Every September, Amazon hosts its annual product launch event, where it unveils new products, upgrades to old products and new added features. Why should residential security integrators care? Because Amazon means Ring...and it appears that the latest unveilings absolutely have Ring targeting traditional residential security customers.
At the 2019 event, Amazon unveiled more than a dozen new Alexa-enabled products – ranging from wireless earbuds, to smart eyeglass frames, to a smart oven. But once you scroll past all the cool consumer electronics devices, you come to the Ring announcements - one of which might be concerning to residential integrators.
First, the less worrisome – Ring introduced a new Alexa-enabled "Stick-up Cam" HD camera with two-way talk. Basically, it is a standard indoor/outdoor security camera that makes it easy to mount for DIY users. It comes in battery-powered or solar options. The other introduction, the Ring Indoor Cam is a modified version of the Stick up Cam but for use only indoors.
Next is the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit. There is precious little to go on regarding this product because it won't be officially released until sometime in November. That said, this marketing speak Ring posted on Facebook is eye-catching for the traditional residential integrator:
Feel stuck with your existing home security system? With the new Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit, you can use your already wired contact sensors to connect with Ring Alarm, easily upgrading your old security system into a smart one. Available in November 2019.
This is Ring targeting current residential security customers – and former customers as well, for that matter.
While hard details are sketchy until the official release of the product, the retrofit kit adds Ring Alarm to an existing alarm panel – essentially a DIY takeover kit for the systems originally installed by either a residential alarm company or the original builder. Presumably, the kit will enable Ring Alarm to use the existing motion and door/window sensors and contacts already in the home vs. having to install all-new hardware for customers wanting to make the shift to a DIY Amazon-powered system.
Is this an advertisement to all home security users to fire their security company for just $199?
“Ring recognizes many homes and small businesses have antiquated alarm systems with wired sensors,” says consultant George De Marco, Managing Partner of DECO Ventures and Chairman of the Electronic Security Expo (ESX). “They want to offer end-users a viable solution that allows them to fully experience Ring’s smarts and features of their security brand, along with an affordable price point for their products and monitoring services. Coupled with Amazon’s powerful brand and marketing strength, Ring has significant opportunity to convert a slice of the older alarm system market into their long-term ring of security strategy.”
It is not a completely out-of-left-field move; in fact, SecurityInfoWatch has covered a product similar to this in the past: A kickstarter-launched company with a product called the “Konnected Alarm Panel“ – a DIY takeover kit for the Samsung SmartThings hub. The company announced the second iteration of the product at CEDIA in September.
If you have attended an ESX show in the past few years, this “Amazon is coming for your customers” mantra has been heard more than once. “I believe the sandbox is large enough for traditional companies and disruptors to play well together; however, for traditional security companies to remain competitive and relevant, they need to review their technology and retention strategies to ensure their attrition does not spike up,” De Marco says. “In addition, traditional companies must recognize that they are not entitled to their customers anymore, especially with the generational change that is happening in the marketplace. Earning their business with exceptional customer experience will be a 24/7 job.”