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Amazon’s Ring may be branching out beyond outdoor cameras

By Mike Murphy

The Amazon panopticon may soon be getting a few new eyes.

In February 2018, Amazon paid $1 billion to acquire Ring, the connected-camera doorbell company whose founder was once rejected on Shark Tank. Since then, Ring has been integrated with other Amazon services, allowing live feeds from its devices on Amazon Echo Shows and leading to new products such smart floodlights. Ring has also helped Amazon to flesh out its rather creepy Key service, where users with Ring doorbells can pair up with a connected lock and choose to let people into their homes remotely.

Ring has also been building up its Neighbors app, which allows Ring users to share their camera footage with people who live nearby, allowing them to see if they believe any crimes have been committed nearby. Ring has also forged partnerships with more than 50 police departments, leading to communities that are effectively surveilled by the police, through the camera company owned by the US’s largest e-commerce company.

Amazon is apparently not stopping there with its one-stop viewing. The company recently received trademarks, uncovered by Quartz, for multiple products that bear the Ring name, including Ring Beams, Ring Halo, and Ring Net.

All three trademarks are listed as covering a range of uses, many matching what Ring products currently offer, including internet-connected security cameras, alarm systems, lighting, and cloud video storage. They also mention new applications, such as cameras intended to be mounted on motor vehicles, electronic locks, indoor cameras like pet and baby monitors, and “home and business surveillance systems.” All three trademarks even suggest the marks should cover “navigation software for use with smart, autonomous vehicles and mobile machines for use in connection with internet of things (IoT) enabled devices.”

It’s possible, however, that in the case of the Ring Beams trademark, this was intended as rebranding for the lighting company it purchased just before it was bought by Amazon, Mr. Beams. Ring mentioned calling forthcoming products “Ring Beams” in the original press release from January 2018, but it hasn’t released any products under that name since then—its lights are sold under the Smart Lighting moniker, instead.

There’s no guarantee that Ring or Amazon plans to use these names in forthcoming products. All of these trademarks have been filed in the last seven months, with Ring Net and Halo filed in March. It’s possible that Amazon plans to consolidate Ring with Blink, the other security-camera company it purchased around the same time. Amazon representatives weren’t immediately available to comment.

Unlike Ring, Blink’s current products are mainly focused on indoor surveillance and some of the use cases in the uncovered trademark filings. Amazon has also filed for trademarks to rebrand the two companies under its own name, as Amazon Ring and Amazon Blink.

Update: An earlier version of this post stated you could use the Ring doorbell camera for Amazon’s Key in-home delivery service, which in fact only works with Amazon’s Cloud Cam.