First announced at last year’s Amazon hardware event, the Ring Always Home Cam is now ready to take off. Starting today, September 28, you can request an invite to be a crash test dummy for Ring’s latest innovation. Always Home Cam is a Ring camera connected to a drone that can fly predetermined routes in your home when triggered via a Ring Alarm sensor or from the Ring app. The camera costs $ 249.99; if you live in the US, you can apply an invitation to buy it today, and the devices will ship later this year.
Designed to solve the problem of wanting to be able to see inside your home when you are not there, but not wanting to have dozens of cameras looking at you when you are, the Always Home Camera only records when you are in flight. When not in use, it sits on its charging dock which locks in your lens. It can fly to specific vantage points on request, such as the front door or kitchen stove, and it can also connect to a Ring Alarm residential security system and alert any action, such as the opening of a door or window when the alarm is activated.
In the year since the product was announced, Ring has been working to perfect the ambitious device and, essentially, to make sure it doesn’t get unleashed in your home. “It’s not an exaggeration to say we’ve made thousands of improvements to it,” Ring founder Jamie Siminoff said in an interview before the announcement. “We learned to fly.” While they had working prototypes when they announced it in 2020, it’s only now ready for ordinary people’s homes, Siminoff says. But not everyone’s.
Ring is rolling out the invite-only program as a kind of post-beta test flight. “I have it in my house and it works,” Siminoff said. “But today’s homes are so unique, so we really need to bring them to more clients’ homes to make sure everything we’re doing is right.” After all, it is an autonomous flying machine in your home. “With any other product, we probably would have been shipping. With this one, we’re going to take our time, make sure it’s correct before we hit full general availability. “
The invitation-only program, which is a recent trend with Amazon products, is one way to attract the right kind of customer to the product at this stage, Siminoff says. “He is a client who is willing and wants to work with us,” he said. “They understand what they are getting into. We use this as a tool to deliver the best products to customers and be transparent with them. “So does this mean that if you crash into your big screen TV, you’re just out of luck?
In terms of daily use and functions, much of what is announced last year is the same. Always Home Cam is an indoor-only camera connected to a drone with closed propellers. Stream and record 1080p video to the Ring app. It is completely self-contained and can be commanded to fly on demand to pre-set locations through the app or can be scheduled to take off when the Ring Alarm detects a disturbance.
It only records in flight and the drone makes an audible noise, so it is clear when the footage is recorded. It has obstacle avoidance technology, but its protected propellers should prevent serious damage in the event of a collision (“But you have to keep it away from your Van Gogh,” Siminoff joked).
The Always Home Cam is designed for single-story use as it cannot climb stairs. But Siminoff says the multi-story stand is something the company is exploring. You should also fly only when no one is home. While the drone has been tested with ceiling and table fans, Siminoff said it could struggle if a fan is running at full speed. “But if you feel like you’re not doing the right thing, you will just land in a safe area and stay there,” he said.
The battery life is short and the flight time is limited to about five minutes. “The idea is very tactical; You don’t have to go see that a door is ajar for two hours, ”Siminoff said. “It’s meant to go out for a few minutes, see what you need to see, and then fly back.”
A flying camera in your home feels like a sci-fi fantasy horror story come true. But from a privacy and practical point of view, the concept is sound. You only need one camera to view an entire floor of your home, and there is no danger that it will accidentally record without you knowing. Plus, it’s cool. “There is something about watching this fly through your house on your phone; It feels like something out of Hollywood, but it’s your home, ”Siminoff said. “For me, it was an amazing experience.”