The new Alexa Object Detection Sensor API enables camera manufacturers to increase customer engagement in three important ways

Staff Writer Apr 27, 2022
Smart Home

Today, Amazon announced the Alexa Object Detection Sensor API is now available to developers. This new API will allow camera manufacturers that have Works with Alexa device and computer vision technology built into their camera to notify Alexa when their camera detects a person or a package. Once customers enable this feature in Alexa app, they can receive real-time announcements on connected Echo devices, automatically receive live video feeds on connected Echo Show, Fire TV and Fire Tablet devices, and receive mobile notifications from the Alexa mobile app when their supported camera or video doorbell detects a person or package.

Leading camera manufacturers including Ring, Google and Abode are partnering with Amazon to offer these features to their customers. Starting today, person detection announcements are available for all Ring video doorbells, and cameras that are certified under the Works with Alexa certification program. They will also be available on the Abode IOTA and outdoor cameras, the Google Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery), Nest Cam (indoor, wired), Nest Cam with floodlight, and Nest Doorbell (battery) soon.  In addition, package detection announcements are available today for the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, Ring Video Doorbell (2020 release), and will soon release for the Abode IOTA and outdoor cameras.

“We are using the Alexa Object Detection Sensor API to enable our customers to extend the capabilities of their Abode cameras, and be notified when they are in their houses when an object of interest is identified,” said Scott Beck, CTO of Abode. “We have always had the ability to notify customers with notifications on their phones, but this API allows us to extend this functionality into the house so customers can hear when a package has been delivered or see and talk to the person identified at their front door.”

Compatible camera manufacturers can access the Object Detection Sensor API available to all developers and camera manufacturers on the Alexa Developer Console. The Object Detection Sensor API enhances offerings from camera manufacturers who have already developed their own computer vision solutions in three important ways:

  • Provide Alexa voice notifications on Amazon Echo devices. Notifications are triggered when preconfigured events –such as a package drop or person on the porch —occur. When the smart camera detects a package or person, customers can receive a push notification from the Alexa mobile app, hear an announcement from their Echo device, and automatically view video feeds on their Echo Show, Fire Tablet, or Fire TV devices.
  • Provide personalized experiences to end users. Customers can decide on which Alexa-enabled devices they would like to receive these detection announcements. Additionally, they can also customize the detection and notifications setting for individual cameras and video doorbells.
  • Enable customers to automate their Smart Home: Configuring Routines lets Alexa take specific actions when people or packages are detected, such as turning on smart lights, locking a door, or sounding an alarm. For example, a customer could ask Alexa to turn on the porch light when a package is detected. 

Implementing the Alexa Smart Home API is simple

Compatible camera manufacturers can integrate the new Alexa Object Detection Sensor API in a few stepsTo make use of the new feature, camera streams will need to support video codecs: H264 (up to profile high, level 4.1), and a minimum resolution of 720px.  Camera manufactures and developers will also need to have existing Alexa smart home skills and implement support for all of the following Smart Home Camera APIs:

  • Alexa.RTCSessionController, which requires you to be able to support WebRTC protocol 
  • Alexa.SmartVision.ObjectDetectionSensor interface, to notify Alexa when your computer vision algorithm detects an object, such as a person or package in the connected camera
  • Alexa.DataController Interface, to enable customers to manage data on Alexa, on the device, and in the device cloud. 

Once API integration is complete, customers can opt-into person and package detection announcements for their smart camera or video doorbell by visiting the camera settings page within the Alexa App.

Learn more about Alexa Smart Home Security Skills.

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