New Video – Ring Smart Alerts (Rich Notifications) – A Really Useful Feature

Ring have recently released a new feature called ‘smart alerts’ or ‘rich notifications’, which basically sends an image (snapshot capture) alongside any alerts it sends out.

So if someone clicks your Ring doorbell, you’ll see an image of that person.

If your Ring camera (and doorbell) detects motion, you’ll also see an image of the person/event that triggered that motion.

This works in both Apple (who supported rich notifications from iOS10, in 2016) and Android too:

Video Transcript

Hey YouTube, I’m Tristan from Smart Home Point. There’s a new feature in the Ring app called Smart Alerts. And what this is is basically Rich Notifications. So when you get a ring or notification for a doorbell press or for motion, then it’ll actually show you alongside that text-based notification, it’ll show you with an image of the thing that caused that event. This is really useful.

For example, if you have an ax murderer turn up at your house at midnight, you can look at the notification, you’ll see an image of the ax murderer and you can say, “I’m not gonna answer the door.” “It’s midnight.” “Come back the following day.”, for example.

[Creepy voice] Parcel delivery.

Ah, okay. I wouldn’t answer the door to that guy even if he didn’t have an ax, he looks a bit crazy. But the point is, this is quite a nice feature from Ring because if you get a notification you can actually see what triggered that notification. And that’s quite useful especially for motion events where you can actually have false positives. For example in my garage, I regularly, well two or three times a week, I get a notification saying there is motion and I click through and there’s no motion. Or it’s just a bit of, but it’s basically caused by a bit of dust or a cobweb or something like that. So by having a snapshot capture along with that motion notification, I actually know to ignore that and at least it’ll save me from me to click through all the time to view the live feed. So I wanted to film this video and talk you through this feature in more detail. Let’s take a look.

Okay. So we launch the Ring app. So to enable this feature, you can actually do it on a per camera basis which is quite nice but it works for both battery-powered and plugged-in devices. So I’ll go into my Ring Doorbell. Basically what you’ll notice is you’ve got this new Smart Alert feature down here and in there it basically explains what the feature is, which is Rich Notifications. To see what is going on at your door without opening the app. So you can see at this little like on there, it says, “See what’s going on at your door without opening the app.” You won’t see snapshots when your phone has a weak connection. And that’s because Ring Cloud only stores the snapshots for up to 15 minutes and you can also click Learn More and actually get a bit more information there as well. Let’s turn on that feature. Let’s go back and I’ll do the same thing as well with my other device. So Settings, Smart Alerts. Yep. And let’s enable that for that one. Now it’s worth pointing out, and you can see this in the actual link if you click through in the Help Article, but this feature only works if you have the Ring Protect Plan for your particular camera. So it says right here, it’s included in your Ring Protect subscription.

So if you don’t have that, you obviously won’t have access to this feature and that’s because all it’s doing, this feature is sending you a snapshot capture, and obviously you need the Ring Protect Plan for snapshot captures to work. But the Help Article shows you everything you need to know about this feature is quite good. It’s worth pointing out that if you don’t see this feature, don’t worry too much because although it says it’s a new feature, it gets rolled out bit by bit to people. So for example, I know people who have this Smart Alerts feature before me. I only recently had it. So as long as you’ve got a somewhat modern phone you should really use this feature without any issue whatsoever. Let’s look at this in action now.

Okay. So I’ve received one notification, you can see that there. And if I swipe down, you can actually see a little image alongside the text-based notification of the image. And you can actually see their face as you scroll down. You can actually see the full size image which is a lot more useful than just the previous text-based notification. Now but what I’m interested in seeing is exactly how long it took for Ring to actually select that snapshot capture. So this is the actual recording of the event. And there you are. So it’s around just under seven seconds before Ring actually took that from the event and actually sent me that as a notification. And actually this is the perfect level, you know, I see the image perfectly. He’s not too close to my door so it’s really useful.

(garage door thudding) So now I’ll look at another example. This is me earlier on just opening my garage. Okay. So later on, I then go back into my garage and there’s motion in my garage. You can see the little notification there that comes up on my phone. And again, you can see the image alongside it. And if I swipe down, again you can actually see the notification and a bit more detail and you can see it in more detail. But here it’s not actually as useful. You can barely see me at all. So obviously it’s not as good, this particular Rich Notification. But what you can do is snooze motion events as well from here, which is really useful as well if you know that it’s a false positive for example. But in this case I wanna see how long it took, again, for it to actually give me the image. And so I’ll just play that recording back. And it was around now. There we are. Exactly the same or very similar amount of time. So it was around just under seven seconds before it sent me this image. So Ring, it looks like waiting around this amount of time and then just sends that image no matter what.

So let’s look at a third example. Got a notification again so if I swipe down and look at that. So again, perfect level of detail. This is from my Ring Doorbell again at my front door instead of from my garage. So now let’s see actually how long it took to receive that notification. (engine roaring) Okay. It was just around here. There we are. So six and a half seconds it took before Ring actually decided to take that as the snapshot capture and send it to me. So you can see a bit of a pattern here. It’s always around six or seven seconds.

Now let’s look at one final example. This was from night vision. See there’s motion in my garage, one or two seconds later, it sends through the actual image. And again if I swipe down, I can see more information and this is quite a good quality image, this is quite useful. So again, let’s do the same test with the counter. (footsteps plodding) Okay. Okay. So slightly less. It took just under six seconds this time to actually send me the notification. But again, you can see Ring are in general taking around six seconds from the time that motion starts to actually send out this notification. And that’s quite interesting. It’s doing that for both my Ring Stick Up Cam and my, oh my Ring Indoor Cam sorry, in my garage, which you’re seeing now. And it’s also doing that for my Ring Doorbell which is hardwired.

So it’s interesting that no matter what the device is, it seems to be around six or seven seconds before Ring takes that as the image that they then put in the Rich Notification. So that’s kind of interesting to me because it’s not like Ring are using some high-quality AI to actually work out what the best image is. They’re literally just waiting around six seconds from the start of that motion or from the start of that recording and saying, “Yes, this is the cutoff point.” “Let send this image.” So in most cases it worked well but as we seeing in the second example, it wasn’t actually the best quality image.

Okay. That wraps up this video. Thank you for watching it. I hope you found it useful. As you can see the Rich Notifications feature and the Smart Alerts section is quite a nice one. It works fairly well. And it’s nice that you get that image along with your notifications as well. If you like this video, please click the thumbs up button and don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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