Technology Ring Alarm will require a subscription later this month...

Ring Alarm will require a subscription later this month for most basic features


Yet another company will charge its customers more for using existing features as the subscription-based smart home becomes the norm. Amazon-owned Ring is making several free features part of its paid subscription program starting March 29. From that date, you will no longer be able to access Ring if you have a Ring video doorbell or camera Home and Away Modes in the app without a paid subscription, from $3.99 per month ($39.99 per year). Modes is an easy way to tell all your cameras to stop detecting motion when you’re home and start when you leave.

In addition, all new users of the Ring Alarm system on or after March 29 must pay for a Ring Protect subscription to arm and disarm the system via the app, use the Modes feature, receive notifications, and control it with their voice. controllable via Alexa. Linking your Ring doorbell and cameras to your alarm system also costs you money.

Existing Ring Alarm customers will not lose any of these features. However as one Reddit user pointed it out, there are no guarantees that Ring will continue to provide long-time users with features they have paid for. “Based on this kind of behavior, I assume they will cook us frogs at some point. This is the stage of deception,” he wrote.

Linking your Ring doorbell and cameras to your alarm system also costs you money

This move, buried in a update on the company’s support site, makes the once very inexpensive DIY security system one of the more expensive options in a competitive field. None of its main competitors – SimpliSafe and Abode – charge for the ability to self-monitor your alarm system (including arming or disarming the system from the app or receiving notifications).

SimpliSafe used to charge for access to its app, but introduced a free tier which offers these basic features, likely under pressure from competitors such as Ring. Likewise Residence does not charge for self-checking or integration with Alexa, but will charge to access own home automation system.

As of March 29, new Ring Alarm customers will only be able to arm or disarm the system using the physical keypad unless they pay for Ring’s subscription service.
Image: Amazon

To access the Ring app and Alexa to control your alarm system, new users must now sign up for the Basic Ring Protect plan ($3.99 per month or $39.99 per year). You should only pay for the Pro plan ($20 per month, $200 per year) if you want to add professional monitoring to your system, or any of the other features it offers. It used to cost just $10 a month, but Ring already increased its subscription prices last year.

You also now have to pay for the Basic plan to get the Modes feature on the cameras, even existing users. The plan does add free recording for one camera and person alerts.

While the camera bait and switch seems most egregious – it’s retroactive, while Ring Alarm’s change only applies to new users from March 29 – if you’re using Ring cameras and doorbells without a subscription, then was the Modes feature not very useful to You.

Modes turns your camera’s motion detection settings on or off based on whether you’re home or away, preventing you from getting multiple motion-triggered shots of you in the house. If you don’t pay for the recorded video, you won’t get it anyway. Camera users will still have access to live view, two-way talk, motion detection and alerts.

These changes make the Ring Alarm unusable as a smart alarm system without a subscription

However, the changes to the Ring Alarm make it essentially useless as a non-subscription smart alarm system. You can only turn it on and off with the Ring Alarm keypad, and you won’t receive any app alerts or emails when your alarm goes off; only the siren in the base station warns you. You can’t turn it off remotely either, so if the alarm goes off while you’re out, your neighbors will suffer until you get home.

Subscriptions in the smart home have long been inevitable, even as many consumers are pushing back. It costs businesses money to run clouds and provide support, something many may have realized a little too late (see Wyze, Arlo, etc). The home security space is especially vulnerable. Many startups tried to adopt outdated systems by massively undercutting their prices, only to realize that they now had to make money somehow.

Updated, Friday, March 3, 11:30 AM: Clarified that you only need a Ring Protect Basic subscription ($3.99 per month) to access the new paywall features on Ring Alarm. A Ring Protect Pro subscription ($20 per month) is not required.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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