ring is making some of its most popular features paid

Ring, the home security company bought by Amazon in 2018, is turning some of its formerly free features into paid ones according to a relatively hidden product update shared in the Support Center section of its website.

According to the company, new users within the United States and Canada will have to pay for a subscription to enable digital notifications and to have the ability to arm and disarm their devices by using the Ring app from March 29.

How Much Does a Ring Subscription Cost?

The Basic subscription package – the one that users will now have to purchase to have access to these features – costs $3.99 per month, or $39.99 per year, in the US and CAD$5.99 per month, or CAD$59.99 per year, in Canada.

The company emphasized that those who already owned a Ring device before 29 March would be able to still enjoy these features for free.

Those who opt to stay with the free version of the Ring app will only be able to access the last 24 hours of activity of their doorbells and cameras and will not be able to synchronize the two devices – unless they pay for a subscription.

The popular Home and Away mode will also be accessible to paid users only starting in late March.

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One of the most concerning aspects of this update is that Ring devices may be considered entirely useless without a subscription. The reason for this is that the alarm cannot be armed or disarmed remotely.

This means that the home may be vulnerable if the owner does not remember to set it up before leaving. In addition, if the alarm goes off and the owner is away, neighbors will have to put up with the noise until the owner gets back.

Other Ring-like devices such as those produced by SimpliSafe and Abode are not charging subscriptions to users for enjoying similar features. This could put Ring in a difficult spot if sales start to drop amid a migration to cheaper substitutes.

Ring’s CEO Stepped Down Recently

These changes come a few days after the departure of the company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Siminoff, who stepped down from his role after ten years to focus on product development activities.

“Invention is my true passion. I am constantly looking at how we can adapt to deliver for our neighbors, which is what we’ve always called our customers. This is why I decided to shift my role to Chief Inventor and bring on a new CEO,” Siminoff commented in a blog post.

jaime siminoff ceo of ring

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The company brought Elizabeth Hamren, the former Chief Operating Officer of Discord, to take over the leading role due to her experience at other companies that sold consumer electronics such as Oculus and Xbox.

It is unclear if the decision to transition some of Ring’s most popular free features was made by Siminoff or Hamren as the latter is scheduled to fully take over her duties later this month.

Ring is Criticized for Sharing Videos with the Police Without Authorization

Ring has recently been scrutinized by consumers and lawmakers within the United States for giving out security footage to authorities without the homeowners’ consent.

Senator Edward J. Markey (D) brought up the subject in a letter he sent to the company that was later on made public.

He questioned the practices of Ring’s Neighbors Public Safety Service (NPSS), a program designed to coordinate efforts with local authorities to inform communities about relevant developments concerning their safety.

Amazon (AMZN) acquired Ring nearly five years ago and, under the umbrella of the e-commerce giant, the company has grown to become a leader in multiple home security categories going from doorbells to front-door cameras.

Recently, many tech-focused online magazines reported that Ring’s devices were being sold at discounts of 40% or higher on Amazon.com. This has made some of the company’s most popular devices a cheaper alternative at a point when competition in the space is growing.