At CES 2021, this touchless video doorbell rings itself so your hands stay clean
A doorbell for the coronavirus age: Just stand on the mat before the camera and the doorbell will ring.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
We knew to expect lots of pandemic-inspired pitches at this year's all-virtual CES tech showcase, with all sorts of new products designed to help you keep your hands (and your germs) to yourself. Among them is a new video doorbell from Alarm.com that uses video analytics to ring itself whenever it sees someone standing on your mat.
That design eliminates the need for anyone to physically press a button, and the built-in camera and microphone let you talk with them through your phone without opening the door. That's a pretty sensible idea, and a good fit for anyone who's spent the past ten months disinfecting their doorstep whenever a package or a pizza gets dropped off.
Watch this: The Alarm.com Touchless Video Doorbell keeps your hands free
"Our Touchless Video Doorbell helps homeowners and visitors alike maintain social distance and avoid encountering germs, bacteria and viruses that may exist on surfaces around the front door," says Anne Ferguson, Alarm.com's VP of marketing. "Adding this touch-free solution to an Alarm.com-powered smart home security system is another way we can stay vigilant and protect one another."
The unconventional doorbell includes labeling that directs your visitor not to touch it -- and if you want, you can add in an accompanying doormat to make the use case even more apparent. It's just a doormat, though (and sold separately) -- the person detection all happens via the doorbell's camera.
In addition to triggering the chime, standing in front of the doorbell can also trigger other Alarm.com devices, like smart lights. Alarm.com adds that the doorbell is also smart enough to differentiate between people, pets and packages to help avoid false rings.
As for the specs, the doorbell features a 150-degree field of view, infrared night vision, full HD resolution with HDR, and an on-board heater to keep the doorbell from getting too cold during the winter. Saved clips are uploaded to Alarm.com's Network Operations Center, and you can view them via the Alarm.com app for up to 60 days. An option for local storage of those clips would have been a good, privacy-minded addition, but given that this is a home security system accessory, most will want the monitoring professionals watching their home to have access to that footage in the event of an emergency.
Alarm.com didn't share pricing or availability specifics here at launch, but a company spokesperson tells me that it'll be available for less than $200. For now, expect to see the doorbell and its trusty mat at licensed Alarm.com providers in your area.
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