Amazon’s acquisition of smart doorbell Ring marks a sea change for the smart home market.
Amazon has been upping its smart home game in recent years and positioning its Echo smart speaker, powered by digital brain Alexa, as a hub to control a variety of functions. But acquiring Ring, which its CEO said last year has a valuation of more than $1 billion shows Amazon wants to control the market.
— Michael Wolf (@michaelwolf) February 27, 2018
So Amazon bought Blink. Now it's buying Ring. It doesn't need these things. It's just trying to annoy Google.
— Chris Merriman (@ChrisTheDJ) February 27, 2018
The market is noticing as well. Shares in home automation company Alarm.com dropped as news of the acquisition began to break. Amazon stock is up about 2 percent in after-hours trading.
The smart home market is a competitive one, with big tech companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google aiming to become the central hub that connects smart devices like Ring’s doorbells. A myriad of companies make smart home equipment such as cameras, locks, and doorbells. Ring is one of the more well-known and well-funded of these device makers.
If the deal’s price tag does exceed $1 billion, as reported by Reuters, it will be one of the biggest smart home buys since Google acquired smart thermostat maker Nest in 2014 for $3.2 billion.
The deal could help Amazon improve its ambitious plans to deliver packages inside people’s homes. This past October Amazon unveiled its own $119.99 home security camera, Cloud Cam, with a companion Amazon Key app that works with smart locks to let Amazon Prime members give access to their homes. But the concept faced some difficulties in the early going, and some aren’t fans of it. But having Ring under its umbrella could add an additional layer of security to that process.
Buying Ring is not Amazon’s first smart home acquisition, as the tech giant last year acquired Blink, a startup based in Andover, Mass. that makes wire-free smart security cameras and video doorbells. Before the Ring deal came together, Amazon made an offer to buy smart locker maker August Home for $100 million, according to The Information, but August balked before later selling to Swedish lock manufacturer Assa Abloy for $150 million.
Though Ring will likely remain independent, some changes are probably in the offing. Ring products are carried by several Amazon competitors, such as Walmart and Costco. It seems unlikely that will continue, but it remains unclear.
Dating back to 2016, Ring promised integration with Apple’s HomeKit, and comments indicated that a year later in October 2017 that still had not happened. Though that seems unlikely now, Ring insists it’s still happening.
HomeKit is definitely still in the works. As soon as testing is completed for the Ring Pro and Floodlight Cam, we'll partner with Apple to provide you with an updated release date.
— Ring (@ring) February 27, 2018