Securing the Door: Amazon Buys Connected Doorbell Maker Ring

Xconomy National — 

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has acquired smart-doorbell security system maker Ring as the company seeks to expand its home-security business.

The purchase was first reported by Geekwire, which cited a separate report from Reuters that the deal is valued at about $1 billion. That would make Amazon’s purchase of Ring the third largest in the Seattle e-commerce giant’s history. (The two biggest acquisitions were Whole Foods last year and Zappos in 2009, according to Statista.)

Santa Monica, CA-based Ring makes smart doorbells connected to cameras that alert homeowners when someone is at their door. Once the doorbell rings, a video is streamed to a homeowner’s smartphone or tablet, allowing them to speak to the visitors even if they are away from home.

Amazon says it believes Ring’s devices represent an important node in a growing home-security ecosystem built around Amazon Key product, which the company launched last October. The Key service essentially allows couriers to enter the homes of Prime customers to drop off packages—thereby avoiding “porch pirates” that steal deliveries left outside a front door. Key comes along with Amazon’s Cloud Cam, which “acts as the brains for a smart lock, allowing Amazon to decide when it should open your house for a delivery,” according to a Verge article.

Some of Ring’s products are compatible with smart locks made by companies like Kwikset and Lockstate; linking together the smart doorbell and lock allows homeowners to let in guests remotely, to name one use case.

In late December, Amazon acquired Immedia Semiconductor, a Boston area company that makes Blink Internet-connected security cameras. Terms of that deal were not disclosed.

Amazon and Ring do have a history together: The e-commerce giant last year invested in Ring through its Alexa Fund.

In fact, it was a failed search on Amazon that led Ring CEO James Siminoff to develop the technology that eventually became the startup’s key product. He and colleagues were working in a makeshift workshop behind a garage, making it a pain to have to answer the home’s doorbell, Siminoff recalled during a 2016 speaking engagement. He asked a colleague to purchase an electronic doorbell on Amazon so they could see and respond to visitors without having to leave the workshop. The search didn’t yield the desired result.

Siminoff said he searched online himself and confirmed his colleague’s finding. “Being the inventor, I started building one.”

Now, with the company’s sale to Amazon, things have come full circle for Ring.