A doorbell that shows
you who’s ringing it

By Harold Glicken

It’s vacation time at a rental house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A synthesized bell rings on my laptop computer. The UPS guy is at my home’s front door, 250 miles away. I tell him, remotely, to leave the package on the other side of the gate, and he complies. For all he knows, I’m at home, and not hundreds of miles away and enjoying the cool breezes and the relaxing sound of the surf.

What’s going on here?  An innovative security device called Ring is doing its job.


Ring  has been installed where my low-tech doorbell, capable only of activating a bell, once stood. Ring, a $200 device, is a doorbell, and much more.

Ring works initially on a wifi network. With the optional ($30) a year component, it stores footage, including sound, anytime there’s motion detected at the door where Ring is installed. But once Ring’s sensors detect motion, an alert is triggered on the faraway PC or smartphone. The footage can be viewed immediately or later.


My younger son was watching our house while we were on vacation and taking in the mail and newspapers. Each time he came to the door, Ring would notify me that there was motion detected on its fish-eye camera. I could hear him talking to me (“Hi,Dad, how’s the surf?”) I’d answer, “The tide is in and the sunset is beautiful!”

The mailman also makes his appearance on his daily rounds. I totally confuse him by thanking him over Ring’s remarkably good speaker. Soon, though, he gets used to it, and saids that I was welcome.

Some folks call Ring a gimmick, but when it’s used as part of a home-security system, it makes even more sense. I recently replaced my home-monitoring system with one that’s not wholly dependent on my wifi setup. Instead, it uses a cellular chip as a backup that takes over when the wifi component fails.


Most burglars understand that a home-security system such as my new one can be defeated simply  by cutting the cable connection and the power. However, my new system has a backup battery that can last as long as three days.

There was a time when my security system consisted of a big ditsy standard poodle who barked at her own shadow, the mailman and anyone or anything that approached the house, including the occasional tree branch that fell to Earth. Potential burglars could hear him all the way down the block, and in the 10 years that we had him, no one dared to break into our house, not that we have much to steal. Sadly, we had to give Rufus to a new owner when our grandson developed an allergy to him. Our neighbors were delighted when he was finally gone, too. That’s when we started looking into other ways to protect our home.

When a new security monitoring company offered us a free Ring, we were sold. The only downside is that some people don’t like the idea of being filmed when they come to the door.

Is the ring a gimmick or an integral part of a security system? I’m convinced it’s the latter. It’s almost as good as a barking poodle.

You're always home