No sooner did Amazon, the largest internet retailer in the world, launched “Key”, a smart door lock and security camera service system, in last October, has now acquired Ring, a smart doorbell maker, for more than $1 billion. According to reports, this is Amazon’s second largest acquisition after it bought Whole Foods Market for $13 billion. Amazon on 27 February 2018, said that it had acquired Ring, a maker of internet-connected doorbells and cameras, taking a deep dive into the home security business.
Earlier, Amazon has sent shock waves to the world by moving into the home security and automation space. It has partnered with lock manufacturers Kwikset and Yale and introduced its new in-home delivery service, Amazon Key. This is a service that uses the Amazon-made cloud cam to record the delivery personnel entering the home and lets the authorized people into the home with a unique unlock code through one of a few compatible smart locks by Kwikset and Yale.
While Key works through a keyless mobile phone technology, the smart doorbells from Ring offer similar services as Key. Ring, the maker of video doorbells and other smart-home technology, records live videos of customers’ doorsteps and homes and then sends the videos to their smartphones to assure security to people’s homes. This acquisition is expected to add to Amazon’s home security business. However, Ring is not the first home security firm that Amazon has bought in the last six months. Very recently, in December, Amazon even acquired Blink, a rival to Ring, which also makes smart doorbells.
Ring, the California-based startup, was founded six years ago with a single product called Ring Video Doorbell. It is a WiFi-enabled video doorbell that allows users(house owners) to monitor their front doors using an app on their smartphones. A built-in motion detector alerts users whenever a visitor arrives at their stoops and gives them the option to see, hear and speak to guests before they let them in. The company has since introduced other products, including security cameras, home alarms, WiFi-enabled smoke detectors, and flood sensors. In the last year, the company was said to have raised over $109 million in funding, valuing the company at about half a billion dollars.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that Amazon has partnered with Ring. Earlier, the e-commerce company has invested in Ring through its Alexa Fund, which supports startups that integrate their products with Alexa. Ring’s devices currently work with Alexa, virtual assistant of Amazon, by showing users camera feeds on Echo Show devices after hearing commands from the users.
Amazon is already into home automation hub and popularized smart home gadgets with its Echo products, which allow customers to control thermostats, cameras, door locks, lights, and other connected devices. With this acquisition, the online giant will be pushing deeper into the smart home services and home-security business to gain a strong foothold in the market. Currently, Amazon’s market value is more than $700 billion. Its stock price just exceeded $1,500, surging nearly 30% in 2018.