Three years ago I brought a small group of engineers together to work out of my garage with the goal of building something cool and important. One year later in December of 2012, with 3 engineers and a team totaling 5 (1 was an intern) we launched the doorbot to the public.
Our “office” garage (November 2011)
Doorbot was a very difficult product to produce, between the goal of a battery that lasts one year, video, instant notifications, mobile apps, etc. However even with a skeleton crew and lack of proper funding we were able to produce and ship doorbots to our customers starting in November of 2013. Less than 1 year from when we had announced the product. Looking back this was a pretty incredible feat.
We were incredibly humbled by the response the product received. In the past year, we sold all of the 20,000 units we produced and shipped to customers in over 85 countries.
Doorbots success was just scratching the surface of our real goals. Armed with the profits from sales and $5.5 million from investors we began recruiting some of the best engineering talent in the world (a bold statement but I really think our engineers are the best) to build our next device and the foundation for our company.
Today we are 42 team members, 30 of which are engineers!
The Ring Video Doorbell was built from the ground up. It is the result of listening and learning from our 20,000 customers around the world. Ring was built to be a truly meaningful device for the owner. Not just a smart doorbell giving you the convenience of seeing who is at the door on your smartphone from anywhere but a doorbell that could provide meaningful security at its core, and smart doorbell functionality as a convenient benefit.
And out of all of this came our mission, “To Reduce Crime in Communities”. This is not a quick mission but something that we will continue to drive forward throughout the life of the company. While we, of course, have to focus on day to day goals, our mission is a 10-20+ year goal.
Our long-term mission helped drive all of the major technical features which for Ring, is 3 product values:
If you are still reading (thank you for that) here are some the changes that we have made, why we made them and how they all are directly linked to our long-term vision for the company.
The Ring Name
The name is as important of a change as anything else we are doing. We searched for a new name for 2 main reasons. The first was that we felt doorbot was a bit too “techie” for the home as we became more of a mainstream product/brand and we also wanted a name that would grow with us and fit the mission.
Ring has many meanings, the simple one is the “fun” part of ring meaning the sound a doorbell makes, but that was just an interesting side effect. The name actually comes from the “ring” of security we create around your home, and then in, time your community.
Getting the domain www.ring.com is a story of its own that I will post at some point.
The Product Design
While I truly loved the way the Doorbot looked, like the name it was very “techie”. The big “eye” was not something that every family felt warm and fuzzy passing by as they entered their front door. When we set out to design the Ring Video Doorbell we did everything we could to make the device not only less “techie” but enhance a home’s entrance.
We got extremely lucky and convinced a designer who has done some of the world’s most beautiful consumer products to create the Ring Doorbell. While we still had to have some plastic showing (that is where the infrared night vision and motion detection systems are hidden) the end result is simply beautiful.
We were even able to create real metal finishes that match the color of your door hardware.
At its core, the Ring Video Doorbell was designed to be the most advanced motion detection surveillance camera on the market. Battery powered devices like ours are tricky to do motion detection on. If you turn on too much you burn out the battery. Too little and you don’t see what you want. With the Ring Doorbell we used 3 motion sensors set up in an array. Our suppliers tell us they have never seen this in the market. This novel approach allows us to have multiple zones, allowing you to extract or add emphasis to areas where motion exists.
There are literally hundreds of new things in the Ring Doorbell. The camera is now HD and because we use a super advanced sound chip from Texas Instruments, you can speak over the device like a phone (two-way) versus having to “push to talk”. Cloud recording is now available allowing you to not only record conversations at the door but also store recordings of anyone that walks onto your property (thank you motion detection). Our Wi-Fi antenna was custom built by an amazing scientist in Germany to take into account for all of the unique things that our product faces being an outdoor device giving us incredible range.
I could go on and on about all of the features and technical things that we had to overcome to build and deliver the world’s most advanced doorbell but that is boring.
What is important is what those technical things mean to you and me as users of the product. The Ring Video Doorbell I believe will be one of the most important internet enabled devices in any home, bringing convenience, monitoring, and security to you in one simple to use and easy to install device. We summarize all of this in our 2-word tagline…