Smart doorbells: See who is at your front door wherever you are and avoid nuisance callers

The Ring Video Doorbell helps you keep unwanted callers at bay and lets you keep an eye on your front door whether you're upstairs, at work or on holiday.

Smart home technology is changing our domestic lives for the better, allowing us to turn up the heating or turn off the lights using a smartphone or through voice control. It’s not just lighting and thermostats that are now connected to the internet however - your doorbell can be too.

Using a device like the Ring Video Doorbell, you can see who’s at the door - and even speak to them - without getting up from the sofa, or even being in the same house.

[Read more: How technology is changing our homes]

Smart home technology refers to devices that are connected wirelessly to your home wi-fi network. This lets them bring you information from the internet as well as interact with other devices on the same network, including other home appliances and your smartphone or tablet.

The result? A futuristic home in which you can control everything centrally just by speaking or whipping out your phone. you can even control some devices remotely, so if you want to put the hot water on from your office or check that you switched the iron off from the bus, you can. 

How does Ring Video Doorbell work?

Ring makes a whole family of cameras that can help protect your home, but at its core is the Ring Video Doorbell. This beams clear high-definition video to your smartphone or tablet, so when someone rings the bell, you can see live footage of them standing outside your house. These images are sent via your home wi-fi network, so make sure you have a robust broadband connection in place.

The Ring Video Doorbell also contains a speaker and microphone which enables two-way audio so you can speak to the person at the door no matter where you are. You don’t even need to be in the house or even in the same country: as long as you can connect to the internet, you can act like you’re just busy and can’t make it to the door.

All of this is then controlled via the Ring app which is available on any smartphone or tablet running Android or any Apple device.

Which Ring cameras are available?

The best place to start is the Ring Video Doorbell 2 which works either via a battery or hardwired to your home's power system. It can show you pictures both day and night and can provide a livestream from your door either when the bell is pressed or on-demand using the app.

Althernatively the Ring View Doorbell (pictures above) attaches to a standard door peephole, providing you not only with a live feed but also letting you look through the peephole as you normally would.

Finally there's the Video Doorbell Pro which in addition to the features mentioned above is powered by a 24 VAC transformer and comes with a chime, intelligent motion detection and four interchangeable faceplates.

Not only are these great for speaking to couriers, neighbours and anyone else who knocks on your door, it will also deter burglars, as they’ll be fooled into thinking the house is occupied even if you're away, which should give you peace of mind.

In addition to the conventional doorbell cameras Ring now also make a range of indoor/outdoor security cameras such as the Ring Stick Up Cam which can be discreetly placed either indoors in your living room or outdoors overlooking your garden or garage.

Just like the Doorbell, the Stick Up Cam can beam live video, allows two-way talking and even comes with an anti-burglar siren that can be remotely activated.

How do you install Ring Video Doorbell?

You can replace your existing doorbell with a Ring Video Doorbell in a matter of minutes. First, download the Ring app for Android or iOS and follow the instructions on where to position your router. Switch off the power to your existing doorbell and remove it. Then it’s a simple case of drilling the Ring mounting bracket in place and attaching the wires.

Not replacing an existing doorbell? You’ll need to power your Ring Video Doorbell using its internal battery. To see how to install it, watch this video.

If you're installing a Ring Stick Up Cam and want to mount it on a wall or ceiling follow these instructions. If you just want to use the provided stand, simply place it on a shelf or in a discrete location make sure it's plugged into a nearby wall socket and then follow the instructions within the Ring app.

Does Ring Video Doorbell work with Alexa?

Ring's doorbells do work with Alexa, but only on the Amazon Echo Show and Fire TV. This is is because Amazon’s other Alexa-enabled devices don’t have screens, so you wouldn’t be able to see who’s at the door.

Ring's cameras work with all models of Echo Show and Fire TV and the second-generation Fire TV Stick. They also work with Fire TV Edition Smart TVs, which are only available in the US at the moment.

However, the original Ring Video Doorbell isn’t compatible, only the Ring Video Doorbell 2.

To use your Ring Video Doorbell device through Alexa, just say “Alexa, show my front door” and you’ll see a live video feed showing who or what is at your front door.

Does Ring Video Doorbell work with Nest?

Ring Video Doorbells don’t currently work with Nest products.

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