“Finally a doorbell for the pandemic era,” we noted when Alarm.com introduced its sub- $ 200 Touchless Video Doorbell yesterday. But what was once a curiosity has now become a trend: the Netgear spinoff Arlo now also has its own non-contact video doorbell right down to the same product name.
Arlo does not have a price, release date or even a picture of the new doorbell that made me think: why should it be different from the doorbells that Arlo (and Google’s Nest and Amazon’s Ring, etc.) already offer today?
This is how Arlo describes the idea:
Arlo Touchless Video Doorbell uses precise proximity-sensitive technology to measure a visitor̵7;s distance and resets the visitor’s approach. Once detected, the guest hears an audible chime and sees a visible light signaling that the doorbell has been “pressed” and the homeowner has been warned – all before coming into physical contact with the device.
Most smart doorbells already have cameras with some form of motion detection. Some even allow you to fine-tune motion detection zones, and many already have lights and sounds that alert a visitor when they press the button.
Why not just fire a software update to existing doorbells, the ones that automatically ring the doorbell when the camera detects a visitor? It could play an audio message like “We’m knocking on your door, wait a minute,” too. Arlo’s video doorbells already support the sending of pre-recorded audio messages.
The humble webcam became 2020’s most important gadget when the pandemic hit, and most DSLR and mirrorless camera manufacturers responded to the lack of webcam by releasing software so you can turn them into webcams as well. Do doorbell manufacturers think they can entice enough people to buy a brand new doorbell just for this, at a time when people are not going to visit each other’s houses? If I’m right and existing cams can do this, it may be more effective to try to sell more of these existing models by building some goodwill.
Arlo introduced its first battery-powered doorbell at the end of last year.