Starting on March 29th, Ring, which is owned by Amazon, will include several free features in its paid subscription program. If you have a Ring video doorbell or camera, you will no longer have access to Home and Away Modes in the app without a paid subscription. This will cost a minimum of $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year. Mode is a feature that allows users to stop their cameras from detecting motion when they are at home and start again when they leave.
Furthermore, new users of Ring Alarm systems after March 29th will have to pay for a Ring Protect plan to arm and disarm their systems, use Modes, receive notifications, and control it with Alexa. Connecting Ring doorbells and cameras to the alarm system will also incur a cost. While existing Ring Alarm users will not lose access to these features, some users are concerned that Ring may remove access to these features for legacy users in the future.
Ring’s decision to charge for previously free features is now included in an update on the company’s support website. The change will make Ring’s DIY security system more expensive compared to competitors, SimpliSafe and Abode, who do not charge for self-monitoring features such as arming or disarming the system from the app or receiving notifications.
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SimpliSafe previously charged for app access but introduced a free tier, likely in response to competition from Ring. While Abode does not charge for self-monitoring or Alexa integration, it does charge for access to its home automation system.
Starting on March 29th, new users of Ring’s video doorbell or camera will have to subscribe to the Basic Ring Protect plan, which costs $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year, to access the Home and Away Modes feature in the app. In addition, new users of the Ring Alarm system will need to pay for the same plan to arm and disarm the system from the app, use Modes, receive notifications, and control it with Alexa.
Existing Ring Alarm customers will not lose access to any of these features, but there is uncertainty whether Ring will continue to offer these features to legacy users. The Basic Ring Protect plan is also required to link Ring doorbells and cameras to the alarm system. New users only need to pay for the more expensive Pro plan ($20 a month or $200 a year) if they want professional monitoring or additional features. The Basic plan now also includes free recording for one camera and person alerts.
While the removal of the Modes feature may seem like a significant change, it only affects users who use Ring cameras and doorbells without a subscription plan. Modes simply switch the camera’s motion detection settings based on whether the user is home or away, which may not be useful for those who do not pay for recorded video.
Camera users will still be able to use live view, two-way talk, motion detection, and alerts. However, the change is retroactive, which means that even existing users who do not have a subscription plan will lose access to the Modes feature.
The recent changes to Ring Alarm have made it nearly useless as a smart alarm system without a subscription. The only way to arm and disarm the system would be through the Ring Alarm keypad, and users won’t receive any alerts or notifications when the alarm is triggered, except for the siren.
They also can’t disarm it remotely, which means that the alarm will continue to sound until the user returns home. The rise of subscriptions in the smart home industry was inevitable, as companies incur costs for cloud services and support. This has led to many startups undercutting legacy systems, but they now need to find ways to make money.