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Ring My Bell

Surely it’s only a matter of time before “knock, knock” jokes become a thing of the past? Video doorbells such as Ring and Nest Hello are certainly playing a big part in their demise. After all, there’s something fundamentally unfunny about questioning “who’s there?” when you can quite clearly see for yourself on your smartphone screen from anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi or 4G connection. 

It’s surprising that the widespread adoption of video doorbells didn’t catch on earlier.


Over 35 years ago, in 1983, Aiphone released the first black and white video intercom, with a colour version introduced to their product line in 1998. And whilst the affluent occupants of high-rise apartments in the city and sprawling mansions in the suburbs are likely to have relied on state-of-the-art video security for decades, it is only in recent years that an affordable option for the masses has emerged. 


In 2013, entrepreneur and inventor Jamie Siminoff pitched his idea for a big business to investors on US show, Shark Tank — the equivalent of the UK’s Dragon’s Den. Departing without an investment, Siminoff rebranded his company from Doorbot to Ring and sold it to Amazon in February 2018 for over $1billion.


That’s quite the success story! And it’s not hard to see why…

A cartoon of a hand holding a mobile phone with a doorbell ring alert displayed on the screen.

Siminoff’s concept taps into two key (and consistent) concerns that transcend multiple demographics — safety and convenience. Peace of mind is priceless, but smart doorbells provide a practical solution without prohibitive costs.

I didn’t purchase a Ring device, choosing instead to add to my home automation and security ecosystem with the Nest Hello and, in all honesty, it’d be very hard to function without it now.


Just as electric kettles superseded stovetops, smart doorbells are the logical evolution of the door-answering process — offering a faster, safer and altogether more modern alternative.


Here are the top five features and factors that I have enjoyed so far:

1. My Curiosity is Satisfied


Have you ever rushed to open the front door because it “might be someone important”? Whilst your imagination runs wild and throws up every possibility from The Pope to the Prime Minister, 98% of the time it’s going to be the postman... My office is out the back of the house and it can be a pain to interrupt my work to head back in, only to find it’s a cold call from someone trying to sell me something. With a live steam of my doorstep, I can make an informed decision on whether it’s worth my time.


2. Spare the Small Talk


Further to point one, the smart doorbell saves me from small talk. If I need work undertaking at my home — window cleaning, lawn treatment, gutter repairs and so on — I’ll arrange it accordingly. No amount of sales patter is going to sell me something I don’t want or need. My rule is — if I spot a brochure in hand, I’m not answering!


Better yet, the Nest Hello allows me to take my disdain of hollow pleasantries to another level entirely. From anywhere in the world, I’m able to “answer” my doorbell through the two-way communication feature or by selecting from a number of presets. So, at the click of a button I can instruct the delivery driver to leave the parcel by the door, without any effort, eye contact or movement required on my part! Lazy? Unsociable? Possibly. A much-needed and appreciated time-saver? Definitely!


3. It Acts as a Deterrent


I’m someone who subscribes to the “better safe than sorry” mantra, and subsequently have security cameras installed throughout my home and garden to make opportunists think twice. Whilst the initial outlay can make you wince, it’s a considerably less painful proposition than losing your possessions, privacy or peace of mind. 


4. Home Alone


Whilst I’m not talking Kevin McAllister here, the same concerns apply. No partner or parent likes to think of their family fending for themselves. As I travel for work so frequently, it’s reassuring to know who is coming and going so that I can be confident that they’re safe and secure from any Wet Bandits! Or Sticky Bandits, for that matter…


5. It's Another Cool Gadget!


As alluded to in my previous blogs, I’m a fan of any smart technology which serves a purpose and can add real value. In the case of the Nest Hello, it ticks multiple boxes. By using the Nest app, I can interact with my doorbell, security cameras and thermostat with just a few taps. It sounds like a cliché, but the power truly is at my fingertips.


And, unexpectedly, it’s a hit with the children too! My son has got used to pushing the button when he gets home from pre-school. If I’m home I’ll pop into the house to say hello, and if I’m away I’ll still answer for a quick chat. I returned home from New York once to my daughter excitedly exclaiming: “Daddy was in the doorbell!” Kids do say the funniest things…


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