SkyBell, the Wi-Fi video doorbell maker, is trying some new things.
The 2.5-year-old company plans to expand its product selection beyond video doorbells, add new services, target new distribution channels, and integrate directly with more home-automation products, co-founder Andrew Thomas told TWICE.
The company recently integrated its new $199 Skybell HD with Nest’s thermostat, smoke/carbon-monoxide sensor, and Wi-Fi camera; with Amazon’s Echo; and with IFTTT.com’s Cloud-based integration solution. The IFTTT solution links home-automation products that don’t integrate directly via existing wireless home-automation standards. Integration with a lock company’s products is also in the works, Thomas said.
The previous-generation SkyBell 2.0, now at $149, lacks integration capabilities.
In another shift, the company has begun targeting security-service providers to integrate the SkyBell HD into their systems “to plug their platforms’ gap at the front door,” Thomas said. The company is already working with Comcast to integrate the device into Comcast’s Xfinity Home smart-home services.
In distribution, SkyBell is about to expand sales of SkyBell HD beyond the company’s website to undisclosed retailers in the coming weeks. The company offers the SkyBell 2.0 through HomeDepot.com, Amazon and Best Buy’s brick-and-mortar stores.
In its product roadmap, the company plans before the end of the year to add “other industrial designs for inside and outside the home and have them work together with SkyBell HD,” Thomas said without disclosing details. Facial recognition is also planned late this year, but not to automatically unlock doors, he said without going into detail.
New services are also in the works for this year, including a fee-based active monitoring service with ability to notify police of intruders. The price will be lower than the prices charged by existing professional monitoring services, Thomas said.
SkyBell currently offers free Cloud-based recording service, which begins automatically when the SkyBell HD rings or senses motion. The company previously recorded video only when homeowners streamed video from the doorbell to their smartphone.
New features: In launching the SkyBell HD, the company added multiple new features besides integration capabilities, including full-color night vision. “We are offering the first CE product with full-color night vision,” Thomas claimed As little as 2 lumens of light are needed to product a color image, he said Other night-vision solutions use IR to bathe someone in IR light so they will be visible in black and white on video streams.
Also new is a 1080p camera, up from 640 by 640, though the doorbell streams only 720p video to phones. FullHD 1080p streaming, however, could be used in the future to stream doorbell video to a TV, Thomas said.
Other improvements include the ability to change the brightness of the doorbell’s LEDs, turn them off completely, and adjust the doorbell’s speaker volume.
SkyBell 2.0 users who want to buy the SkyBell HD get $40 to $50 off the HD’s price.