Video doorbells are becoming popular amongst those of us who can't be bothered to get up and see if it's a salesman or Jehovah's witness before answering the door.
French tech company Netatmo, possibly best known for their wearable UV sensor, has added a HomeKit-enabled video doorbell to its lineup of smart home products, which also includes indoor and outdoor cameras and a smart smoke alarm.
The new product, creatively named the Smart Video Doorbell, looks fairly similar to products by competitors like Ring and Nest, but with the addition of Apple's HomeKit tech:
With the Smart Video Doorbell, the user knows who is ringing their doorbell at any moment. The user can see the visitor on their smartphone, speak to them, and respond immediately even when they are not at home.
The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell also immediately alerts the user if it detects people loitering around the house. It is the first doorbell compatible with Apple HomeKit that can be controlled using the Apple Home app or by voice using Siri.
The doorbell is being shown at CES 2019, where it won an Innovation Award in the Home Appliances category – Netatmo's ninth such award.
Fred Potter, the company's founder and CEO, comments:
"The Smart Video Doorbell is an ideal way to never miss a visitor or a package. It is also the best response to the growing need for solutions to secure the home entrance. As with our other products, we have designed the Smart Video Doorbell in compliance with essential principles to guarantee the best smart home experience possible; it’s a useful and reliable product, with thoughtful notifications which ensures our users’ data protection, and without planned obsolescence."
Video doorbells are especially handy for receiving packages when you're not at home. You get a video call on your smartphone, see who's at the door, and talk to them directly – so you can say "please don't leave my Xbox One under the doormat, thanks buddy."
The doorbell also acts as something of a security camera, giving you real-time notifications if someone – perhaps the notorious package thief – is lurking. A video is also recorded at the same time for identification, law enforcement, or posting on the internet.
The camera offers 1080p (full HD) quality with a 160-degree wide-angle lens and auto-adjusting HDR, so you can still see people's faces when the sun is blazing behind them (you can tell this product wasn't designed in the UK). It also has infrared for night vision.
The doorbell runs off your existing home WiFi, but it does need wiring in. The upside is that you don't need a subscription to see your videos or livestream once you've bought the camera. Videos and calls are stored on an internal microSD card and can be automatically transferred to your Dropbox account or FTP server if you choose. They're secured with end-to-end encryption.
As well as Apple HomeKit, the doorbell is compatible with IFTTT. No mention of Alexa or Google Home though.
The Smart Video Doorbell will be available in the latter half of 2019, price to be confirmed.