As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved Science Fiction. One of my favorite tropes? The robot helper. From R2-D2 to Rosie, from Bishop to HAL 9000, there’s just something awesome — if not a little ominous — about humans and super-smart technology working hand-in-hand.
And while we’re still not at the point of having human-smart droids attend to our domestic needs, Ring is working to bridge the gap with its cutting-edge Always Home Cam — or at least that’s the claim.
So What Is the Always Home Cam, and What Exactly Does It Do?
The Always Home Cam is a first-of-its-kind flying indoor security camera. Unveiled in late 2021 at Amazon’s new product event, the drone promises to protect properties in a new and unique way — namely, by flying around a predetermined route to keep an eye on things while you’re gone.
Pro Tip: If you’re interested in high-tech ways to protect your home, you should check out these four ways AI can help keep you and your family safe.
What’s the advantage of this over a static, indoor security camera, you ask? Good question, though it’s not one that can be easily answered right now since the product isn’t yet available to everyone. There are a few use cases, though.
For one, it would eliminate the need to set up multiple cameras throughout your house. With its customizable routes, the Always Home Cam can check out multiple rooms from multiple perspectives. This can be super helpful if you have a large property and don’t want to stick an indoor camera in every room to make sure all’s well when you’re on vacation. Also great news if you often find yourself wondering if you left the windows open or the oven on while you’re at your parents’ place for the weekend.
How Does the Always Home Cam Work?
You can access the Always Home Cam using your phone and get a live feed of what’s going on. Should the camera’s impressive 1440×1440 HD video show that something is amiss, it will automatically fly to the source and alert you to let you know what’s happening. It also works seamlessly with Ring Alam, meaning that if your system detects something major — like a fire or an intruder — the camera will fly to the source and you can contact the authorities.
Sounds pretty neat, right?
What Are the Always Home Cam’s Limitations?
So what can’t the Always Home Cam do? Well, here’s where things get a little sticky. For one, it can’t go upstairs. If you have multiple floors, you’re going to need multiple cameras. You also can’t control the camera remotely. While you can set up a custom flight path for the Always Home Cam, you can’t remotely make it deviate from the path, which is understandable due to privacy concerns. Also preventing the Always Home Cam from doing anything creepy are its loud rotors. When it’s in flight, anyone within earshot will know.
Pro Tip: There are lots of privacy concerns when using security cameras, both indoors and out. If you plan on using a camera to secure your property, make sure you read up on your state’s consent laws.
This is important because, as most folks now know, Ring is in some pretty hot water right now regarding privacy. The long and short of it is that some employees were allegedly accessing customers’ cameras without their consent to record private moments, and they didn’t do enough to prevent hackers from accessing people’s cameras. This makes our skin crawl, so the more privacy-focused a company is, the better.
That aside, let’s get back to the question at hand. Is the Always Home Cam the next stage of evolution in home security or just an interesting gimmick?
Is the Ring Always Home Cam Worth It?
Honestly, I think it’s a little too soon to make that call. The technology itself is certainly interesting, and I can clearly see the use cases where this type of equipment would come in handy (i.e., vacation in the Bahamas, anyone?). But hey, 100 years ago, no one even knew what a security camera was, so who knows? In 20 years, maybe miniature versions of these cameras will be zipping all around our properties, beeping and booping at us.
Right now, though, I don’t think there’s enough here to say the Always Home Cam is going to be a game changer. Even more telling is that Ring — or, more accurately, its parent company, Amazon — doesn’t seem super confident in the demand for the Always Home Cam. Priced at $250, the Ring Always Home Cam is currently invitation only, which is a move the company has pulled with other devices where uptake is questionable, like the Alexa Microwave and the Echo Auto.
At the end of the day, Ring makes some of the best security cameras on the market, so we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt here. Once we get our hands on one, we’ll certainly let you know what we think. And if you’re all-in already, you can request your invitation here.