Fixed cameras and sensors can only go so far in monitoring your property. In fact, they can’t go anywhere, being screwed to the wall. That’s where Amazon Prime’s flying Ring Always Home Cam comes in. But to get one, you need to have something unusual from a retailer that will typically sell just about anything to anyone: an invite.
The Ring Always Home Cam is a camera-equipped drone that follows a guide path set up by the owner. This lets you see what’s going on throughout the house (there are exceptions, we’ll get to that). You can see live if someone has left the stove burner on or if the toilet is working – and even spot the bad guys if someone has broken in. It has LED lights to illuminate the scene if you are checking out the palace at night.
This home drone fits right in with Amazon’s ongoing deal to buy iRobot, the maker of Roomba home vacuuming and cleaning devices. Are we going to dub Ring’s Always Home Camera the Roomba from heaven?
Another feature that’s too cool to be true? When your Ring Alarm security system’s contact sensor or motion sensors go off, like a superhero, the Always Home Cam rises from its docking station and flies towards danger – or whatever triggered it. your alarm system. And if you’re concerned about privacy, Amazon says the Always Home Cam only records when it’s in its designated flight path or when triggered by the Ring Alarm system. You teach the Always Home Cam its flight path (look for the video). When you’re home, the camera stays hidden in the Always Home Cam docking station, charging and preparing for the next mission.
The cost of the Ring Always Home Cam: $249.99. And about the possibility of buying it by invitation only: I let Amazon know that I was interested in buying an Always Home Cam. I received an email from Amazon with a link to a survey explaining that quantities of this drone are limited and not everyone who requests an invite will be invited. Amazon wanted to know how many Ring devices I owned (none); if I have a home security system (I have one); if I had a Ring Protect subscription that would allow me to use Ring’s advanced features (no); if I had frequent visitors in the form of children or pets (no); and the square footage of my house (that’s none of their business). I didn’t go any further because I’m pretty sure the Ring Always Home Cam only works with Ring devices (let’s start working on that, Amazon).
Ring is one of the major brand companies that Amazon has acquired in recent years. Others include this pending deal to buy iRobot; the high-end supermarket chain Whole Foods; MGM Studios (as well as the IMDB streaming service and Internet movie database); health services company One Medical; and shoe retailer Zappos.
Maybe iRobot will help fix the Always Home Cam. In its survey, Amazon also noted that the Always Home Cam setup should be configured if my home has:
- glass doors or floor-to-ceiling mirrors
- floors with different colors and materials
- chandeliers, suspensions, beams or suspended ceiling lights
- ceilings over 12 feet high
- sunken rooms or sloping ceilings
- narrow doorways or hallways less than 3 feet wide
- concentrated airflow from air purifiers, fans or air conditioners
These objects aren’t quite kryptonite for this hovering superhero, but they do reveal the limits of indoor drone flight.
The Always Home Cam comes from Amazon’s Day 1 Editions, products that Amazon launches to select customers willing to provide feedback and participate in development.