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A Dead Ringer For DoorBot

DoorBot-Looking-Left.jpgThis week has seen the team behind the DoorBot pseudo-smart doorbell announce their second generation product. In so doing they’ve renamed themselves Ring.

Honestly, my experience with Doorbot and its creators was so bad that I can’t help but harbor some animosity toward their operation. Yet, I want to be fair. Design is an iterative process. Perhaps they just need a few iterations on the theme to get to more generally usable product.

On the other hand, the description of the new product seems to be an incremental improvement from DootBot. Jump from 802.11B type Wifi to the more recent 802.11N type. Jump from VGA resolution video to 720p video, the baseline for HD. Abandon push-to-talk audio, ala Nextel of old, for something more akin to telephony. It’s basically a reversal of some of the bad design decisions embodied in the first generation product.

On the other hand, they still seem completely wed to their own “cloud service.” My experience with that was expect massive latency on call setup. Expect video only on occasion. I rarely even had continuous audio. On this basis alone you probably won’t receive that Fedex Express package you’re expecting on the first delivery attempt.

I’ve come to understand that my mistake with respect to DoorBot was expecting the kind of performance that I could more reasonably expect from any standards compliant IP phone. The DoorBot team clearly doesn’t have that sort of experience or appreciate that kind of performance. Even if that’s what separates the tools from the toys. DoorBot is a toy. Nothing more.

I wonder what Jamie Siminoff, CEO of DoorBot/Ring drives? If he was accustomed to a BMW 5 series would he find a Ford Aspire acceptable? That’s what I see when I compare any kind of SIP video phone to DoorBot. The analogy doesn’t actually work very well, for the Aspire will actually get you where you’re going, where DoorBot fails outright in its task much of the time. Fortunately for him, there aren’t that many people who know that they can justifiably expect better.

Some months ago we replaced the DoorBot with an Algo Solutions 8028 SIP Door Phone. It’s a breathtakingly functional and reliable device. It’s exactly what I wanted from day one. I have a full length review in process. I just can’t say enough nice things about the device or the company behind it. IMHO, it’s the anti-DoorBot. It’s a tool, not a toy!

In truth, I might have passed on even mentioning the transition from DoorBot to Ring. However, I think that the rebranding is, at least in part, and effort to cover their tracks. There are a lot of people who reported problems with DoorBot, many who feel as I do, that their issues were never addressed. I want to ensure that there is some resource online that connects Ring to DoorBot, for they are siblings at very least.

I hope that the UK-based team behind i-bell are at least able to deliver better support when their product starts to ship.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Like so many others, Doorbot was a disappointment. I never got it to work. I’m probably a fool, but I’m took them up on the offer for the Ring for 99 for existing Doorbot owners.

    I’m looking forward to your review of the Algo Solutions 8028 SIP Door Phone. If Ring doesn’t work any better than Doorbot, I’ll be through being an early adopter and want to get something that just works.

  2. Yassi,

    My experience was as much defined by the the company as the product. The product didn’t work here. The new and improved version of the product also failed to work reliably.

    Further, I was repeatedly in contact with the company. You were just the last person in the sequence. No-one at the company took ownership of the issues. The problems were never solved. Heck, they were never even publicly acknowledged.

    There are numerous places online where users who were not happy expressed their frustration.

    When Ring was announce I gather that there was an upgrade offer. At least that has been relayed to me by others. I received no notice of such an offer. I would think that you’d have a mailing list of at least those people who made an entry into your trouble ticket system.

    Whatever the case, I have a working solution in place. It’s dramatically better than Doorbot. I can even reliably send video to my SIP phones. Such integration with existing infrastructure, and zero reliable on a cloud service, are a real, reliable solution.

    Tools…not toys. We need tools.

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