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Amazon announced a new security solution for small and medium-sized businesses that leverages the Astro mobile robot. Astro was introduced in September 2021 with an underwhelming feature set for consumers. The new solution, called Astro for Business, is designed to give small business owners peace of mind and deliver additional security services beyond the stationary monitoring capabilities of the Amazon-owned Ring security product line which was acquired by Amazon in 2018 for over $1.2 billion.
The use case that Amazon is pursuing with Astro now is delivering a mobile security patrol solution that can run around your business after hours, monitoring the facility and alerting a business owner if something nefarious happens. Whereas the Ring security solution can easily monitor all of the entrances and exits to a facility with various sensors (including vision cameras), Astro provides a mobile camera that can be repositioned to investigate a situation remotely.
Business customers can tailor Astro for Business with separately sold subscriptions that each provide incremental benefits when layered on top of each other. This includes Ring Protect Pro and Astro Secure, a new subscription offering advanced business security features, like smart alerts, custom patrol routes, and scheduled patrols. Customers can also add a Virtual Security Guard for additional professional monitoring capabilities. From checking in after hours to having Astro patrol and send alerts if something is amiss, Astro for Business aims to give business owners eyes in more places and peace of mind knowing that they can better protect their business.
The company is attempting to deliver a security solution that provides enhanced security features at a lower cost point than some of the other robotic security solutions on the market from companies like Cobalt, Knightscope, and Badger Technologies.
Anthony Robson, head of product for Amazon Astro said, “We have been testing Astro in a variety of businesses and have seen firsthand how Astro’s intelligent motion helped provide visibility on blind spots and areas that existing stationary cameras couldn’t see, giving business owners peace of mind because their inventory and property are protected, even when they aren’t there.”
Astro for Business is engineered to monitor the facility 24/7, extending its coverage in businesses up to 5,000 square feet (for a single Astro mobile robot). Customers gain access to a suite of features, including live view, two-way talk, Astro’s HD periscope camera with night vision, and visual ID for smart alerts regarding unrecognized individuals. The system introduces additional subscriptions to augment security.
- Ring Protect Pro: A Ring Protect Pro subscription lets customers save Astro for Business video history for up to 180 days and sync Astro for Business with Ring Alarm to link Ring Motion Detectors and window and door Ring Alarm Contact Sensors for alerts when a Ring Alarm is triggered.
- Astro Secure: This feature enables Astro to patrol autonomously and lets customers create multiple security monitoring routes tailored to their business, with specific viewpoints and frequencies. Astro can also send customers smart alerts when it hears the sounds of smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms or glass breaking, and with a synced Ring Alarm, Astro can also move autonomously to triggered sensors to investigate.
- Virtual Security Guard: For even more protection, adding a Virtual Security Guard subscription lets Rapid Response agents respond when Astro is in Home or Away mode. For example, if Astro detects an unrecognized person, hears the sound of glass breaking or a smoke or CO alarm, or receives an alert that a Ring Alarm sensor has been triggered, agents are alerted. The agents can then initiate Astro’s live view and remotely navigate the device to investigate further, and if needed, call emergency services.
Real-world testing across diverse industries has yielded positive feedback from users. James Mahon of Southern Oregon Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., affirms Astro’s value, calling it a “security camera on steroids.” Chris Adkins of Louisville Office Furniture appreciates Astro’s real-time issue-checking capabilities, while Jonathan Hebel, COO of Hapa Group, attests, “Having Astro has helped me sleep better at night.”
Astro for Business is managed through the Amazon Astro app, giving business owners access to security alerts and oversight anywhere they have a network or cellular connection. Note that Astro cannot go up or down stairs and is intended for indoor use only. Currently, Amazon is only selling one Astro per customer as multi-device is not supported on Astro and Astro for Business. The company says that multi-device support is coming soon.
Astro for Business is available for purchase today starting at $2,349.99. At purchase, customers will receive a free four-month trial of Ring Protect Pro ($20/month) and Astro Secure ($60/month), a $320 value. If subscribed to both Ring Protect Pro and Astro Secure, customers can also add Virtual Security Guard for $99/month. Astro for Business is only available in the U.S.
Compare this pricing to Knightscope which sells its security service for $7 per hour. A 12-hour (overnight) security robot contact from Knightscope would run $558 a week or ~$30K per year, which is out of reach for most small businesses.