Amazon’s Echo Show gets more practical by adding support for smart home camera feeds

by admin June 23, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Amazon today announced a notable new trick for its next-generation Echo device, the Echo Show (aka the one with the screen), which could make it a more compelling purchase: it will be able to display the live streams from a number of smart home cameras. Already, companies like Ring, Arlo, Nest, August, EZViz, Vivint, Amcrest, Logitech Circle 2, and IC Realtime have created Alexa Skills that will use the new functionality, Amazon says.

In addition, Amazon is introducing a Smart Home Skill API that will allow developers to integrate live video feeds from their smart home cameras with the device.

The Echo Show, announced in May, is due to begin shipping next week.

The $230 Wi-Fi enabled device offers the same features found in Amazon’s smart speaker Echo – like the ability to talk to Alexa, play music, listen to news and weather, and more. But because it also includes a seven-inch screen, it enables a number of new uses as well, like being able to make video calls, see the lyrics to your songs as they play, watch video flash briefings and YouTube, along with other things that leverage the device’s screen.

One of those promised use cases was the ability to watch your smart home’s cameras, Amazon had said.

Several smart home vendors are today introducing how their particular Alexa Skill will work when the Echo ships. For example, security camera and video doorbell maker Ring says its new Skill will allow customers to say, “Alexa, show me the front door,” in order to see and hear the visitor right on the Echo Show’s screen.

“Traditionally, our user experience involved customers taking out their phones and opening the app to see their video feeds,” says Darrell Sommerlatt, Software Engineer at Ring. “With Echo Show, we saw that we could enable customers to connect to their feeds via voice,” he says.

What the company liked about building for Alexa is that it didn’t need to worry with how to handle natural language processing – Amazon’s Smart Home Skill API took care of it.