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June 22, 2017Martha Kang
With a suite of outdoor home security products, Ring enable users to monitor their home wherever they are in real-time. The company makes security cameras and video doorbells that stream the camera’s video and audio to customers’ smartphones.
“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.
When Sommerlatt and his team learned about Echo Show, they had an aha moment.
“With Echo Show, we saw that we could enable customers to connect to their feeds via voice,” Sommerlatt says.
So Ring’s development team built a skill for Alexa using the new camera capabilities in the Smart Home Skill API. This skill enables Ring customer to say, “Alexa, show me the front door,” then be able to see and listen to the visitor at the front door on the Echo Show device.
Ring Architect Jonathan Russell describes the development process as “easy and straightforward.”
“All we had to do was make our devices discoverable and provide a camera feed to Alexa,” says Russell.
“Amazon does the heavy lifting of natural language processing,” says Sommerlatt. “So when we wanted to connect to our Ring video doorbell, for example, we didn't have to come up with a hundred different phrases for the interaction. The Smart Home Skill API takes care of the voice interaction model for you.”
With Ring's skill for Alexa, customers can simply ask Alexa to show them their front door, hands-free. They can see their video feed on their Echo Show without having to pull out their phones and open their app.
“Voice is a natural and powerful way for our customers to interact with our technology,” says Russell. “For most of us, it’s about convenience—being able to answer the door when our hands are full. For others, it’s about independence and making the home safer.”
“Working with Alexa has been a big request from our neighbors (what we call our customers), and I think they’ll be excited to be able to connect with any of their doorbells or security cameras with Echo Show,” says Sommerlatt.
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.
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