The $200 Belle AI doorbell greets your visitors [Sticky or Not]

Who among us doesn’t desire having a butler to answer the door and intimidate guests?

Home security company Netvue is tapping into that undeveloped market with Belle, an camera-equipped AI doorbell that promises to greet your visitors and notify you when you’re needed through an accompanying app.

Among the benefits of Belle is the AI’s ability to interact with those visiting your door — for instance, the device can tell a delivery man where to leave a package. Belle can also recognize frequent visitors over time, so it can have a more “interpersonal conversation,” i.e. it can call that person by their name and give them options for things like contacting the owner, leaving a package or requesting to open the door.

Belle also promises to direct messages to the correct family member if a visitor came to see someone while all members of the household were unavailable, and provides users with a 170-degree, IR night vision-enabled 24/7 livestream of their front step, although video storage costs extra.

Also, there’s no reverse-peephole setup, which makes users potentially vulnerable to attack with a sock full of pennies.

Belle costs approximately $207 CAD through Kickstarter, with an estimated delivery in March 2018.

Verdict: Sticky.

I hate being caught off guard, and Belle — at least in theory — helps with this issue.

Though the promotional video only shows examples of wanted visitors, the more interesting use case, at least to my anti-social mind, is unwanted visitors. Imagine having a robot deal with door-to-door sales people? Or just to deal with weird neighbours who give off serial killer vibes — as is clearly the case with the old man in the straw hat in that promo video.

Of course, there are other smart doorbells on the market — namely Nest Hello and SkyBell HD, but neither are quite as ambitious in AI integration, though the $300 CAD Nest Hello does feature Google Assistant.

If Belle lives up to its claims, it earns itself a sticky rating in my book, and regardless of its success, I’m certain we’ll see a wide range of AI doorbells hit the market in the near future.

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series titled Sticky or Not in which Senior Reporter Rose Behar analyzes new and often bizarre gadgets, rating them sticky (good) or not (bad).