Having a video doorbell means not just seeing what's going on when someone rings. It means you've got a camera at the front of your house that you can use to alert you to activity, and see what's happening. Here, I run through how we're getting on with our Ring Video Doorbell Pro's Motion Detection feature.
We've now had motion alerts turned on with our Ring Video doorbell for a couple of months. So far it's worked fairly well. The concern with a system like this is that it could get too annoying if it generates too many false positives, since each alert comes through on your phone as a notification.
So far however, it's worked fairly well. We have the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. This means that to setup motion alerts, you must first define what Ring term 'Motion Zones'. When you do this, the app pulls up a video feed from the camera, and lets you draw out the areas where you want motion alerts to be active.
This means that if there are areas where you don't want motion detected (say, a road going by the front of your house), you can exclude these zones. You only have to get alerts from areas you indicate. It's different with the regular 'standard' version of the ring video doorbell, where you only get to choose a radius out from where your doorbell is installed.
You also can set the sensitivity. Set it too sensitive, and every small movement is going to trigger an alert. Set it too conservatively however, and you might miss alerts. We've got it set bang in the middle. So far it's proved sensitive enough to generate alerts when the neighbours cat strolls past, but subtle movements as plants and other foliage sway in the wind have not generated alarms.
You can also tell ring if there are any time periods when you don't want alerts to be coming through. This might be useful for some people, but for us, it's not something we need. At night we tend to just rely on our smart phones to go into 'do not disturb' on a schedule anyway.
With the motion detection feature turned on, you'll now get notifications on your phone when motion is detected. 'Answer' the alert and you're immediately taken into live view in the Ring app, just as would be the case with a doorbell-push event.
Once in Live View, you can monitor what's going on, and even talk to anyone roaming around out in front of your home.
Ring is an event driven system, so even if you have a subscription to cloud video recording, your Ring Doorbell won't be recording continuously. As a result, turning on motion detection is something you'll really want to do, as it's the only way the Ring system is going to record any actual activity that doesn't include a doorbell-push event.
Inside the ring app, you can of course review all your events, including motion alerts, and watch any video recorded.
Of course, there are always going to be times when you want to turn this feature off. Say you're doing some gardening out-front, or maybe you're washing the car. The last thing you need is smartphones constantly lighting up because of that activity. Thankfully, Ring have recently introduced a 'Snooze Motion' button, which lets you temporarily disable motion alerts from between 15 minutes up to two hours. Very useful!
The system has been working well for us so far. The only times when we've had major false-positives is during very bad weather. If a droplet of water lands over the camera, and then starts moving around in high wind, it can generate a lot of alerts, as well as obscure the view from the camera.
Setting this up 'just right' can take a few goes, tuning the motion zones and sensitivity to be how you want it - but I'm finding it works well, so I'm pretty happy with it.
As always - I'll report back if I have more to share!