With your slow cooker, smoke detector, and pet door all accounted for in the connected-to-the-gills home, really, what else is there?

Wait ... is there someone at the door?

A humble, ding-donging workhorse that really hasn’t changed all that much over its century-plus long existence, the electric doorbell is the latest in mundane household objects to earn itself some brains with a new “socially intelligent” model that does a lot more than just chime.

While certainly not the first doorbell to be slapped with smart status and bestowed with web-connected capabilities, Chui, as far as I know, is the only WiFi-enabled smart camera-cum-doorbell that not only alerts you, via email, when someone is at the door but is also capable of recognizing visitors — and even unlocking the front door to let so-and-so in — using “99.6 percent accurate” facial recognition technology.

Of course, when connected to a smart lock system, Chui only automatically unlocks the door for established for friends, family, and the fantasy UPS man (whom, presumably, you’re expecting). The door remains locked for him, her, or them — and you can shoo away unsavories with pre-recorded "I don't want none" messages. Or, you can personally tell solicitors, proselytizers, canvassers, ne'er-do-wells, neighbors, and and mothers-in-law with the annoying habit of swinging by unannounced to politely take a hike via Chui’s smartphone/tablet app that includes both two-way audio and one-way video capabilities.

Encyclopedia Britannica? Really? What is it, 1988? You have 10 seconds to get off my porch.

Hey, can you just leave that casserole dish you borrowed in 2004 behind the planter? I'm upstairs waxing my 'brows and can't make it down. TTYL, okay?

I can see some folks having some real fun with this when Halloween rolls around.

The scenarios in which Chui can come in useful are seemingly endless, particularly from a safety and security standpoint. And the folks at Chui — the first product launch from 214 Technologies, a Dallas-based firm co-founded by SMU-Cox alumn Nezare Chafni and Shaun Moore — seem to think of everything:

Having a busy week at work and don’t want to be bothered with calls and notifications from your frontdoor? Prerecord a message for the mail man telling him to leave the package at the door, Chui will identify him and play that message just for him. Don't want to deal with breaking up with your emotional boyfriend? Have Chui do it for you! Simply leave a message for him and the next time he visits Chui lets him know that his stuff has been neatly packed and placed in the trash on the corner.
Okay, I’m not sure if that second one is such a great idea.

Powered through existing doorbell wiring, Chui will, of course, sound a traditional chime when a visitor arrives on your doorstep. And in addition to working with smart lock systems, this versatility little gizmo can also be integrated with smart lighting systems such as Philips Hue.

More nuts and bolts on the Chui— available for pre-order ahead of its fall 2014 release with a price tag of $199, by the way — in the video below. Any thoughts? Do you like the idea of being able to grant — or deny — visitors entry while you lounge in the backyard eating bon-bons and working on your tan? Or do you think the doorbell is one household staple that doesn't necessarily need an injection of WiFi-connected smarts?

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