Tech Talk

Tech Talk: Wireless Video Doorbells

Our office doesn’t get many visitors, and we don’t always have someone at the reception desk, so we typically keep our doors locked. When we first moved into the space, we put a doorbell in place to satisfy our need to be notified when someone was at the front door. Last year we decided to upgrade to a video doorbell to ensure we could see who was there. After all of our research, we ended up buying a Ring video doorbell, mainly for the ease of install and convenient battery pack versus a hardwired electrical connection.

There are numerous video doorbells on the market today with consistent options. The top-rated products based on PC Magazine and Google Shop ratings include Skybell HD, Ring and Ring Pro, August Doorbell Cam Pro and Nest Hello.

Key features to expect are:
• Wireless internet connection
• Integration with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT or Nest
• Cloud video storage (most with paid subscriptions)
• Night vision
• A mobile app to monitor your door from anywhere
• Notifications
• Two-way talking (Yes, you can talk to someone at your door when you’re not at home or the office.)

So what is so great about having a video doorbell? It is an additional security feature that allows you to see who is at your door or look back at previous recordings to find out who came by. Most have a motion detector that will set the video to record, or some devices perform a continuous recording. In hindsight, it’s worth the time and money to get one that is hardwired to avoid the constant draining of batteries.

Ring has a feature that defines your neighborhood, so you get alerts from local government agencies and posts from other Ring users in the area. It keeps you updated on crime, safety, suspicious or stranger reports. I like that it only records if someone sets off the motion detector. This lets me easily find out when someone was around my door rather than having to go through hours of video.

Before you select a video doorbell, think about what you expect out of the device and how you will use it. If you prefer to have 24-hour video surveillance, you should look at the August Doorbell Cam Pro. Most devices have a subscription fee for video storage, except the Skybell by Honeywell, which offers it free. Video doorbells are a great example of an IOT (Internet of Things) device, which is any device connected to your home or office network. Before purchasing and connecting any IOT device via your network, think about the security risk. Also, look at the device’s privacy policy to find out how the company is using the information stored in the cloud.

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Sheila Burkett is an information technology expert and CEO of Spry Digital, an interactive design agency delivering smart digital solutions. Follow Spry Digital on Twitter (@sprydigital), Facebook (facebook.com/sprydigital), Instagram (@sprydigital) or LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/spry-digital-llc).

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