IoT Devices in Seniors’ Homes – Part 3

smart home exterior

Smart/Video Doorbells

Smart doorbells or video doorbells are WiFi connected doorbells with a video camera. They can notify you when someone is at your door, and accessed using a smartphone app from anywhere. You don’t have to leave your chair or be home to see who’s at your door and have a two-way conversation with them. Ring (formerly Doorbot, now owned by Amazon) makes a smart doorbell camera with video and two-way voice communication.

This post is part of the series Protecting Senior Citizens Online.

It includes custom motion detection zones, night vision, and other features. Ring makes a rechargeable battery-operated model and a model that uses your existing doorbell wiring. You can also connect your home’s wiring to the rechargeable battery model for a continuous power supply.

Amazon Ring Video Doorbell
Amazon Ring Video Doorbell

How do you choose a video doorbell?

PC Magazine did a 2019 roundup of the best video doorbells. The Ring Video Doorbell was $99.99 and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro was $249 at the time of this writing. The entry-level model uses the rechargeable battery or your home’s doorbell wiring. It has 720HD video, two-way talk, and motion-activated alerts.

The Pro model only uses your home’s doorbell wiring. It has a 1080 HD video with two-way talk, custom motion zones, and infrared night vision. It also comes with four interchangeable faceplates. Ring provides an add-on service that allows you to store recorded videos from your Video Doorbell.

Both of Ring’s Video Doorbells are accessible via the internet using an app on a smartphone, tablet, or PC. The main differences are price and audio/video quality. If you’re not particular about the picture and sound quality, the entry-level model is the least expensive choice for the features. There are also many other choices besides Ring for video doorbells.

What value does a video doorbell provide seniors?

There are many applications for smart doorbells that would be helpful to seniors. People with disabilities or mobility issues can answer the door without going to the door. You can see and hear whoever is at the door using your mobile device or PC. This provides a measure of physical security, allowing a senior to answer their door without actually opening it.

Additionally, the Ring is accessible from multiple devices simultaneously. This allows trusted caregivers to check who is at an older adult’s door in real-time at the same time as their charge.

Privacy Concerns Using Video Doorbells

Update: privacy concerns regarding video doorbells have cropped since this post was initially written. An update is forthcoming.


This post is part of the series Protecting Senior Citizens Online. Be sure to check back for other posts in this series.

Copyright © 2019 Patrick M. Baker, Prime of Life Tech