Alexa has always had aspirations to be a kind of digital butler, and today, she’s getting closer to that goal. Amazon Voice Assistant can now announce when there is a person or package at your video doorbell or security camera. If you have an Echo or Fire TV smart display, it can also show you who or what is there by automatically displaying a live video stream. The new feature will work with video doorbells and security cameras from Ring, Google Nest and Abode, and more brands could add the capability thanks to a new API from Amazon.
Amazon says person detection ads are rolling out now to all Ring doorbells and cameras and coming soon to Google Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Floodlight, Nest Doorbell (battery), Abode IOTA and Abode Outdoor Camera. . . You can also set up an Alexa Routine based on new detection features, like turning on a porch light, controlling a smart lock, or activating sprinklers for a potential intruder.
Packet detection is first available on Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 and Ring Video Doorbell 2020 and will come to Abode’s IOTA and Outdoor cameras, but not Google Nest cameras, though Nest doorbells have packet detection of their own. These partnerships are part of a new Object Detection Sensor API that Amazon has released that allows camera manufacturers to add this functionality to their devices.
If the camera manufacturer charges a fee for person or package detection, you will need to pay the fee for the feature to work. Ring users will need a Ring Protect plan (starting at $3/month) and Abode users an Abode plan (starting at $7/month); Google does not charge for person detection.
Today, many video doorbells that work with Alexa can announce on connected Echo speakers when someone presses the doorbell, and Ring doorbells can display a live feed on an Echo Show or Fire TV. Some security cameras can also announce motion events. But these new features add the ability to do all of this for a person or package as well. It should come in handy for those times when the delivery guys don’t ring the doorbell or someone is hanging around your backyard.
To activate the feature, you’ll need to have person and/or package detection enabled on your compatible camera (here’s how to do it on Ring devices), then access the Alexa app and navigate to the camera or doorbell settings. There, you’ll see a new section called Camera Events, where you can enable one or both options, as well as customize settings. You can also choose which Alexa devices make announcements if you have more than one.
We have yet to see the features appear on our devices, and it may take some time to roll them out to all users.