What’s the Story With Smart Doorbells?

On investigating the cool features of smart doorbells, we’ll discover just how self-aware visitor announcement devices are becoming. This is a nascent market, but one that’s destined to catch up with more mature home security gadgets, such as smart locks and the ever-watchful entrance IP camera.

Accepting Past Doorbell Limitations

This is the age of connectivity. Instead of manufacturing iron vessels and chiseling stone facades, layers of technology are learning to speak the same language and interface with each other to manage complex systems. On the distant fringes of these core systems, simpler assets orbit the main body. One example of this design ethic is the everyday doorbell that we all take for granted and barely notice as we give the single button a quick press. A bell rings somewhere within the home and the occupant, hopefully, becomes aware of a visitor on the doorstep. Of course, the innate simplicity of the device has sometimes been interpreted as a weak point. The occupant is zoning out on a loud movie, rocking to the bass line of a 7.1 surround sound soundtrack. He can’t hear the weedy tones of the doorbell and the visitor is stranded outside. This is a problem.

Innovating the Smart Visitor Announcement System

As an announcement system, classic doorbells lack smarts. What’s needed is a stronger communications conduit between the home and the outside, a system architecture that offers several communications channels. Smart doorbells leverage mobile tech to create a hybrid binary button, a model that looks much like a classic announcement kit, but, on closer inspection, the cyclopean eye of a camera can be seen at the top of the housing. Smart doorbells use this camera to take a peek at the visitor after the button has been released. At this point, the video footage can be passed onto a smartphone for viewing and the homeowner can decide whether to release the door lock or talk through the microphone of the smartphone in order to ascertain the identity of the mysterious guest.

Analyzing the Key Benefits of Computer-Aided Doorbell Kits

Security, convenience, and safety are the hallmarks of an electronic doorway guardian, and this must be the case with the new smart doorbells trickling onto the smart home market. In other words, in order for these devices to be marketable, they must serve the homeowner and have a clearly defined set of features. Here’s a concise evaluation of the most desirable features found in these enhanced visitor announcement tools.

  1. Incorporates a robust announcement feature. This includes programmable tones and MP3 loops as generated by a computer or smartphone. The natural progression of this theme leads to downloadable tunes and a built-in microphone that can record sampled messages.
  2. We build on function by multiplying avenues of connectivity. A smart doorbell, for instance, can send alerts by text or email because it’s connected to a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi interface. These alerts are then picked up on a mobile device even when the volume of the living room entertainment system is ramped up to 11.
  3. A smart doorbell incorporates information streams. A camera relays the facial features of the visitor to a mobile device, thus allowing the homeowner to recognize the guest.
  4. In the same vein as the above system asset, the smart communications option incorporates a feedback attribute. In other words, the holder of the video feed can talk to the guest to gather identity information. Also, at this stage of interaction, the occupant can touch the screen of the App and disengage the smart lock, a component of the system that is designed to partner with smart doorbells.
  5. These features, while found as standard on any modern smartphone or tablet, add a much-valued layer of security to any visitor announcement scenario. And, not coincidentally, this security feature can also be viewed as a convenience asset, because a responsible person can evaluate visitors without ever having to get out of the comfy living room chair.
  6. Camera features as dictated by individual smart doorbell manufacturers will extend this feeling of security by incorporating night vision and recording capabilities, thus storing footage that can be viewed by local police authorities.
  7. It’s perhaps not recommended to open the door when no one is home, but the option does exist thanks to the ability to hook a smart doorbell to the internet.
  8. Programmable options deliver the smart power of constantly updated Apps to the homeowners’ fingertips. Program the doorbell to send alerts to every member of the family or to automatically route audio and video feeds to designated mobile device holders.
  9. The role of the doorbell blurs the lines of communications, lending the device the communications innards of an intercom system and the chiming power of a traditional visitor announcement device.
  10. Designed with smart protocol bridging technology in mind, thus delivering the gift of connectivity to this basic button and bell gizmo.

The Anatomy of a Smart Doorbell

Designed to transparently offer the same features as a classic doorbell, the device rings a bell at the push of a weatherproof button. But this is where the similarities end. Modern smart doorbells add Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options and a choice to hook the system to the internet. The result is a mass of redundancies to reinforce the simple buzzer. Alerts flash on a mobile device App. Text messages and emails can be set. Finally, supplementary multimedia assets are infused into the housing. A camera and microphone pick up the outside world, delivering the identity of the doorstep visitor to a screen. In taking this design to its logical conclusion, a loudspeaker rounds out the feature set. The speaker pushes the voice of the curious home occupant outside, lending the system the abilities of an intercom.

Additional assets include a powered camera, the addition of night vision, and App dependent programmable features that can be skewed toward convenience or security scenarios by conscientious designers.

How to Install a Smart Doorbell

Simplicity and fast installation are intelligently guaranteed as each device adds very little in the way of physical changes to the housing. A camera is now present, but all other changes occur within the device. The increase in circuitry adds a battery to the internal configuration, a power source that can, in turn, be powered by existing low-voltage wiring, the thin wires that energized the original doorbell.

While perfectly capable of performing as a solo device, an intercom or announcement channel, the new breeds of smart doorbells coming to the market are particularly fond of the company. They’re built to connect to local networks and partner with smart locks and motion detectors. Beyond this logical trio, the doorbell and its App is built to create a welcoming glow. Software engineers support these primary design features by enabling tertiary connections, such as the turning on of driveway or door lighting, the snapping on of internal lighting in the hallway to illustrate the homeowners’ nearby presence even if he or she is in the shower or outside taking the dog for a walk.

ICT professional, author, serial Internet entrepreneur, investor, and of course, a smart home enthusiast!

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