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article imageAmazon acquires Ring in latest move into smart home market

By James Walker     Mar 1, 2018 in Technology
Amazon has acquired Ring, the popular digital doorbell maker, for a figure believed to be in excess of $1 billion. Amazon is expanding into smart home products as it seeks to find ways to increase adoption of consumer AI and grow its hardware business.
The acquisition was reported by GeekWire and valued at over $1.1 billion by Reuters. Amazon and Ring have subsequently confirmed the deal, with Amazon saying it is "excited" to work with the Ring team. While it hasn't detailed how Ring's technology will be used, the company said it will continue to focus on smart home security.
Ring is a prominent hardware maker in the smart home ecosystem. It sells a range of connected security cameras, doorbells and other in-home devices that can be controlled remotely using smartphone apps. Its products are connected over Wi-Fi, so notifications are sent to the user's devices when the doorbell rings or a smart camera detects motion.
Amazon has made several smart home acquisitions recently, including security provider Blink. Blink produces similar products to Ring, including smart home cameras based around unique low-power chip designs. Amazon paid $90m to purchase Blink last December, significantly less than this week's $1.1 billion acquisition of Ring. Ring's valuation makes the deal one of Amazon's biggest acquisitions to date.
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There are several reasons why Amazon is interested in companies like Ring and Blink. It is actively developing first-party smart home products that mirror the devices produced by the firms. The technology acquired from Blink and now Ring is expected to be incorporated into Amazon's own Cloud Cam security system. Amazon could now also use Ring's expertise in doorbells and the broader smart home ecosystem to develop new features for its in-house products.
Amazon is positioning its Alexa ecosystem as a digital hub for the home. The company sees connected devices like cameras and doorbells as a way to familiarise consumers with technologies such as AI and the Internet of Things. By offering benefits including real-time remote monitoring of homes, Amazon hopes to lock people into its family of smart products.
Ring will provide Amazon with further expertise as it expands its own hardware businesses and develops Alexa. The company is expected to maintain Ring as an independent business and brand, mirroring its past acquisitions of companies including Audible, Twitch and Blink. Ring told GeekWire it will be able to "achieve even more" by having access to Amazon's resources.
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