Alarm.com has announced a new device for anyone worried about visitors catching COVID-19 from, of all things, their doorbell. Rather than using a button, the Touchless Video Doorbell is designed to chime when its camera detects visitors standing on your doormat. Alarm.com claims this is the “first commercially available video doorbell that rings without requiring any contact,” and that its aim is to “reduce public health risks and make home visits and deliveries safer for all.”
In what seems to be an admission that this is quite a confusing way to ring a doorbell, there are instructions on how to ring the device printed on its front. Alarm.com is also selling a doormat accessory for the doorbell, which instructs visitors on where to stand so the doorbell can see them properly. Given how perplexed we found most delivery drivers were by Yale’s Smart Delivery Box, there’s a chance this touchless doorbell could create similar confusion.
Instructions on how to ring can be found on the doorbell itself… Image: Alarm.com … as well as the doormat accessory, available separately. Image: Alarm.com
When Alarm.com’s doorbell detects a person, it plays a chime in the home, sends a notification to your phone, and starts recording a video clip. You can see and speak with visitors through the doorbell, and it also integrates with the rest of a home’s Alarm.com smart home security system, so it can trigger other devices like lights when a person is detected. Its camera is 1080p HDR, and it’s also equipped with infrared night vision.
It’s admirable that the main people to benefit from a touchless doorbell would be the delivery drivers who’ve become vital lifelines for people avoiding leaving their homes. But it’s not clear how much help a touchless doorbell could actually be.
The latest advice from the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that surface transmission (like touching a doorbell contaminated with the virus and then touching your face) is “not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.” Instead, COVID-19 is thought to transmit from person to person most often when they’re in close contact with one another, which is something you don’t need a touchless smart doorbell to avoid.
Alarm.com’s Touchless Video Doorbell is available now via the company’s network of installation partners. When asked, the company wouldn’t comment on exactly how much the system costs, but said the doorbell itself is priced at “under $200.”