The latest audio, video and wireless systems converge in new models.
Doorbells and chimes from China are becoming more versatile and user-friendly amid suppliers' efforts to enhance competitiveness. Leveraging advancements in various technologies, makers are developing systems with better audio and video functions, multiple security features and a wider operating range.
In video doorbells and intercoms, the industry's high-end line, a few are working on devices that harness 3G. Such products can be programmed to dial the mobile phone of a homeowner, enabling him or her to converse with the visitor and allow entry wherever he or she is.
The systems also enable remote monitoring and control. Once connected to motion and gas sensors, they can be set to dial a certain number automatically when an intruder or gas leakage is detected.
Companies targeting better video images are equipping models with a wide-angle camera. The view can be tilted up or down via the indoor module or receiver, providing homeowners different lines of sight.
Color cameras and LCDs are also being utilized. To enhance nighttime viewing, outdoor units or transmitters are fitted with infrared light.
Underscoring convenience for users in high-rise apartment buildings, several suppliers have introduced doorphones that can be connected to similar products and a central management system. Other units function as a security device when they are wired with elevator systems, limiting homeowner or guest access to designated floors.
In the low-end and midrange categories, performance upgrades have yielded several wireless designs with digital audio recording and playback functions. Besides allowing the use of MP3 music files as an alert, such chimes can record 10 to 20-second messages that can be played instead of a melody when the house is unoccupied. For visual appeal, some have receivers that look like MP3 players.
Eyeing the home security market, several enterprises have released units fitted with an IR motion detector. These products generate a sound automatically once a person comes within 2 to 5m of the sensor.
Other manufacturers are working on expanding the operating range of their products. Designs usually cover 100m of open area, but some companies can customize systems to work within 260m.
To support upgrades, a number of suppliers have invested in automatic manufacturing systems. Many of these enterprises are also hoping to shorten time to market and generate labor cost savings.
Competition Electronic Technology (Zhuhai) Co. Ltd, for example, has a production line capable of rolling out one door chime within five seconds. A robot then performs quality inspection.
Products & prices
About 50 percent of China's exports consist of video doorbells, which are priced at least $60. Quotes can reach $500 for systems with Japan- or US-sourced manufacturing inputs.
Midrange chimes constitute 20 to 30 percent of overseas shipments. Between $5 and $10 are wireless versions with adjustable volume and an LED indicator. Upward to $25, most designs allow MP3 recording and playback. Time and temperature displays are common.
The low-end selection comprises wired and wireless systems. Going for $3 to $10 a set, models come with 10 to 32 polyphonic melodies. These usually have one receiver, but an extra unit may be provided by adding 10 to 15 percent to the base price.
Makers targeting the midrange segment turn to Taiwan and South Korea for components. Those focusing on entry-level doorbells and chimes source domestically.
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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