You may already be used to telling your Alexa smart speaker what to do: play your Spotify playlist, set a timer for hard-boiled eggs, turn on your smart lights. But you may not know that the voice assistant has a number of proactive features, things it can do without being prompted.
One of those features is for an Amazon Echo speaker to announce when motion is detected on a compatible security camera. Motion announcements work on a host of Alexa-enabled cameras, and as of last week, that includes the newest Google Nest cameras. But now, thanks to a recent update, Echo speakers can also announce when a smart camera sees a person or, on some devices, a package. Plus, it can also automatically display a live feed from that security camera on any Echo Show device, so you can take a peek without having to do or say anything.
Person and package detection is currently limited to certain Ring models, with Google Nest and Abode cameras coming soon (see sidebar below). Regardless of which camera you have, the steps to enable ad features are the same.
Before you can enable this feature, you’ll also need to have at least one Echo smart speaker or smart display, an Amazon Alexa account, and have activated the Alexa skill for your camera. You will also need person and/or package detection enabled on your compatible camera. This may require payment of a subscription to the camera manufacturer; for example, Ring cameras require a Ring Protect plan starting at $3 per month.
- Open the Alexa smartphone app
- Play Devices
- Scroll through the list at the top of the app and select cameras
- Select the camera you want to detect the person and/or package
- tap on the Settings icon in the upper right corner
- Under camera Events, Activate People Detection Ads I Packet sniffing advertisements (if it is an option)
- Tip: touch Camera Event Settings > Person Detection > Cameras to quickly enable the feature on all supported cameras you have
- To select which Echo device(s) in your home make the announcement, go to the same settings page and tap ad devices
- Select which Echo speaker or display you want to make the announcement. You can select more than one. If you select a smart screen, you will get a live feed from the camera and make the announcement.
You can use an ad as a trigger for an Alexa Routine; for example, you can have the porch light turn on when the camera detects a person. Ring cameras also have the option to view a timeline of all the events that triggered an ad and review them; you can find the feature on the camera page in the Alexa app.