The Ring Doorbell Surveillance device was first pitched as a home security product called the “Doorbot’ by entrepreneur Jamie Siminoff on NBC’s hit “Shark Tank” show in 2013. In his pitch for the device, Siminoff memorably described that the device would allow users to “see and speak with” the people at the doors, using their smartphones. Who knew that this idea in Siminoff’s mind, would absolutely change the way consumers thought of both doorbell technology and home monitoring technology in America? Well in less than seven years that is exactly what has happened.
Although Mr. Siminoff initially received only lukewarm interest from the investors on Shark Tank, his appearance on the show drew broad interest from prospective consumers which led to legitimate financing opportunities from serious investors. With an initial $200 million investment, the “Doorbot” was rebranded and introduced as the now commonly known “Ring.” The product truly hit the big time when it was acquired by online retail behemoth Amazon in 2018.
Today the company offers a variety of video-enabled doorbell products that while coming off as being very trendy, are also an important contribution to community policing /neighborhood watch efforts, and general physical security profiles of individual homes and neighborhoods across the country. Ring also sells security systems and an alarm system as well. According to the company, Ring currently has over a million users, which is reflective of the recently reported 58% spike in sales of so called “smart doorbell” devices in the 2019-2020 timespan, according to market research provided by NPD Group. In a 2019 statement attesting to its largesse, Ring declared that its doorbell products had “chimed 15.8 million times” on Halloween day/night that year.
The Ring doorbell device was originally marketed in large part as a viable solution to combatting the scourge of package theft from the doorsteps of American homes, incidences of which spiked alongside the emerging growth of e-commerce and most notably from Amazon deliveries. Now Ring enjoys a wildly pervasive presence amongst American popular consumer culture, with device owners using the Ring smartphone app to answer their Ring doorbell devices remotely without even having to be home.
The success of Ring and the prevalence of its product line has found a special ally within law enforcement communities, as over 500 police departments nationwide have partnered with Ring, gaining strategic access to a proprietary service offered by the company called “Neighbors Portal.” The service allows users to request video footage through Ring from device owners located within a particular area of an active investigation. Ring peephole cameras record everything that happens in front of a homeowner’s device lens. This video can be made readily available for law enforcement use in the investigation of criminal activity.
If the captured footage is deemed actionable and useful to law enforcement investigators, then the footage is often times shared by local law enforcement with media organizations to help inform the public as needed. In some instances, police departments and law enforcement officials even assist in marketing the products to citizens in their respective jurisdictions. Some local municipalities even go so far as offering government-subsidized discounts for Ring surveillance devices.
The company urges consumers to use its devices in concert with other neighbors to share video feeds with other community members. Ring also picks selected videos and features them on its popular Ring TV, which is a video portal the company operates. Ring TV programming category choices include such titles as “Crime Prevention,” and “Suspicious Activity,” both of which engender consumer awareness with regard to safety and security trends in their communities.