By BECKY GILLETTE
Prices start at only $99 for battery powered Ring.com video doorbells that allow you to see, hear and speak to people at your door and monitor activity like packages being dropped off from your phone, tablet and PC. Home security system owners say something like Ring doesn’t provide all the protection needed, but do-it-yourself security systems in general are cutting into revenues for security system companies.
Ed Trim, owner, Pennington & Trim Alarm Services, Inc., Flowood, says he can’t pinpoint the exact percentage of business that the particular Ring doorbell camera has taken away. But he said estimates are that the do-it-yourself platform has taken about 30 percent of the home alarm business.
Andy Dykes, owner of AED Security Services, Jackson, doesn’t see Ring as competition. He sees Ring and security alarm systems as two different things.
“Ring is a good product because it allows you not have to open the door to someone, but have a way to address them,” Dykes said. “Sometimes people ring the doorbell and if no one is home, they decide to go in and see what they have. I have customers who have Ring and also have an alarm security system. I have one security system that integrates Ring and the alarm system all in one app.”
One problem with using Ring alone is a lot of burglars aren’t going to be seen at the front door. They are more likely to break into through a window or exterior door.
“Personally, I would spend money on a security system first,” Dykes said. “That would be the biggest deterrent from what I’ve been able to see in the field. A monitored electronic security system has doors and windows covered, and a motion detector inside. So, that would be the first layer of protection I would consider for a home or a business setting. Make it so someone gets a phone call if there is a break in or a fire.”
Motion detectors can be moved up and down so they don’t pick up things like a house cat. Dykes said they can be adjusted so the pet can walk under them. But with cats, he has seen problems because they can climb.
“With a cat, it is hard to determine because they can get up anything,” Dykes said. “I have seen them climb all the way up curtains. For different scenarios, you have to use different devices.”
Some people are very aware of the need for security. For others, they may put off doing anything until something happens like a break-in in the neighborhood.
Ryan Cumbest, owner, Pro-Tech Security Inc, Madison, said a lot of people are using both Ring and a security system.
“I have a Ring doorbell personally, but I also have real security cameras that are recording 24 hours a day,” Cumbest said. “We like to have monitored fire protection and burglar protection from all angles, not just the front door. Doorbell cameras like Ring.com are great to have, but they are not meant to stand alone. Burglar alarms don’t go down if the Internet service goes down. Devices like Ring aren’t nearly as secure as a stand-alone camera or a burglar camera. You need to use them all in conjunction.”
The camera systems are much more affordable these days. Cumbest said ten to 15 years ago, only the high-end customer could afford them. He estimated today a 24-hour-a-day security camera system with four cameras starts at about $1,400 installed.
“We specialize in burglar alarms with a camera system,” Cumbest said. “Residential systems usually have a stand-alone security camera system and a burglar alarm that notifies fire or police department. There is a difference between doorbell cameras compared to real security cameras.”
Glen Friedman, owner of Tec Pro Services in Gulfport, said devices like Ring.com are toys compared to what they install.
“We don’t offer that,” Friedman said. “We only have regular security systems that are hard wired. I wouldn’t be comfortable with something like Ring.com alone. I don’t suggest the Ring service.”
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