(Telegraph)– Amazon is buying smart doorbell manufacturer Ring for more than $1bn (£720m), one of the largest acquisitions in its history.The move comes as Amazon expands into home security technology, with the online retail giant launching smart keys and Wi-Fi connected security cameras in recent months in a bid to tackle package theft.
It raises the prospect of a delivery system where users who are away from home will be notified of somebody ringing their doorbell via a smartphone app.They would then be able to view the delivery courier standing on their doorstep before deciding whether or not to let them in.
Ring, which launched in 2012 and has offices in Melbourne, California, and Amsterdam, sells video doorbells and home security cameras, and says its products have been installed in more than 100,000 British homes.
The ‘smart doorbell’ – its signature product – allows users to monitor who is at their door remotely from their smartphone app.
Ring markets its products as a way of protecting homeowners from thieves.The firm has raised $443.9m (£320m) so far and was last valued at $760m (£547m), according to deal tracker Pitchbook.
The acquisition is one of the largest in Amazon’s history, after its $13.7bn (£9.8bn) deal last year for Whole Foods Market, a US food wholesaler.
Amazon has already invested in Ring through its Alexa fund, which offers venture capital to companies working on voice technology.
Amazon has invested heavily in home security technology in recent months.Last year, the e-commerce firm launched the ‘smart lock’ Amazon Key service in the US, which allows users to unlock their doors remotely and allow delivery couriers into their home.
The product is seen as part of a shift toward a system where packages are delivered directly into shoppers’ homes, ending the era of waiting at home for delivery couriers to arrive.
The service, initially only available to Amazon Prime subscribers, can also be used to schedule permanent access for family members, or give temporary access to returning visitors like dog walkers or cleaners.
Amazon’s investments in home security technology will allow it to compete more vigorously with Google’s Nest, which also sells smart cameras and doorbells.
A Ring spokesperson told The Telegraph: “Ring is committed to our mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods by providing effective yet affordable home security tools to our neighbors that make a positive impact on our homes, our communities, and the world.
“We’ll be able to achieve even more by partnering with an inventive, customer-centric company like Amazon. We look forward to being a part of the Amazon team as we work toward our vision for safer neighborhoods.”