Today, we are happy to announce that you can enable customers to view live video feeds from their smart home cameras on Echo Show with the Smart Home Skill API. Customers can say, “Alexa, show the front door” and have the feed from an Internet connected camera like Arlo or Ring display on Echo Show. We first announced camera control on May 9, 2017. Today, the capability is available to all developers building smart home skills in the US.
Enable Customers to View Live Feeds of Their Smart Home Cameras
You can now use the Smart Home Skill API to show live streams from smart home cameras. 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. Alexa will understand the customer’s speech, convert it to a directive, and send that directive to your skill adapter. Your skill adapter will return the video feed URI from the requested camera. The URI is then passed to the Echo Show device so it can directly display the video.
How Companies Are Using the New Cameras Capability in the Smart Home Skill API
Companies like Ring, Arlo, Nest, August, EZViz, Vivint, Amcrest, Logitech, and IC Realtime have already created Alexa skills leveraging the new cameras capability.
Ring makes smart video doorbells and outdoor security cameras that stream live audio and video to customers’ smartphones, allowing customers to always keep tabs on their home. With its new skill for Alexa, customers can see and answer the door or pull up the video from their security cameras’ feed hands-free using Echo Show.
“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,” says Darrell Sommerlatt, Software Engineer at Ring. (Watch video)
And Arlo by NETGEAR, which makes wireless smart security cameras, built an Alexa skill to enable customers to simply ask for a live view of any of their cameras.
“Our Alexa skill makes it fast and easy for our customers to access their Arlo cameras and see what’s happening. It could be the baby’s room or the front door or the backyard camera; you can see live video right away. It is an amazing end-user experience,” says Naveen Chhangani, Senior Director of Product Management at Arlo by NETGEAR. (Watch video)
How It Works
With the new cameras capability, customers can easily access the feed coming from their compatible camera and ask to view the camera. Now, customers can say things like: “Alexa, show me the front door camera,” when they hear someone knocking, or “Alexa, show me the baby’s room,” to make sure the little one has fallen asleep.
As a skill developer, when your smart home skill receives a camera stream request, you should respond with a URL to the active feed, and a URI to an image that can display while the feed loads.
To support this functionality, there are two new directives related to cameras:
The skill returns an error message if a customer is not authorized to view a camera, the camera battery is too low or another error occurs. To support these scenarios, three new error message types have been added:
In addition, there are some security and performance requirements for the camera feeds, so you should review the Requirements for Smart Home Cameras before starting your implementation.
To learn more about developing a smart home skill check out these resources:
Build a Skill, Get an Echo Dot
The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) enables developers to build capabilities, called skills, for Alexa. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, documentation, tools, and code samples that make it fast and easy for anyone to add skills to Alexa.
Developers have built more than 13,000 skills with ASK. Explore the stories behind some of these innovations, then start building your own skill. Once you publish your skill, apply to receive a free Echo Dot. This promotion is available in the US only. Check out our promotions in the UK, Germany, and India.