Ring, Amazon’s smart home security division, unveiled a flying camera that launches when sensors detect a potential home break-in.
Limited to one floor of a home or building, it works indoors and is activated when residents are out of their homes.
Amazon also unveiled a new online games-streaming service with a voice-activated swivel screen.
While the technology seems promising, some are referring to the drone product as “chilling.” Silkie Carlo of Big Brother Watch said, “It’s difficult to imagine why Amazon thinks anyone wants flying internet cameras linked up to a data-gathering company in the privacy of their own home. It is important to acknowledge the influence that Amazon’s product development is having on communities and the growing surveillance market.”
Previously, Ring has been criticized for normalizing surveillance technologies in people’s lives. This is due to the fact that the company has encouraged users to share information and recordings with the authorities. Ring refutes these claims and believes that smart alarm systems, video doorbells, and indoor video cameras are helping to make neighborhoods safer.
Leila Rouhi, president of Ring stated, “It only reports when it is in motion, and when it’s not in motion it’s physically blocked from even being able to report. In addition to that, it’s built to be loud, so it’s really privacy that you can hear.”
The unit sends a smartphone alert to homeowners when there is a potential break-in and allows the homeowners to view live footage from the cameras.
At launch, the device will only be available in the United States for $250.
Ben Wood from CCS Insight said, “The Always Home Cam is an incredibly ambitious device that will seem like something from a science fiction movie for many customers. I expect it to generate a huge amount of interest from technology enthusiasts who are typically the people who embrace smart home technology first. However, it is also likely to provoke a huge discussion around privacy and the future role of technology in the home.”
In addition, the Ring division unveiled a new security camera that is designed for use in cars. The camera monitors nearby activity when the vehicle is parked and also features a function that records when a vehicle is pulled over to potentially capture any interactions with police.
Amazon’s second major announcement was the launch of Luna, a cloud-based game-streaming service. Luna is a new gaming system that will run on remote computer servers without having to purchase a console. The Luna+ channel will have access to older games for $6 a month and can be played simply with a controller. Titles will include Sonic Mania, Resident Evil: Biohazard, Control, and Metro: Exodus.
Luna will be direct competition for Google’s Stadia. It will be available via a TV dongle as well as on other devices including Apple’s iPhone and iPad. This is a noteworthy feature due to the fact that Apple has restricted high-profile games-streaming services that defied its App Store rules.