Saturday, July 2, 2022

How to enable Alexa person and package announcements from security cameras on Echo smart speakers

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Shreya Christina
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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 may not know that the voice assistant has some proactive features — things it can do without you being prompted.

One such feature is that an Amazon Echo speaker will announce when motion is detected on a compatible security camera. Motion announcements work on a wide range of Alexa-enabled cameras and, as of last week, also on the latest Google Nest cameras. But thanks to a recent update, Echo speakers can now 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 packet detection is currently limited to select models of Ring, with support for Google Nest and Abode cameras coming soon (see sidebar below). Regardless of which camera you have, the steps to enable the announcement features are the same.

Alexa can now make an announcement when your Ring security cameras and doorbell cameras see a person. Integration with Google Nest and Abode cameras coming soon.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Before you can enable this feature, you must also have at least one Echo smart speaker or smart display, an Amazon Alexa account, and have activated the Alexa skill for your camera. You must also have person and/or packet detection enabled on your compatible camera. This may require a subscription payment from the camera manufacturer. For example, Ring cameras require a Ring Protect Plan starting at $3 per month.

  • Open the Alexa smartphone app
  • Tap Devices
  • Scroll through the list at the top of the app and select Cameras
  • Select the camera with which you want to detect the person and/or the package
  • Press Settings icon in the top right corner
  • below camera events, to turn on People Detection Announcements and/or Packet Detection Announcements (if it’s an option)
  • Tip: Tap Camera Event Settings > Person Detection > Cameras to quickly enable the feature on all compatible cameras you have

Steps to enable person and/or packet detection in the Alexa app.

  • To select which Echo device(s) in your home make 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. Selecting a smart display will show a live feed from the camera and make the announcement.

You can use an announcement as a trigger for an Alexa routine, so you can, for example, turn on the porch light when the camera detects a person. Ring cameras also have the ability to see and review a timeline of all the events that triggered an announcement – you can find the feature on the camera page in the Alexa app.

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