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Amazon announced a new Ring Always Home Cam today, a “flying indoor cam with multiple perspectives, custom flight paths, and in-flight live view.”
In other words, it’s a security camera drone.
Amazon says that their new Ring Always Home cam can be controlled (at least somewhat) remotely, so that you can check on the status of a window, oven, or other appliance you might feel uneasy about potentially leaving on or open.
The drone can also “automatically fly to see what’s happening” when other Ring devices such as contact sensors or motion devices are triggered.
The drone can be trained to take a specified flight path.
Amazon emphasizes that:
Always Home Cam is intended for indoor use on a single story and only flies along preset flight paths.
In other words, its flight patterns are programmed behaviors, rather than being autonomous.
Amazon also says that the Ring Always Home Cam’s camera only ever records during trained flight paths, and never when it is docked. This is a privacy measure, and an important one at that.
Live video can be monitored on smartphones and other such devices. It can be controlled “from anywhere” with the Ring App.
It looks like everyone gets real-time video streaming, and that a Ring Protect subscription is required for users that want to review, save, and share their flight paths and “moments you missed.”
They have a list of FAQs on the product page, such as what happens when the drone encounters an obstacle in the way of its flight path (it returns to the charging dock).
The drone can fly for approximately 5 minute before needing to return to its dock for a recharge.
At this time, the flying camera can only be used indoors and in a single story environment. Multiple stories require multiple devices.
Key Features & Specs
- 1440 x 1440 HD video
- 120° horizontal and 120° vertical field of view
- Dual-band WiFi: 5GHz, 2.4GHz
- Charging dock requires 120V-220V
- USB-C power adapter is included
- Up to 50 different flight paths
- Up to 5 minute flight paths
Real-Time Flight Control Options
- End the flight
Users cannot alter the flight path mid-flight.
Buy Now via Amazon (coming soon)
While there are professional drones, hobbyist drones, toys, military drones, and other such products, this looks to be the first consumer product that incorporates flight for practical purposes. Amazon says that the Ring Always Home Cam is a first-of-its-kind indoor security camera, and it certainly is.
To me, this looks like a flying doorbell camera, and that’s kind of what it is.
If the idea takes off, this could be very useful.
Consider how commonplace robotic vacuum cleaners are. There have been robotic lawn mowers for quite a few years, but they haven’t become mainstream yet. This seems like a very futuristic product – at least more so than many of the other “smart” innovations that have hit the consumer market in recent years.
The drone is limited to preset flight paths, which can be a limiting factor, but it’s a smart implementation. A simpler product can always be made more complex with incremental optimizations and upgrades, whereas an overly complex one can be hard to perfect out of the gate. Plus, this just seems like a safer approach.
The downside is that you’ll need to anticipate your monitoring needs. But, with up to 50 flight paths, you can have a “check everything” patrol, as well as focused flight paths that check on the stove, window, or whatever.
Ring product integration makes sense, and hopefully Amazon opens things up to greater connectivity in the future. I wonder if there will eventually be IFTTT (if this then that) compatibility.
This is a very new concept, but it could potentially be a very impactful one.