Video doorbells go some way to ensuring you always know when someone's at your door, but if you’re not at home and can’t answer the alert on your phone, you may still miss them.
With this in mind, Ring has unveiled a new feature that lets Alexa answer the door and take a message for you - but you'll need to make sure it responds the right way for you.
Alexa Greetings sees Amazon’s voice assistant greet the person on your doorstep once the doorbell has been pressed. It also asks the purpose of the person’s visit. Depending upon the response, it will offer to take a message or provide instructions of where packages should be left.
- Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus: Should you buy it?
- Ring Video Doorbell 2 review
- Ring launches new affordable Video Doorbell
You can specify how long before Alexa should answer the doorbell and the instructions for deliveries in the Ring app. Any messages taken by Alexa can also be seen in the Events section of the app.
Alexa Greetings, which is only available if you have a Ring Video Doorbell Pro and a subscription to Ring Protect, is one of three 'Smart Responses' being rolled out in the US.
Quick Replies lets you choose from six pre-recorded messages including “Please leave the package outside” or “We can’t answer the door right now”. There’s even an option that asks the visitor to wait a few moments, giving you more time to answer the door.
All of the Quick Replies also offer the caller the chance to leave a message. If you’re at home and don’t feel like getting the door, you’ll be able to watch the message in the Ring app, and if you subscribe to Ring Protect, which costs from $3 / £2.50 / AU$4 per month, you’ll be able to access the message at any time.
The third feature; Motion Warnings, is available on the same Video Doorbells as well as the Floodlight Cam, Indoor Cam and Spotlight Cam and warns anyone detected by the camera that they are being recorded. Ring says it hopes this may deter unwanted visitors.
Ring was unable to confirm whether Smart Responses would be rolled out to other regions.
"While Ring can’t comment on the roadmap at this time, it will make product decisions based on what will best empower customers with an affordable, effective way to monitor and secure homes," Ring told TechRadar.
Ring’s announcement comes just days after a Ring user spotted the Smart Responses section in their app but found it didn’t do anything when tapped.
Alexa taking over the home
This is just another example of Amazon trying to automate the home - while it's a long way from the crazy world of the Ring Drone and the Amazon Echo Show 10, which are basically robots that can monitor your phone for you, Amazon clearly wants to be the 'robot butler' that can watch your house while you're out.
That's an interesting idea - it adds in a level of privacy worries that some might feel is giving over control to BIg Tech, but equally this automation is a natural extension of what's already there.
Smart Responses are similar to pre-written texts you can fire when you're at the cinema or driving, but it's important to keep the right settings that mirror where you are - else you'll be telling people to leave when you're happily nestled at home.
Additional reporting contributed by Gareth Beavis
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Carrie-Ann Skinner was formerly Homes Editor at TechRadar, and has more than two decades of experience in both online and print journalism, with 13 years of that spent covering all-things tech. Carrie specializes in smart home devices such as smart plugs and smart lights, as well as large and small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, stand mixers, and coffee machines. Carrie is now a copy editor at PWC.