You may already be used to telling your Alexa smart speaker what to do: play your Spotify playlist, set a timer for the hard-boiled eggs, turn on your smart lights. But you might not know that the voice assistant has a number of proactive features — things it can do without being prompted.
One such feature is having an Amazon Echo speaker announce when motion is detected on a compatible security camera. Motion announcements work on a large number of Alexa-compatible cameras and, as of last week, that includes Google Nest’s newest cameras. But now, thanks to a recent update, Echo speakers can also announce when a smart camera sees a person or, on some devices, a package. Plus, it can also automatically show a live feed from that security camera on any Echo Show device, so you can take a look without having to do or say anything.
Person and package detection is currently limited to certain models from Ring, with support for cameras from Google Nest and Abode coming soon (see sidebar below). Regardless of which camera you have, the steps to enable the announcement features are the same.
Before you can enable this feature, you will also need to have at least one Echo smart speaker or smart display, an Amazon Alexa account, and have activated the Alexa skill for your camera. You will also need person and / or package detection enabled on your compatible camera. This may require paying for a subscription to the camera manufacturer, for example, Ring cameras require a Ring Protect Plan starting at $3 a month.
- Open the Alexa smartphone app
- Tap Devices
- Scroll through the list at the top of the app and select Cameras
- Select the camera that you want to detect the person and / or package
- Tap the Settings icon on the top right-hand corner
- Under Camera Events, toggle on Person Detection Announcements and/or Package Detection Announcements (if it’s an option)
- Tip: Tap Camera Events Settings > Person Detection > Cameras to quickly enable the feature on all compatible cameras you have
- To select which Echo device(s) in your home makes the announcement, go to the same settings page and tap Announcement Devices
- Select which Echo speaker or display you want to make the announcement. You can select more than one. If you select a smart display, it will pull up a live feed from the camera as well as make the announcement.
You can use an announcement as a trigger for an Alexa Routine — so, for example, you can have the porch light turn on when the camera detects a person. Ring cameras also have the option to see a timeline of all the events that triggered an announcement and review them — you can find the feature on the camera’s page in the Alexa app.