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Ring opens its app to non-Ring cameras, for a price

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Select third-party ONVIF cameras will work with Ring starting in April

Ring is adding the ability to use ONVIF-compatible cameras in the Ring app, with a Ring Protect Pro subscription and a Ring Alarm Pro base station.
Image: Ring

Smart home security company Ring is expanding the capabilities of its Ring app to add cameras that support ONVIF. The Open Network Video Interface Forum is an open standard that allows devices to communicate with each other, even if they are from different manufacturers. ONVIF-compatible cameras are generally IP-based cameras and often powered over ethernet; a common form factor is dome-shaped with the ability to pan and tilt, although there are hundreds of options.

Sadly, this doesn’t mean you can add your Nest or Arlo cams to the Ring app; most ONVIF-compatible cameras aren’t manufactured by well-known names in the smart home industry. Generally, they are commercial grade or large-residential camera surveillance systems from manufacturers including Reolink, Amcrest, Panasonic, Bosch, Axis, HikVision, and Arecont Vision.

Ring, which is owned by Amazon, hasn’t released a list of compatible cameras yet, but says it expects to support ONVIF-compatible cameras that meet the following criteria:

  • Support a video stream of 1080p or lower
  • Support H.264 encoding
  • Have ONVIF enabled
  • Have a valid password set

To use the integration, which goes live in April, users will have to pay for a Ring Protect Pro subscription plan ($20 a month or $200 a year) and have a Ring Alarm Pro ($250). The Pro is the company’s latest security hub that includes an Eero mesh router, LTE, external battery backup, and local storage.

A Ring Alarm Pro and a Ring Protect Pro plan are needed to add ONVIF-compatible cameras.
Image: Ring

This is a good solution for a small to medium-sized business looking for an alarm system that already has an existing ONVIF surveillance system in place. It’s a similar move to the Retrofit Alarm Kit that Ring launched in 2019, which lets you add an existing home alarm system into a new Ring Alarm setup.

Once in the app, the ONVIF cameras will have access to Ring features, such as live view of video, smart notifications (including the option for a People Only mode), and the Ring app event history and timeline features that let you view recorded motion events.

While it’s feasible for residential Ring customers to integrate ONVIF cameras into their smart home setups, this move by Ring is clearly geared towards attracting small to medium-sized businesses to its products. The Virtual Security guard service Ring launched last year, which lets agents at a professional monitoring center respond to specific motion alerts on any outdoor Ring camera and take action for you, is aimed at a similar audience.