As part of Amazon's annual Devices & Services Event, the company has announced a few new Alexa products and a refresh of the Ring lineup – which includes an integration of the Ring Virtual Security Guard service with Amazon Astro.
Taking the shape of a new pilot program, the company is testing out whether or not Astro could be used for security monitoring purposes, and this integration will enable the company’s first home robot to investigate home disturbances.
The announcement from Amazon comes as part of its plan to integrate the successful Ring Virtual Security Guard subscription service, with the method of third-party monitoring, using the very cute Amazon Astro robot that was released a year ago.
The Amazon Astro is a household robot with Alexa compatibility, designed for home monitoring. It employs advanced navigation technology to patrol its way around your home, and can go where you need it to by asking it directly or by remotely sending it to check on specific rooms, people or things while you're away.
The Ring Virtual Security Guard, however, is a separate service that provides customers, and primarily smaller business owners, with live motion-event monitoring. This is observed by professionals from Rapid Response, who can then intervene on your behalf and alert authorities to intrusion when necessary.
Astro has a 5MP bezel display camera, with an additional 1080p periscope camera that has a 132° diagonal field of view. The product was launched in limited quantities by Amazon as a Day One offering for $999.99, though it is now available to buy exclusively by invitation only – and only in the US, for the time being.
When paired with Ring's Virtual Security Guard, Astro will immediately and proactively investigate what happened and head to the area where a Ring Alarm sensor has been tripped, while agents can then use Astro’s cameras to observe and assess the situation and take appropriate authority action, or warn off any intruders through two-way talk – all in real-time, during the day or night.
"Astro is Amazon’s first device with a new multimodal AI capability, that will enable it to learn about things in your home that you want it to," said Ken Washington, vice president of Consumer Robotics at Amazon.
"Based on what you say while Astro is looking at an object, Astro will learn about the object’s place and state in your home… This will start with doors and windows, so that Astro can alert you if something was left open that shouldn’t have been."
Amazon also specified during its announcement what else could be next for Astro, and it includes soon being able to detect cats and dogs, as well as including the aforementioned ability to recognize and check specific windows and doors in your home.
While patrolling, Astro will be able to send users a video clip of what their pet is up to as and when it sees them, with options to then use its Live View to speak with them or simply enjoy watching their antics. Astro can also take a picture of your pet and document what they’re doing, as well as other locations in the home.
Be sure to join the waitlist for Virtual Security Guard if you're interested in trialing the service, which if selected will be free for a limited time. Amazon says it will begin rolling out the integration to a small group of business customers in the coming months and is looking forward to any feedback.
Please note: Ring's Virtual Security Guard is an add-on service that requires enrollment and a paid subscription, currently available by invitation only. A compatible Ring Protect subscription is also required to enroll in the Ring Alarm professional monitoring service available only within the U.S. and Canada.
• You may also want to take a look at the best outdoor security cameras, as well as our guide to the best indoor security cameras, and even the best fake security cameras, and why not discover Blink vs Ring: which Amazon security camera system is best?.