP camera. It was updated in 2018 with a cylindrical form factor, motion detection, two-way audio, as well as battery, wired, and solar power options.[19] In 2017, Ring released the "Floodlight Cam", a camera integrated with a pair of motion-activated LED floodlights.[20]

In July 2018, Ring launched an alarm security kit, which includes a keypad, siren, and motion sensors.[21][22][23] At CES 2019, Ring announced a peephole camera.[24]

Subscription plansEdit

Ring products require a "Ring Protect" subscription plan in order to store and view recordings from the cameras; without a subscription, the user is limited to real-time footage only. The "Ring Protect Basic" plan allows footage to be retained for 60 days, while the "Ring Protect Plus" subscription adds "unlimited" storage of footage, enables professional monitoring and LTE cellular backup on the Ring Alarm, and extends the warranty on the user's Ring products from one year to the life of the devices.[25][26][27]

NeighborsEdit

In 2018, Ring launched Neighbors, a hyperlocal social networking app. Described as being akin to a neighborhood watch, it allows users to crowdsource information on and discuss safety and security concerns in their area. The service allows users to share footage captured from Ring products, so that others can help to identify suspects. All posts are anonymous (except for official posts by Ring and police departments) and do not include specific location information, and are moderated to remove off-topic content (in contrast to services such as Nextdoor, it focuses exclusively on crime and safety). Ring also has partnerships with local police departments in some cities to incorporate Neighbors into their crime monitoring processes. The company has credited the service with having helped to solve crimes, and noted that activity on the service surged in California regions affected by wildfires in November 2018.[28][29]

ReceptionEdit

TechHive gave the second-generation Ring doorbell a 4 out of 5, noting improvements in hardware and ease of installation over the first-generation model, but criticizing a lack of printed and online documentation.[30]

CriticismEdit

Privacy concernsEdit

In January 2019, it was uncovered that employees at Ring's two offices have access to the video recordings from all Ring devices.[31] In addition, The Intercept reported that the video data is stored unencrypted.[32]

In June 2019, Ring faced criticism over a "Community Alert" program, under which the company has made geographically-targeted sponsored posts on social media services such as Facebook, asking readers to provide tips on suspects in verified cases, based on imagery posted on the Neighbors service by a Ring customer. The service's terms of use grant Ring an irrevocable, unlimited, and royalty-free license to use shared content "for any purpose and in any media formats in any media channels without compensation to you"; Ring states that it seeks permission from the user before using the content in this manner. However, these discoveries did lead to concerns over the use of such footage in material deemed to effectively be advertising, as well as concerns over other possible uses of the footage (such as for training facial recognition) due the wide copyright license that users are required to grant, and Ring's partnerships with local law enforcement agencies.[33][34]

Neighbors and Ring's partnerships with law enforcementEdit

The advocacy group Fight for the Future has accused Ring of using its cameras and Neighbors app to build a private surveillance network via partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, which encourage them to promote the products. The group stated that these partnerships "undermine our democratic process and basic civil liberties".[35][36] The Electronic Frontier Foundation similarly accused Ring of using these partnerships and its marketing strategies to foster fear, which leads to a "vicious cycle" that spurs hardware sales. It also accused Ring, as well as Neighbors and similar "neighborhood watch" apps such as Citizen and Nextdoor, of "[facilitating] reporting of so-called 'suspicious' behavior that really amounts to racial profiling."[37]

In July 2019, Vice publication Motherboard obtained records revealing the extent of Ring's partnership with the Lakeland Police Department (PD); the department was granted access to a "Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal" for making posts on Neighbors and the ability to "request videos directly from Ring users", and received a donation of 15 Ring cameras. However, the memorandum of understanding stated that the PD would be required to participate in "outreach efforts on the platform to encourage adoption of the platform/app" (receiving $10 credits for Ring camera purchases for each new user). Ring also recommended that the PD establish specific new positions for the partnership, including a "social media coordinator".[38] Later in the month, Motherboard obtained public records containing an officer's notes from an April 2019 training webinar, which stated that Ring had partnered with at least 200 law enforcement partners.[39] In early-August 2019, Motherboard also reported that Ring would match payments by cities to cover the subsidized purchase of Ring cameras, so that they can be resold to residents at a discount.[40]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Murphy, Mike. "Ring, which Amazon just bought for $1 billion, was once rejected by 'Shark Tank'". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  2. ^ a b c "Company Overview of Ring Inc". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  3. ^ Perez, Chris. "Doorbot Is Knocking Upon the Future of Doorbells". Apartment Therapy. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  4. ^ Hsu, Jeremy (2013-01-25). "'DoorBot' for Homeowners Hits $250,000 Goal". Tech News Daily. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  5. ^ "After This Entrepreneur Got Nothing on 'Shark Tank,' Richard Branson Wrote Him a Check". Inc.com. 2015-08-19. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  6. ^ a b "This guy turned his failure on 'Shark Tank' into a $109 million investment from Goldman Sachs". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  7. ^ Susan Adams (27 February 2018). "The Exclusive Inside Story Of Ring: From 'Shark Tank' Reject To Amazon's Latest Acquisition". Forbes.com. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  8. ^ Friedman, Zack. "Shark Tank Reject Raises $209 Million, Fights Crime". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  9. ^ "UPDATED: ABC's 'Shark Tank' makes its decision on Allen County native, veteran Bart Lomont's Robin Autopilot | News, Sports, Jobs - News-Sentinel". www.news-sentinel.com. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  10. ^ DFJ (2017-10-19). "Jamie Siminoff, Ring". DFJVC. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  11. ^ Kim, Eugene (2018-02-27). "Amazon buys Ring, the smart doorbell maker it backed through Alexa Fund". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  12. ^ "Amazon is making its second-biggest acquisition ever — the doorbell company Ring". Recode. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  13. ^ Dave, Paresh. "Ring modernized the doorbell, then its inventor, Jamie Siminoff, went to war against crime". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  14. ^ "The real cost of setting up a smart home". USA Today. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  15. ^ Pollicino, Joe (December 6, 2012). "DoorBot lets you see and talk with who's at the door from the comfort of your smartphone (video)".
  16. ^ Ashe, Dru (December 7, 2012). "DoorBot: The Wi-Fi Doorbell That Connects to Your Smartphone | Complex".
  17. ^ "Ring Video Doorbell 2 review: Better features, new frustrations". TechHive. 2017-08-23. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  18. ^ Hollister, Sean (2018-11-19). "Pre-Black Friday deal alert: Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Echo Dot for $140". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  19. ^ Cipriani, Jason. "Ring Stick Up Cam Battery review: An all around security camera, inside and out Review". ZDNet. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  20. ^ Delaney, John R. (2017-08-02). "Ring Floodlight Cam". PCMAG. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  21. ^ Wollerton, Megan (20 July 2018). "Ring Alarm Security Kit review". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  22. ^ Sawers, Paul (2 October 2017). "Ring launches Protect, a DIY home security system starting at $199". VentureBeat. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  23. ^ Wetzel, Kim (2 October 2017). "Affordable, DIY Ring Protect Looks to Lock Up the Home Security System Market". Digital Trends. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  24. ^ Graham, Jefferson (7 January 2019). "No doorbell, no problem: Ring introduces Door View Cam that replaces peephole in homes". USA Today. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  25. ^ Seifert, Dan (2018-07-03). "Ring Alarm review: simple, cheap home security". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  26. ^ "How much do Ring camera storage plans cost?". Android Central. 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  27. ^ "Ring Floodlight Cam review: An excellent choice—if you're living in Ring's ecosystem". TechHive. 2018-01-26. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  28. ^ "In first move since Amazon acquisition, Ring launches Neighbors app to help users fight crime". GeekWire. 2018-05-08. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  29. ^ Rubin, Ben Fox. "How Ring's Neighbors app is making home security a social thing". CNET. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  30. ^ "Ring Video Doorbell 2 review: Better features, new frustrations". TechHive. 2017-08-23. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  31. ^ Wiggers, Kyle (10 January 2019). "Ring employees reportedly had access to all live and recorded customer videos". VentureBeat. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  32. ^ Biddle, Sam (10 January 2018). "For Owners of Amazon's Ring Security Cameras, Strangers May Have Been Watching Too". The Intercept. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  33. ^ Reichert, Corinne. "Ring puts suspected thief in Facebook sponsored ads". CNET. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  34. ^ Alba, Davey; Mac, Ryan (2019-06-07). "Amazon's Doorbell Camera Company Is Using Security Video For Ads. That May Only Be The Beginning". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2019-06-12. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  35. ^ "Amazon's Ring doorbell police tie-up criticised". BBC News. 2019-08-01. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  36. ^ Ng, Alfred. "This map tells you where police have partnered with Amazon's Ring". CNET. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  37. ^ Guariglia, Matthew (2019-08-08). "Amazon's Ring Is a Perfect Storm of Privacy Threats". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  38. ^ Haskins, Caroline; Koebler, Jason (2019-07-25). "Amazon Requires Police to Shill Surveillance Cameras in Secret Agreement". Vice. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  39. ^ Haskins, Caroline; Maiberg, Emanuel; Mead, Derek; Koebler, Jason (2019-07-29). "Amazon Told Police It Has Partnered With 200 Law Enforcement Agencies". Vice. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  40. ^ Haskins, Caroline; Koebler, Jason; Mead, Derek (2019-08-02). "US Cities Are Helping People Buy Amazon Surveillance Cameras With Taxpayer Money". Vice. Retrieved 2019-08-02.