Ring is a home automation and security company owned by Amazon. The company specializes in home security devices, including outdoor surveillance cameras like the Ring Video Doorbell smart doorbell. It also hosts the Neighbors app, where users can share their captured footage through online social sharing.
It can provide camera footage and data via the Neighbors app to law enforcement agencies upon request. However, this has been criticized by civil rights advocacy groups in the United States, accusing them of an invasive private surveillance network.
Ring Video Doorbell
Ring’s flagship product is the Ring Video Doorbell—a smart doorbell with a built-in motion sensor, high-definition camera, microphone, and speaker for two-way communication. It’s used with the app Neighbors, which provides users access to real-time video footage from the doorbell camera.
Users can also receive notifications from the app once the doorbell is rung and can communicate with visitors using the built-in two-way microphone and speaker. Most of its primary features can be linked to a surveillance camera and automatically generates recordings when the doorbell or its motion sensors are activated.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 was released in 2017. It’s the product’s second-generation model and features an improved 1080p camera resolution. Unlike the original model, it doesn’t completely rely on Wi-Fi connectivity and has better low-light performance.
The Ring Video Doorbell also comes with the Ring Chime—an accessory plugged into a power outlet to play the doorbell’s chime. Chime Pro is an extended version that acts as a wireless repeater for Wi-Fi networks.
In 2015, Ring released the Stick-Up Cam, a wireless Internet Protocol (IP) camera. Another version was released in 2018; it contained improvements such as motion detection, two-way audio, and multiple power options (battery, solar, and wired).
Ring also released other security cameras, like the Floodlight Cam in 2017 and the Ring Indoor Cam in 2018.
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Ring introduced the Neighbors app in 2018. It’s a hyperlocal social networking app mainly used to crowdsource information and spread awareness and security concerns in a specific area. Users can share camera footage from their Ring cameras anonymously via the app.
Shared content on the Neighbors app is continuously moderated to avoid off-topic posts. As mentioned earlier, Ring is partnered with local police departments, which allows law enforcement agencies to include content from the Neighbors app in their crime monitoring processes.
Through a map interface, law enforcement may access user-generated footage through the Ring Neighborhoods portal. Amazon claims that it asks permission from the user first before their footage is released to the local police, except for emergencies or under subpoena.