Amazon’s Alexa can now control your smart home cameras

Amazon’s Alexa can now control your smart home cameras

Alexa will display video feeds on Echo Show

Amazon's Echo Show

Amazon has unveiled its new Smart Home Skill API, which will allow developers to create apps that let customers watch live video feeds from smart home cameras on the new Echo Show, its latest smart speaker, which includes a 7-inch screen. The Alexa API will give users the ability to ask the Echo Show which camera they want to see.

The company also disclosed details on a range of smart home cameras designed to be compatible with the Echo Show. These include devices from Nest, August, Amcrest, EZViz, IC Realtime, Vivint, Ring, and Arlo.

“Because the Smart Home Skill API taps into Amazon’s standardized Alexa language model, you won’t need to build the voice interaction model for your camera skill,” Amazon said in a blog post.

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What’s the baby up to now?

The company says Alexa will understand the customer’s speech, convert it to a directive, and send that directive to a third-party developer’s skill adapter (that is, the ‘skill’ for a particular smart home camera). This adaptor will then return the video feed URI [uniform resource identifier] from the requested camera. The URI is then passed to the Echo Show device so it can directly display the video.

The skill makes it possible for developers to add voice-recognition functionality to their devices without having to create it themselves. Customers can ask Alexa to “show me the front door camera,” or “listen to the baby’s room.”

“With our skill for Alexa, customers don’t have to take out their phones and open the Ring app to see their camera feed. With Echo Show, customers can instantly connect to their Ring video doorbell using voice,” said Darrell Sommerlatt, Software Engineer at Ring.

For users with an Echo or Echo Dot, audio feeds from camera can be listened to, as the API also supports devices without an attached screen. The smart camera functionality comes ahead of the release of the Amazon Echo Show, which is scheduled to start shipping in late June.

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