Introducing Live View and Pan, Tilt, Zoom Capabilities for Cameras in the Alexa App

Ben Grossman Sep 24, 2020
Connected Devices Cameras Smart Home News

Customers love using Alexa features that give them greater security and peace of mind when they are home or away. Today, we are excited to announce Live View and pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) capabilities in the Alexa app, available later next month. With these features, your customers can view and manage the live feeds of all their compatible smart home cameras, doorbells, and echo devices, start a 2-way talk using their compatible devices, use simple touch controls to digitally pan, tilt, and zoom on their camera live feeds, or physically control their compatible cameras remotely to increase their field of view, all in the Alexa app. This gives your customers the added safety and security of monitoring their homes from anywhere where they can access the Alexa app.

You can integrate with the Alexa.RTCSessionController Interface to enable App Live View, 2-way talk and digital pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) features when they are available next month. If your cameras supports physical PTZ capabilities, you can also integrate with the Alexa.RangeController Interface to enable customers to physically pan, tilt, and zoom their cameras from the Alexa App. These features will be available on Android and iOS platforms with touch controls at launch in the US, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, India, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil. Voice support for these features will be available later next year.


Enable Customers to View the Live Feed from Their Cameras Anywhere Using the Alexa App

Customers use their Echo devices with screens to view the live feeds from their Alexa-connected cameras and doorbells. Later next month, you will be able to enable your customers to see the live feeds of your devices anywhere, using their Alexa app. You will also be able to provide 2-way communication capability to your customers, including conferencing, to communicate with the person on the other side of their smart home camera or video doorbell. Customers can tap on the name of the camera or doorbell in the Alexa app to start the live feed, then tap on the microphone icon to start 2-way talk. Customers can also seamlessly move between portrait and full screen landscape orientations by rotating their phones. To protect the privacy of your customers’ data, the Alexa app will not record or store any video feeds coming from customer cameras and doorbells. The live feed will end when there is an interruption, such as a phone call that the customer accepts, phone screen gets locked, customer navigates away to the camera settings page or to another app. The default WebRTC streaming limit is 12 hours.

Enable Digital and Physical Pan, Tilt, and Zoom Capabilities in Live View in the Alexa App

While remotely watching the live view from their cameras and doorbells, customers will be able to use simple and intuitive gestures on their app to pan, tilt and zoom the live view of their cameras and doorbells. They can simply pinch and zoom or double tap to zoom in to a specific area, and swipe left/right/up/down to pan or tilt. They will also be able to physically control compatible cameras that support physical PTZ capabilities, such as rotating the camera up and down or sideways to get a larger field of view. These features will provide customers better control over the security of their homes, all in a single app.

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App Live View and digital PTZ in the Alexa App will be available for all cameras and doorbells that use WebRTC streaming, enabled through integration with Alexa.RTCSessionController Interface. Brands like Ring, Arlo, Wyze, August, Abode, Tuya, and Ecobee cameras and doorbells are already enabling these features for their customers in the Alexa app. If you already support WebRTC and 2-way comms through Alexa, there is no additional work required to enable these features. Digital PTZ will be automatically supported for all cameras that support live view on the app, in portrait and landscape modes, on Android and iOS. For physical pan, tilt, zoom, you will need to declare the Alexa.RangeController capability in your Discovery response and integrate with Alexa.RangeController Interface. If you have prior integration with this API, you will need to specify additional instances, up to three, for each of the physical movements that you camera supports (pan, tilt and zoom).

Wyze expressed their excitement on this new suite of features on the Alexa app, “Alexa’s new camera features ensure Wyze customers can get the most out of their cameras, wherever they are. Live view, 2-way communication and PTZ in the Alexa app is another step forward on Wyze’s goal to give customers control when and where they need it.”

You can sign up here to be notified when App Live View and other features are available later next month.