Amazon ‘Pays $1bn’ For Smart Doorbell Maker Ring

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The acquisition could boost a new Amazon service that allows couriers to deliver parcels and food orders inside of users’ homes

Amazon has agreed to buy Ring, a US maker of smart doorbells with home security features such as live video feeds, in the e-commerce giant’s latest move into the physical world, in areas such as food shopping.

The deal was reportedly valued at more than $1 billion (£720m), which would make it one of Amazon’s priciest acquisitions to date, emphasising its importance to the company.

Amazon and Ring declined to comment on the terms, which were reported by Reuters, citing an unnamed source.

The Seattle-based company paid $13.7bn for upscale US supermarket chain Whole Foods Market last year and recently opened a till-less convenience store of its own, called Amazon Go, to the public.

Amazon Fresh
Amazon trucks at a company depot in 2013. Credit: Amazon

Amazon Key

Moreover, in October it launched a service in the US called Amazon Key that allows couriers to deliver items inside homes. The service is aimed at improving security, but could also boost services such as food deliveries.

Amazon Key already requires customers use an Amazon-compatible smart lock and mount one of the company’s own Cloud Cams near the door.

The addition of Ring, which has about one million customers, could help boost adoption of Amazon Key and, in turn, the AmazonFresh food delivery service, which is available in London, as well as some US states, Tokyo, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.

Amazon said the deal would allow it to help customes keep their homes “safe and secure”, while Ring said Amazon’s ownership would allow it to “achieve even more” in home security.

Amazon Key allows couriers to deliver items inside customers’ homes. Credit: Amazon

Alexa compatibility

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is already compatible with Ring devices. Users can tell Alexa to call up a live Ring video feed from their front-door camera.

Amazon’s Alexa Fund, which invests in companies working on voice technology, contributed to Ring last year.

Founded in 2012, Ring has more than 2,000 employees and had about $155m in sales in 2016, the Los Angeles Times reported last year.

Amazon was developing a competing smart lock with built-in camera before it bought Ring, Reuters said, citing a different unnamed source.

The company bought Blink Home, which also makes a video doorbell, along with home security systems and outdoor cameras, in December for a reported $90m. Blink devices are also expected to be used with Amazon Key.

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