Amazon has always wanted to have Alexa become the end-all and be-all assistant. Thanks to a new update, it’s one step closer. Alexa can now tell you if it sees a person or a package through one of your security cameras. Also, if you have an Echo Show or a Fire TV, Alexa can automatically pull up a live video feed of the subject.
Amazon recently allowed third-party companies to tap into this new feature by revealing a new API. As a result, companies such as Google, Ring, and Abode have already added person recognition to their video security doorbells. According to Amazon, all of Ring’s video doorbells and cameras should be updated now, while Google’s Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam Floodlight, and Nest Doorbell will receive the update soon. In addition, Abode’s IOTA and Outdoor Camera will also receive the update.
Package detection is considered a separate feature. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 and the Ring Doorbell (2020) will get this feature soon, as well as Abode’s two cameras. Unfortunately, none of Google’s cameras will receive the update, even though they have a package-detection feature of their own. However, Google does have access to the API and may add the feature to its cameras later.
With this update and new features added to these devices, you can set up automation with new triggers. For example, if a particular camera sees a person or a package, you can have Alexa turn on a light or unlock a door, for example.
To enable these features on compatible cameras, you have to use the Alexa app. First, allow person or package detection on the camera itself. Each manufacturer has its own way of doing so. Then in the Alexa app, head to doorbell or camera settings, where you’ll be able to enable either or both settings. After that, you can adjust each feature’s settings in a new category titled “Camera Events.”
Unfortunately, if the manufacturer charges for these features, you’ll have to pay to use the Alexa-focused version. For example, Ring users will have to subscribe to the Ring Protect plan for $3 per month, while Abode users will have to be on an Abode plan for $7 per month. Luckily, Google doesn’t charge for these features, so Alexa integration is free.
It may take a few days for these features to show up, but keep an eye on the Alexa app to see when your devices are ready.
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