Amazon buys smart doorbell start-up Ring

Amazon has acquired video doorbell maker Ring in a deal reported to be worth $1bn. The move comes as the e-commerce giant looks to refine its delivery services and bolster its range of smart home products

The purchase of smart doorbell start-up Ring could form part of Amazon's latest proposal – dubbed Amazon Key – to deliver to customers' homes when the owner isn't present

Amazon has paid $1bn to acquire hi-tech doorbell firm Ring, according to various reports surfacing on February 27. Although neither company has publicly commented on the deal, experts believe it could provide a boost to both Amazon’s delivery services and smart home ambitions.

Ring may have only been founded in 2012, but the Santa Monica-based start-up is already being used by more than two million customers. Its video-enabled doorbells allow users to see outside their homes by streaming live video to their smartphone or computer. With the smart doorbell space becoming increasingly crowded, the Amazon partnership should help Ring compete against the likes of SkyBell and Vivint.

“We’ll be able to achieve even more by partnering with an inventive, customer-centric company like Amazon,” a Ring spokesperson told CNBC. “We look forward to being a part of the Amazon team as we work towards our vision for safer neighbourhoods.”

With the smart doorbell space becoming increasingly crowded, the Amazon partnership should help Ring compete against the likes of SkyBell and Vivint

It is thought the purchase of Ring could form part of Amazon’s proposal to deliver to customers’ homes when the owner isn’t present. The recently trialled service, dubbed Amazon Key, combines a security camera with a smart lock and bespoke app to provide users with in-home delivery and keyless entry. Gaining access to Ring’s customer base could help Amazon expand this service rapidly.

The acquisition of Ring also adds another product to Amazon’s growing portfolio of smart-home devices. The e-commerce giant already produces an indoor security camera, Cloud Cam, as well as Amazon Echo, a smart speaker that can control smart home functions using voice commands. What’s more, Ring is already compatible with Amazon’s virtual personal assistant, Alexa.

The global smart home market is expected to be worth in excess of $50bn by 2022, but it will be difficult for smaller players to compete with the ecosystems being built by the technology heavyweights of Amazon, Google and Apple. As such, they’ll be left with little choice but to accept any acquisition offers that come their way – as they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.