Editor’s Pick: Clare Controls Has Best Video Doorbell at ISC West

The Clare Video Doorbell is a DIY-type product that integrates well with home automation systems.

Clare Controls introduced the new Clare Video Doorbell at ISC West 2017 last week, and it is the best Wi-Fi doorbell I’ve seen—at least in this class of products (DIY-friendly, but built for pros). And I’ve seen a lot of them.

It’s one of the prettiest, smartest, simplest products available (soon), and the only one in its class that employs the ONVIF standard for integrating with third-party NVRs and home automation systems. (Correction: DoorBird has ONVIF.)

The suggested retail price is $249 and it’s only available through professional home-technology integrators.

“Dealers are ridiculously happy,” says Delia Hansen, VP sales and marketing for Clare Controls.

clare controls video doorbell

Clare Video Doorbell from Clare Controls at ISC West 2017: slender, home-automation friendly, and just two wires. Best Wi-Fi Doorbell to date. Only for pros.

Two-Wire Smart Doorbell

Let’s start with the big one: The product runs on the home’s existing doorbell wiring. No batteries needed. No transformers. Just two wires. Most doorbells run on 16-24 volts, and that’s what Clare supports.

Clare developed the technology that enables this device to be so darn efficient, even while delivering 1080p video over the network.

The magic is in the device’s SD Card. The camera records to the card first, and then transmits the video a split-second later.

The SD Card (up to 128 GB) is another handy feature for local video storage. The card (and the doorbell itself) is tied to the user’s account, so it’s worthless to a thief.

“You can steal it, but you can’t use it,” Hansen says.

Integration with NVRs, Home Automation

The Clare doorbell employs the ONVIF standard for IP cameras, making it out-of-the-box compatible with most respectable NVRs and several home automation systems including Crestron, Control4 and Savant.

With ONVIF compatibility, dealers should be able to treat the Clare doorbell camera like any other camera on a network, using their surveillance software of choice.

Of course Clare, which started life as a maker of cameras and NVRs before it got into the home automation business, hopes dealers will specify its own ClareVision products and ClareHome automation platform.

This feature is, in a word, awesome.

Integration has been one of the biggest pains for home-technology specialists whose customers demand those popular consumer-friendly doorbells.

The Clare product answers the call, so to speak.

Other Nifty Features

clare controls video doorbell covers

Clare Video Doorbell Ships with three faceplates

  • It’s slim and pretty.
  • It ships with a drill bit for cement installs, so technicians can “lose the drill bit on every job,” Hansen says.
  • It ships with three cover plates for your choice of aesthetics.
  • There are no monthly fees … with a big but. Clare does not yet provide cloud storage. When that comes, there could be fees.
  • The doorbell transmits video upon motion detection – five seconds before the event, throughout the event, and five seconds after.
  • The doorbell is expected to ship May 1. You might see others like it at ISC, but don’t expect any of those to ship for quite some time. Clare developed the product itself, but it’s manufactured by long-time partner Hikvision. Clare has a very long head-start with the doorbell.

For Pros Only

The Clare Video Doorbell is only available through Clare dealers. Consumers can purchase the doorbell themselves through the MyClareHome portal only after being on-boarded by a pro. The pro receives a small commission for all products purchased by their customers.

Last year I suggested that Clare might have “The Most Disruptive Business Model in Home Automation.”

The doorbell is just the tip of the iceberg. Clare introduced an amazing ecosystem that includes professional security monitoring and sweet products for the product-builder market.

More details on these developments coming soon.

Clare Controls video doorbell at  ISC West 2017.

Hansen with Clare Controls founder Brett Price at ISC West 2017.

Q&A with Clare

Is there an API/SDK available for this?
Yes, it will be available in May.

Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t see any mention or obvious location for a speaker on this unit, maybe its on the bottom? 
Yes, the speaker is on the bottom.

There is also no mention of how one would communicate with the person at the door, is it a proprietary mobile app?
Yes, we provide a free proprietary app.

Is managing a Cloud infrastructure an area Clare Controls has any experience with?
Yes…We are a software company.

Does the communication integrate with third-party control systems?
A:  Yes, the API will be available in May.

Does it support SIP?
It does not support SIP.

What kind of data can be shared from the product to third-party systems via API? Button presses? Sensor data? (use as PIR for front door?).
Button presses, motion events, audio & video streams.

If you’re not SIP, is there a way to support two-way communications through third-party systems?
Yes, this will be available in the API.

Can you be more specific about what this product can accomplish over 2 wires that competitors can’t? They all claim to work over existing 2 wires.
All competitors do claim to work over existing wiring. However some do not ring the existing door chime and others require additional parts to be installed at the chime. Our product rings all existing door chimes and does not require any additional parts.

READ MORE ON ISC WEST: Click Here for All of SSI ‘s Comprehensive ISC West Coverage

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About the Author


Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration.

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