Smart Doorbell

Is a Smart Doorbell Right for My Family?

March 15, 2021 by

At one time, the idea of a homeowner having a friendly conversation with the dog walker, cleaning crew, or package delivery person via a front door camera while they’re not at home may have seemed quite futuristic, but not any more. Homeowners today are adding smart home technologies to their home alarm systems, ranging from voice assistant devices to smart lights to video doorbells for the greater convenience and security they offer.

Smart doorbells go beyond the standard visitor notification of a traditional doorbell. They’re connected to your home Internet, which allows them to “ring” a smartphone or other connected device regardless of how far away from home you are. This makes it possible to integrate your doorbell with your smart home automation system. Smart doorbells also feature a video camera that displays real-time video from your front door, so you can see your visitors from wherever you are.

Here are some reasons to add a video doorbell to your home alarm system:

Additional Door-Answering Features

Video doorbells offer the same benefits as security cameras; plus, they have a button to alert you when there’s someone at your front door. In fact, having a smart doorbell eliminates the need for an additional camera facing the front of your house because that area is already sufficiently covered. With a smart doorbell, you can watch any visitor approaching your door even before they ring the doorbell. If you’re not monitoring the video and someone pushes the button, you will receive a notification on your smartphone or other Internet-enabled device, whether you’re at home or on the go.

Smart doorbells not only provide real-time video, but also two-way audio, which allows you to communicate with your visitors regardless of where you are. Since you can see and talk to your visitors without having to physically approach the door, you can conveniently opt to let them in or keep them out without letting them know that you’re home. You have peace of mind to:

  • Decline answering the door if you’re home.
  • Choose not to answer the door, but talk to them via the two-way audio option (like with an intercom) whether you’re home or away.
  • Answer the door.

Screening your visitors from anywhere using your smartphone is both convenient and safe, since they won’t know whether you’re home or not. As such, any unwanted visitors can’t insist that you open the door for them.

Security Camera Features

Smart doorbells are not just limited to the features of visitor detection and video surveillance, but also include Wi-Fi connectivity, motion detection, high-definition recording, wide-angle recording, night-vision support, and livestream capability to smartphones.

Some Smart Doorbell video cameras also have artificial intelligence (AI) person recognition, which gives them the ability to filter out “false triggers” such as swaying plants, trees, or holiday decorations to minimize the incidence of motion alerts from all manner of objects, especially on windy days.

That said, you should keep in mind that some of these smart features are limited to the type of video storage option you choose, like cloud versus built-in memory. Alarm.com, for instance, offers 24/7 cloud based clip recording, but requires users to subscribe for a cloud video storage plan. Nonetheless, we recommend cloud storage so you can access the footage even if your camera is stolen.

Installation Options

Video doorbells can be powered through a GFCI outlet plug-in, low-voltage wiring, or batteries. They can also be powered through a combination of the last two options. Your best option may depend on the availability of an outlet close enough to the entry door (where it will be connected via an adapter), or proximity to low-voltage wiring (16V to 24V AC). That said, if there is an existing doorbell and chime at your home it is best to remove the old doorbell and connect the smart doorbell using the existing wire. Some smart doorbells run exclusively on a rechargeable battery pack with optional wiring. Generally, battery-powered units allow for ease of installation without compromising the aesthetics of your front porch with wiring or trunking, but they tend to be bulkier to accommodate the batteries.

Touchless Doorbell

With the Alarm.com smart doorbell, you can take advantage of the touchless doorbell feature for an enhanced door-answering experience. For instance, you can have your doorbell automatically ring if someone comes near your front door without pressing the doorbell button. You can even purchase a face plate for your doorbell that covers the button and clarifies that it is a touchless doorbell. There is also a mat that can be added that says “Step On Mat To Ring Doorbell.”

Cost

Cost is always an important consideration when purchasing an item, and a smart doorbell will obviously set you back a little more than a traditional doorbell. The higher price not only applies to the cost of purchase due to the added video camera and technology, but also possible cloud video storage subscription. Most video cameras cost between $200 and $500 to acquire one, and a monthly fee of $5 to $30 for online storage depending on the service provider and number of cameras.

Verdict

Smart doorbells (video doorbells) expand the basic function of traditional doorbells while bringing you greater convenience and safety when handling visitors. Although they have a camera, they are not designed to exclusively secure your home. After all, smart doorbells are not alarm systems, but are a great supplement for families that already have an installed alarm system.

That said, some smart doorbells offer a wider viewing radius, which is sufficient to capture more than just the person standing at your door. They can’t be compared to dedicated outdoor cameras for viewing larger spaces or at tricky angles, but you will still know what’s happening.

Regardless of whether or not you have an existing alarm system, adding a smart doorbell will give you an unrestricted outdoor view of your front door, which raises your security level. As well, with a smart doorbell, it makes it more convenient to deal with visitors. For more information, please contact Canadian Security Professionals.

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