The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is throwing up discussion surrounding the ways and means that the technology industry will respond to the global contagion.
There is talk of tracing apps, there is talk of new data analysis techniques to study both the movement of infection and the means by which we might find vaccines and treatments… and there is talk of the ways that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could help us get through this and prepare more thoroughly for the future.
There is all of this talk… but nobody is talking about doorbells.
Ring Video Doorbell 2
It had been sat in its box for a while, why hadn’t we gotten round to installing this thing?
Our Ring Video Doorbell 2 seemed like a perfect solution to COVID-19. Living in an apartment, delivery people have been told to only come in so far… and certainly not to engage with people inside.
Priced at £89.00 here at the time of writing, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 has 1080 pixel video, which is a considerable improvement on the resolution offered by its predecessor.
The Pro version of this product needs to be wired for power, which, while convenient for longer-term use, does make it a little more fiddly to install. The Ring 2 on the other hand comes with a rechargeable battery (NOTE: this product can also be hardwired to power if desired) that is held in place with the manufacturer’s bottom retaining screw, which you can fix or release with the ‘proprietary’ screwdriver that comes with the kit.
We found the front case slightly tough to get off at first… and we’re not alone. Run a web search for ‘how to remove ring doorbell cover’ and you’ll find a host of YouTubers all looking for fame with their demo videos. Let’s say that the trick is to push it up from the bottom while holding the top of the unit.
The unit itself measures 5.0 x 2.5 x 1 inches, which is slightly bulky… but hey, it’s going to sit on the outside of your house, apartment, flat, condo, beach hut, or wherever you choose to call home.
There are instant mobile alerts and two-way talk, so you can answer the door from your smartphone, tablet and PC. The 1080p HD video is actually extremely wide-angle… it appears almost ‘fish eye’ lens wide (in a good way) and there is a built-in microphone and speaker.
The doorbell comes with two faceplate covers, one Venetian (matte black) and one Satin Nickel (silver) and the ‘doorbell’ itself is a round backlit ring button.
According to the company, “Ring lets you adjust your motion sensors so you can find the ideal setting for your home. You’ll get instant alerts when motion is detected, allowing you to protect your property from the comfort of your smartphone.”
There are also adjustable motion zones, infrared night vision and live View on-demand video and audio.
One word of warning, be extremely careful inputting your WiFi password into the iPad or smartphone app. If you’ve written down your WiFi password by hand from the back of your router, please remember just how much a lower case g looks like a 9… and vice versa — that’s all we’re saying.
The unit can be can be hardwired to an existing doorbell system or transformer for continuous charging (8-24 VAC, 40VA max, 50/60Hz). The other thing to remember is that Internet connectivity on this version of Ring works to an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connection @ 2.4GHz.
If you have a 5GHz connection, then it won’t work, so use the 2.4GHz channel instead. You’ll also need to a minimum upload speed of 1Mbps, but 2 Mbps is recommended for optimal performance.
The detection sensitivity is slightly hard to work out, sometimes the camera picks up video of movement instantly and sometimes it appears to be a little less sensitive. You can change this in ‘Motion Settings’ in the device app dashboard though.
Users would no doubt find the Ring Video Doorbell 2 useful at any time, but during COVID-19 it is surely extra useful (think about whether a person might need to know that a neighbour or friend had dropped off some essential help, backup, food, medicine or other supplies)… as you long as you remember to clean the unit with disinfectant wipes though of course.
Now, please wash your hands.