My Doorbell’s Smarter Than Your Doorbell…by Mark

Lynne and I are lucky. Peyton can take care of himself for short times  He can straighten his room, take out the trash, do the dishes, feed and walk the dogs and other life skills we’ve worked with him on.  He can cook for himself and occasionally for us. He knows not to leave the burners on the stove on, and has occasionally busted me for forgetting to turn off the burner. Since he is homeschooled, he has a schedule that he adheres to that begins most mornings with a 10 minute workout to clear some of the cobwebs and get the blood flowing. Then it’s on to his workbooks, reading or online classes from websites like Coursera or Khan Academy, with a couple of breaks including for lunch, and then winding up with chores and or playing with his friend Josh. These are all skills that make him feel like a normal 16 year old, things he can succeed at, or occasionally overlook like any other 16yo.

This level of independence allows us to run errands, attend meetings and the like, for short times during the day. Thankfully, we can monitor Peyton while away via FaceTime (He has an iPad for schoolwork), texts and phone. Also thankfully, we live in a safe, gated community with several neighbors who work from home. He knows these people and how he can go to them in case of an emergency if we are not home. We have a home intruder alarm, but it can be somewhat confining, and many times it will be set off by the dogs or someone inside opening a window.

That’s why I was so intrigued by the Ring Smart Doorbell system. We were introduced to Ring by a segment on CNBC. We have CNBC on in the background all day, occasionally glancing up if there’s a story that catches our eye. They did a feature on the Ring smart doorbell and I was instantly hooked. This would be the perfect way to monitor whoever came to the front door, separate from our home alarm system. Ring works two ways. It uses Infra-Red sensing to sense movement of objects around your front door and sends you an alert. If you choose, you can view the alert on your phone or tablet device and see if it was just a neighbor walking the dog, or a salesman leaving a flyer. Then, if someone rings the doorbell, Ring allows you to see and talk to the person at your door to either answer the door or tell them you are busy. It sends video and audio over your home wifi system and stores it all in the cloud for later retrieval if necessary (for a small monthly fee). Best of all, it sends these alerts and allows you to do all this no matter where you are! If the person ringing the doorbell is someone who worries us, we can head home right away, or contact one of the neighbors or even call 911 right then.

On Halloween, the Ring really got a good workout…plus a lot of inquisitive kids and parents wondering about it.

As you can see, kids love our doorbell.

We love it too. Most home burglaries seem to begin with the bad guy ringing the doorbell to see if anyone is home. Peyton is instructed not to answer the doorbell if we are not home. Ring allows US to answer, see who is there and talk to them, no matter where we are. It gives us one more level of comfort. It is perfect for parents like us with a hi-functioning autistic teen. It is also great for elderly people, new moms, people who work, kids who come home from school and homeschoolers…in short, just about anyone could benefit from a system like the Ring Smart doorbell. It costs $200 at places like Home Depot (where I got mine after much searching…the HD associate had never heard of it, but another associate said they can’t keep them in stock), or order from Ring.com.

This is in no way a paid endorsement from Ring or any other companies mentioned in this post. I am simply writing this to discuss what I feel is a great and somewhat inexpensive way to monitor our front door while we are away. Let us know your thoughts and recommendations on other ways. Oh, and the title of post is taken from the old commercial jingle which many of you may not remember but goes “My dogs’ better than your dog”. Google it if you want it stuck in your head for a few days… Thanks for your time, Mark

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