Alongside news of new Alexa devices, Amazon today unveiled a refresh of its Ring lineup including new cameras, alarms and more. The flagship addition for consumers is a new “pro-tier” security camera joining Ring’s radar-powered lineup, the Spotlight Cam Pro. However, the more interesting (or creepy?) news is Amazon’s plan to integrate its Ring Virtual Security Guard subscription service for third-party monitoring with its Amazon Astro robot.
Originally designed as a home helper, Amazon hadn’t been quite sure which direction it wanted to take its new robot. Now, it seems the company is testing out whether or not Astro could be used for security monitoring purposes.
The company says the new solution could make sense for those businesses that can’t afford an on-site security patrol but still want to keep an eye on their business after hours. Longer term, Amazon envisions a world where robots could complement or even take the place of security guards.
The integration as it stands today, however, will tie into Ring Alarm or Alarm Pro devices. When an alarm is triggered, the Astro robot could go investigate and observe the scene using its onboard camera. It can also be set to autonomously patrol a property when the Ring Alarm is set to “Away” mode. As a part of the Ring Virtual Security Guard service, the agents would also be able to remotely operate the robot when an alarm is triggered, allowing them to get a closer look at the scene, as well as use the Two-Way Talk feature to alert an intruder that the authorities have been called.
This seems like a far-fetched use case, to be sure — anyone daring to break into a property will not likely be scared off by the adorable Astro, though it could certainly catch them off guard momentarily. Amazon says it will begin testing this integration with a select group of small business customers in the coming months and will gather feedback.
Among the more typical updates, the company also announced a new camera, with the Spotlight Cam Pro. The camera employs radar to measure the distance and angle of an object moving in front of the camera. Its ability to detect motion three-dimensionally leads to more refined and accurate alerts, Amazon claims. Radar also helps to power a “Bird’s Eye View” feature that provides an aerial map of movement across a property, to give the full picture of a motion event. A similar “Bird’s Evey Zones” feature was also recently added to Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 and Floodlight Cam Wired Pro, the company noted.
Users can set their own 3D Motion Detection thresholds on the Spotlight Cam Pro, as well as customizable Motion Zones to trigger recordings and Privacy Zones to exclude areas.
It will be available for pre-order today in battery and plug-in configurations for $229.99. The solar-powered version is $249.99. The wired version isn’t yet available.
Amazon is also updating its Spotlight Cam Plus ($199.99) which now has a new look at is available with multiple power options including wired, plug-in, solar and battery.
And it’s releasing the second generation of its Ring Alarm Panic Button ($29.99), designed to be either wall-mounted or placed on a flat surface, enabling customers to call for help, including medical or fire assistance.
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