Police say crime drops with video doorbells
Ring founder Jamie Siminoff tells Jefferson Graham how his video doorbell and companion products spook burglars and help curb crime, on #TalkingTech.
2020年欧冠赛程表SANTA MONICA, Calif. — With over 1 million customers, $109 million in new financing and a new product set for release in April, the Ring isn’t just a doorbell anymore.
The video doorbell, out since 2013, has expanded into a suite of products that also include new motion detection lights with companion camera (new), a standalone security camera and chimes to bring traditional audio to the doorbell. The added inventory helped push the company to sales that more than doubled in 2016.
2020年欧冠赛程表Ring founder and chief inventor Jamie Siminoff has positioned the company as a tech Batman, a product that can help keep the burglars away.
The Ring doorbell connects to Wi-fi, and when it’s rung, you get a notification on your phone that allows you to see who’s out there, and say “Who’s at the door?" from inside the house, at work, or even on vacation. Even if the bell isn’t rung, the motion detection in the device alerts you that someone is out there, and allows you to talk directly into the Ring audio speaker.
“If someone is around your car at 3 a.m., and you talk to them, they will run,” Siminoff told USA TODAY in our #TalkingTech Facebook Live broadcast from Ring offices here.
Many times it’s neighbors or package deliverers, but often it’s folks looking for an easy way to break into a home, by ringing a bell first to see if anyone is home.
2020年欧冠赛程表“Criminals don’t look like criminals, they look like normal people,” Siminoff, 40, says. “They’re selling magazines, raising money for school fund-raisers, they say. They find an empty area, come in and rob and work the area, even if there’s an alarm system. Just being able to answer the door with your voice, that creates presence and scares them away.”
2020年欧冠赛程表Siminoff, who started the company in his garage in 2011 and began selling the doorbell in 2013, now has five products. The new financing came in earlier this year, and he’s looking to use the new investment to expand overseas and keep up the research and development.
2020年欧冠赛程表Products are created with prototypes on several 3-D printers that hum in the back rooms of Ring’s offices. (The products themselves are made in China.)
The doorbell is by far the best seller, with prices starting at $199 for the do-it-yourself, USB-powered starter Ring to $249 for the new floodlight Cam.
All of Ring’s products come with an optional monthly $3 subscription to keep track of video footage from the products. The majority of Ring's customers opt for the subscription.
Ring customers also recently discovered that a portion of the data went beyond their normal home, Amazon Web Services servers, and made their way to China.
The bug has since been fixed. “No customers were ever at risk,” Siminoff says. “As a brand, the most important thing we can do is make sure our customers' data is safe and their privacy protected.”
He can't say the same for the privacy of local bandits, thugs and criminals who show up unsuspected at doorways to case the joint, only to be foiled by the video doorbell. Ring's YouTube channel is full of video clips of robberies gone bad.
Tina Nieto, the commanding officer of West Los Angeles police division, says Ring products truly help spook away burglars. “The LAPD doesn’t endorse products. But we’ll work with anything that can help us reduce crime, and this works.”
She says the LAPD did a study of two neighborhoods, one with Ring products, the other without, “and we saw a 50% reduction in burglaries in the neighborhood with the doorbell, while the other side saw no changes.”
2020年欧冠赛程表Ring has 1,000 employees, spread across offices here and in Phoenix, and looks to use the new financing to expand internationally. Investors include Goldman Sachs, Sir Richard Branson and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.
Siminoff hosts the company's TV ads on cable TV and lists his email@example.com e-mail address on packaging. He says he likes to hear from customers, even when they write him to angle for free products.
Meanwhile, the popularity of Ring means Siminoff needs to stay on his toes. A search on Amazon shows many, lower-priced clones of his product from companies like Zmodo, Valjax, VueBell and 1Byone, with some half the price of Ring's. On the other end of the spectrum, Vivint, a Utah-based home security and automation firm, offers a similar doorbell that can also open the door remotely, available on a monthly subscription basis.
He takes all the competition it as a badge of honor.
“When I started the company, and told people I wanted to market a doorbell to help reduce crime, they laughed at me. I was a joke.”
Certainly those criminals who get apprehended by the video footage he shares with law enforcement aren’t laughing. During our Facebook Live 2020年欧冠赛程表presentation, we received several comments asserting just that.
“I was a law enforcement officer in Northern Virginia,” wrote Jesse Diaz, “And some families would ask what they could do to better protect their families. I always said Ring.”
2020年欧冠赛程表Which is great for now, but what happens when the street crooks figure out that Ring is a connected doorbell and figure a way to outsmart it?
Nieto says that’s unlikely to happen.
“They can’t figure it out. They don’t know if the person is home or not home.”
2020年欧冠赛程表And Siminoff says he’s on it.
“I’ll just have to invent something else to stay on top of them,” he says.