Video doorbells are slowly becoming commonplace because they seem like a great idea. You want to see who’s at the door before opening it. Traditionally people would look through a window or peephole, but you may not get a full view of who’s at the door or (if they are criminals), they’ll see you’re there and pounce. Video doorbells fix this issue, but as with any technology, we have to talk about how effective they are and the potential side effects of using this solution.
This might be the one thing keeping video doorbells a fad rather than commonality. Many people are worried that the installation will be difficult and requires lots of work and accessories. The truth is that these doorbells are about as easy to install as any other doorbell. It’s best if you already have an existing doorbell because they work with those wires.
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a doorbell because some are battery powered. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to install Ring, Nest, Skybell or any other video doorbell.
Motion Detection and Video Recording
Some doorbells record video 24/7, others only record based on motion detection, and others are a mix of the two. You can view the video from your smartphone, tablet, and often from your desktop. This finally lets you see who is at the door without getting up.
You can use this to see if burglars are coming towards your house, which gives you time to react and the video can be used against them. This also allows you to see if packages come, confirm that the children came home, and just watch for any weird activity around the home. Not only that, but some video doorbells network with other local video doorbells and alert you of odd activity.
The video recording is always good, but not quite as effective as a security camera. I think it’s redundant to have both and would prefer a security camera out of the two, but this doorbell can be a good introduction to home security.
This is more specific to Nest Hello, but I’m sure it’s not the only system with this issue. Performance can sometimes be choppy and that’s an issue with doorbells. You’re already expected to react quickly, and now you have to worry about interference. In my experience, it often takes about 10-20 seconds for my phone to tell me someone rang the doorbell. By that time the person at the door is wondering if you’re home.
Notification speed depends on your system. Some will alert you as soon as something is detected while others will only notify you after the event is finished. The former is better. You want to know when something happens that second, not after the person has left.
One other thing you must consider before buying a video doorbell is your WiFi speed. All of these doorbells function on WiFi, which makes them easy to install. However, you must ensure you have good speed and a reliable connection for the camera to work. If the speed is poor, then you might get choppy video, low-resolution recordings, or it may not transfer properly. If your router isn’t reliable, then you may never get a notification when someone pushes the doorbell or when the motion detection senses someone.
Video doorbells are cool, but they are not infallible.
This feature is a big one for many people. Now you can finally talk to people before opening the door. Grill them on who they are and what they want. It seems great, but it’s very gimmicky and not all that great. You might get a power trip the first time you do it, but it’s just not worth it.
It ruins the element of surprise because now the person knows they’re being watched. Also, while the audio transmission is usually pretty good, it’s not the same as actually talking to the person. Plus there’s the delay, which makes any conversation choppy and stilted.
The truth is that it’s better to just open the door and talk to the person. If you have any medical issues that make this difficult, then the audio feature could be essential. Outside of that though, this isn’t that great. It’s slow and you’ll immediately see its limitations once you use it.
Don’t you love all these privacy issues? Almost every new piece of technology comes with privacy concerns. We’re going to talk specifically about Ring here, but you will likely find similar privacy issues with other video doorbells. Do your research and know what you’re getting into before buying one of these doorbells.
Hopefully, this changes soon, but right now Ring has an open-door policy on giving law enforcement the ability to access, share, and sell the video amongst themselves and third parties. On one hand, this seems good (aside from the selling part, why do they need that?). It makes it much easier for the police to catch the bad guys.
But let’s be honest. Ring usually isn’t recording burglars. It’s recording you, your family, your friends, and anyone coming to your door delivering food, packages, and so on. Keep in mind it isn’t just your Ring. Any other Ring around the neighborhood is also recording you. Scared yet?
As long as you’re not doing anything weird, then you probably don’t have to worry about your footage being accessed or sold. But why should this even be a worry in your head? Many senators and other high-level officials are trying to fix this, but for now, be aware that RIng is recording you and others can access that data.
Video doorbells are cool and they work well as home security devices. I still think a dedicated camera is better, but these give you a good view of whoever is at the door and the motion detection is good. However, there are privacy concerns and you need to ensure that your WiFi is amazing before installing a doorbell. If you’re curious about them, then try one out, just be sure to read the privacy statement before installing it.
Image Credits – TechHive