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Ring's newest surveillance digital camera is an autonomous drone supply for $ 249 in 2021

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ring built its entire business on reinventing the doorbell – and now it's taking a similar approach to the humble home security camera, with the Ring Always Home Cam, which will be available sometime next year. You can't guess the name, but this security camera is indeed mobile: it's a drone that flies autonomously around your home to give you the view you want in the room you want without the need to install video cameras in multiple locations your whole house.

The Always Home Cam is a small drone that can be scheduled to fly preset paths that you, the user, set. The drone cannot be flown manually and does not begin recording until it is in flight (the camera lens is physically blocked while it is docked). According to the company, both functions help ensure that operations are carried out strictly in compliance with privacy. Always Home Cam is also purposely designed to create an audible hum during use, alerting everyone to the fact that they are actually moving and recording.

As you'd expect, the Always Home Cam doesn't have the exposed rotors you see on a drone designed for outdoor use in open spaces. It has a plastic rim and grilles enclosing these for safety reasons. It's also small, at 5 "x 7" x 7 ", which is useful for personal and household safety.

I spoke to Ring's founder and CEO, Jamie Siminoff, about why they decided to create such an ambitious, unorthodox home security camera – especially given their track record of relatively down-to-earth, tech-savvy versions of tried and tested home hardware like doorbells and spotlights. He said this was actually due to user feedback – something he still pays a lot of attention personally, even now that Ring is part of Amazon's larger corporate apparatus . Siminoff said a lot of the feedback came from customers who wished they had either been home or could have seen when something specific happened in a specific location in their house, or that they wanted a camera for a specific room, but only for certain times – and then another camera in another room for others.

"It's not practical to have a camera in every corner of the house," he said. "Even if you had unlimited resources, I still think that's not practical. What I love about the Always Home camera is that it really solves the problem of being one camera for everyone. So now you can see every corner of the house in every part of the house. "

Drones aren't Ring's primary business either, and yet the Always Home Cam will be available at the relatively low price of $ 249 once it becomes available, despite the technical challenges of developing a small aircraft that is safe and completely indoors can work autonomously. I asked Siminoff how Ring could achieve this award in a category outside of its core competency, with a completely custom design.

"As the technology has aged a bit, many of these parts fall in price," he said. “There is also a lot of price compression as automakers are now using many of these parts in higher volumes. To have an autonomous drone, you need some things similar to autonomous cars. It's not exactly the same parts, of course, but all of those costs went down and we were able to take a new perspective. But I also challenged the team when we figured out that this had to be affordable. "

The Ring Always Home Cam also works with Ring's existing line of products, including the Ring Alarm, to automatically fly a preset path when an alarm is triggered. You can then stream the video live to your mobile device using the Ring app. In many ways, it seems like a natural extension of the Ring ecosystem of products and services, but at the same time it also seems like something out of science fiction. I asked Siminoff if he thought consumers were willing to take this type of technology seriously as something that is part of their daily lives.

"I think it's like something that's way out there in a way," he admitted. "What I love about it is that it happens when you just take away the limitations of this linear thinking. I love that we do things by really looking backwards at the need, and then what technology is there, and asking what we can build? It's really exciting for me to be able to do and shape something that comes first in the industry. "

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Katherine Clark