Ring Is Making a Smart Intercom System for Apartment-Dwellers
Users will be able to connect with their apartment building's intercom system to talk to guests and buzz them in right from their phone.
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.
ExpertiseSmart home technology and wireless connectivityCredentials
10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ring, the Amazon-owned video doorbell and home security brand, announced a new wireless intercom device Thursday at the IFA tech showcase in Berlin. As the European launch might suggest, the battery-powered gadget is slated to make its debut in Germany and the UK this year, with orders opening up later this month at an asking price of £120 (about $140 or AU$200). Availability in France, Italy, Spain and the US will follow in 2023.
Aimed squarely at apartment-dwellers, the wireless Ring Intercom is designed to connect with most of the building-wide intercom systems used by apartment complexes to vet visitors and buzz them in. Once you connect it to a compatible system, you'll be able to manage access from the Ring app on your phone, and you'll be able to sync the building's intercom with an Alexa-enabled smart speaker, as well.
"Technology in the home has to evolve to meet changing customer needs and busy lifestyles, and we're excited to continue innovating with easy-to-use solutions for our customers," said Jamie Siminoff, Ring's CEO.
"Ring Intercom puts the customer in control, improving secure building access for residents and visitors, while introducing the added convenience Ring customers know and love. By upgrading the functionality of their existing intercom, customers no longer need to stay at home for a delivery or leave guests waiting outside in the rain when they're not home."
In addition to the Alexa integration, Ring says that the new Intercom will enable auto-verification for Amazon deliveries and for approved guests, which would let them buzz themselves in without need for a door code or an extra fob.
As for privacy, Ring says that the intercom's two-way talk conversations are fully encrypted by default to prevent outside access to your intercom, so only people at your apartment door will be able to buzz for your attention. Ring adds that you can share or revoke access to your building or your app's intercom controls to whomever you like at any time.
Another key point: With no camera in play, the Ring Intercom isn't something that you'd use for video sharing in the Ring Neighbors app, which has drawn criticism from privacy advocates in recent years for facilitating police requests for user footage.
There's no set date for when the Ring Intercom will make its way to the US, but Ring says that the device will start shipping in Germany and the UK this October, before arriving in France, Italy and Spain in early 2023, with the US release pegged for sometime next year after that. You can head to ring.com/intercom to register for updates on availability.