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Ringo is the smart buzzer your landlord doesn’t even have to install

Smart doorbells are awesome. With the help of some high-tech hardware, they can do much more than just make some noise to let you know someone’s on your doorstep. Thanks to their network-connected brains, many of them allow you to answer your door even when you’re far from home with a smartphone app … if you’re lucky enough to have your own private doorstep, that is.

If you happen to live in an apartment complex with a gated entryway and a buzzer/intercom system, installing a Wi-Fi-enabled smart bell is probably out of the question. But not to worry, there’s new service startup that finally gives condo-dwellers the convenience of answering their doorbells remotely.

Related: Chui is a smart doorbell that can recognize faces and play custom greetings for your guests

ringoapp

Ringo isn’t a full-fledged app — just a service that works with your phone. Once you sign up, it gives you control over your ordinary apartment’s buzzer system by adding access codes, and allows it to forward calls to your mobile phone. In other words, it gives you the ability to answer your front door from afar, just like smart doorbells do for house-dwellers. The only difference is that you don’t need to install any additional hardware — it works with your apartment’s existing intercom system. So long as your building’s buzzer system is able to dial out to a cell phone or land line, Ringo will work for you.

Once you’ve signed up for an account, the Ringo app provides you with a unique phone number you can give to your building manager to use with the intercom system. After that, when someone uses your apartment’s intercom, they’ll be asked for an access code. If they don’t have one, Ringo will automatically ring through to any phones connected to the account. In this way, it gives you (and your roommates) control over who has access to your building. If you need to let in your housekeeper, your family, or even your guests on Airbnb but aren’t sure you’ll be available, Ringo has you covered.

The service is free for the first 30 days, but after that you’ll need to shell out at least four bucks per month to keep it going.