Building a Smart Home Series Part 6a: Watching Over Your Home With Ring & Chime [#BaSH]

By - August 2015

In our first piece for part six, we talked about watching over your home with regards to a couple of video cameras system Arlo by Netgear and Dropcam/Nest cam by NEST. Both of these systems can be use to make sure nothing bad is happening on the inside and outside of your home while you are gone. Today I want to talk about a device called Ring. This is a device I’ve waited a lonnnng time to get to check. Ring is a video doorbell and while when you hear the term doorbell you might have certain thoughts, with Ring you can both watch over your home and interact with people who come to your house as well. This gives Ring a dual functionality which just adds to the smart features of your home. Then there is also Chime a new accessory device for Ring which help extends the abilities of Ring. So let’s talk about Ring and you can use this to smarten up your house.

What is Ring & Chime

Ring is a video doorbell that connects to your WiFi network and then allows you to answer your bell while at home or even when you are away. When you install the Ring video doorbell, you also download an app on your smartphone (there are apps for both iOS and Android). Once call connected and ready to go, people can come to your door and ring your bell like before; but now you have the ability to see the person at your door and talk to them at the same time. When a typical door bell, someone would ring it and you’d have to go to the door and see who it is or to talk to whoever was there. With Ring you could do both from the comfort of your couch or wherever you happened to be in the house. Or even when not at home…yes unlike a typical doorbell when someone rings it and you’re at work you can still know who is there and talk to them.

Ring allows you to see who is at your door and talk to them anywhere in the world. As long as you have an internet connection, you can answer your door. This is definitely smarter than that normal non connect doorbell. And I’ll tell you, Ring looks a heck of a lot better than those traditional doorbell as well. The Ring video doorbell looks very modern, not too futuristic where it looks out-of-place but a nice subtle modern look. Then if you add the fact that if comes in several colors such as Satin Nickel, Antique Brass, Polished Brass, and Venetian Bronze; you then have many options to fit the look and feel of your home.

Chime Now that we talked about what is Ring, what exactly is Chime? Chime is an extension to the Ring system. While it is great to be able to answer the door from anywhere in the world, sometimes at home our phones may not always be next to us. It could be simply that the phone is in the bedroom charging while we are in the living room watching TV. Chime is a little speaker that connects to the WiFi network and then to the Ring unit. It provides an audio speaker alert that can be heard in a good radius from where you plugged it in. You can plug it into any outlet, be it the kitchen, living room, bathroom, hallway, and it has a loud enough sound to be heard clearly. It is a simple device that just extends out the ability of Ring so you don’t have to keep your phone by your hip always to know someone is at the door.

Can I Set This Up On My Own?

Ring Whether you are tech savvy or really not that handy when it comes to electronics, you’ll be able to successfully install Ring and Chime. Ring lets you choose how you want to power your unit, you could do this by charging its install batter by USB which should last it a year before you would need to charge it again. Or you could choose to replace your current doorbell and wire the Ring in its place. Which ever way you choose, Ring has very easy to follow directions that can guide you through the process.

The set up was easy and roughly took me about 15 minutes or so. The longest part was just mounting the Ring unit to your outside location. If you have a power screwdriver this would make this part much quicker. The Ring unit comes with the tools you need to install it to the wall outside. Screw, drill bit if need, and a nice little leveler so you know you got it on straight. After installing it on the wall, on the software side you will just need to install the app for iOS or Android. Once you load up this add, the onscreen direction will guide you through naming your device and connecting it to your WiFi network. From there you’re in business. From the app you can set alerts, you set the zones you want the camera to trigger if there is motion, and add other users.

With Chime the set up is even easier. Just pick the outlet you want to have Chime in and load up the app. Chime and the app will find each other, connect to WiFi and your all set.

Why Use Ring & Chime?

Ring This is my favorite part involving talking about Ring and Chime. Even most recently it has happened and I was glad Ring was there to have my back. Now the main reason I love Ring is dealing with UPS and FedEx! Both carriers (although UPS is far worse at this) have the ugly happen of wasting my time with a package. I could take the day off, and be sitting home all day waiting for a package and they will come and leave the sorry we missed you note. Case in point I was home last week waiting for a package. The UPS guy did ring the doorbell, BUT when I came down I notice he already had the we missed you slip on the door. He was about to leave without really trying to delivery the package. Thanks to Ring and Chime (I had my phone in the room but Chime was in the living room as I hear it) I was able to catch him before he left. First Ring had a motion alert which made me aware someone was there, then once the I answered the bell from my phone to tell him I was on my way down. This saved me from having to wait another day to try to get this package.

Chime Another scenario and the most often one is a packaging arriving while I’m at work. Normally my landlord is home and she is nice enough to accept the package, but if she isn’t they just leave. With a normal doorbell, they would ring and once no answer just leave the slip and be on their way. With Ring I can answer, speak to them, and direct them to just leave the package there. Being able to do this is a godsend! Of course there are other uses, like being able to answer when anyone arrives at the door. There is also useful when you may be away on vacation. It is said a burglar might ring your doorbell to see if your home. Being able to answer could trick them into thinking you are and not trying to bust in. Plus if you use this in harmony with some other smart home features, say turning on your lights after the ring, this could further convince them someone is home.

Do I recommend Ring & Chime?

Ring

Honestly…absolutely! I’ve used Ring for a couple of weeks now and it has help me catch quite a few packages that I might have missed. Shoot the day after I installed in an important piece of mail was coming via UPS, and I was able to tell the delivery guy to just leave the package in the front of the house, all while being away at a press event far away. Thank you Ring! The Ring video bell will cost you $199.00, with Chime adding on top of that another $29.95 to that. It doesn’t come cheap but many of the smart home items I’ve seen over the course of the “Building a Smart Home” series, normally come in around this price. When you think about it, you’re getting a doorbell that you can answer from anywhere. If you have an internet connection, you are available to answer any visitor to your home. This alone is worth the cost to me!

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Jason Anderson is the Publisher & Editor At Large of G Style Magazine. A known gadget head and lover of all things digital. Some of his favorite movies include Hackers, The Net, The Matrix (1, 2, & 3), and Transformers.....see a trend here lol.