How to use Alexa with your home security camera-CNET

Alexa voice commands work with a variety of home security cameras. Here’s how you can use your Amazon smart speaker with a compatible camera.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

You can use Alexa commands to set your thermostat, lights and tons of other connected devices, but now Alexa takes on another role: controlling your home security cameras. This will mainly apply to those of you who have a Echo show or one Echo point clever display, due to the visual component inherent in interaction with a video camera.

There are too many Alexa-enabled security cameras to list, but here are some of the models I’ve tested that work with Amazon’s voice assistant:

While there are variations in the way Alexa works with each camera, there is also a lot of overlap. Using the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired as a Guide (Note: Amazon bought Ring in 2018), we’ll go through the steps to connect it to Alexa and describe the commands you can use with it.

Read more: Amazon announced the news Echo show 15 smart display at its september 2021 fall product launch event, as well as several other new Echo and Ring products. We will update this article accordingly after testing new products.

1. Download the Alexa app

We assume that you have already installed and configured your Alexa-enabled home security camera – and that you have a Alexa-enabled smart speaker. Do you have questions about setting up a Stick Up Cam? Visit this Ring support page.

Now you need to sign in to your Alexa app, or create an account if you don’t already have one. Simply download the Alexa app and follow the instructions to sign in / register a new account.

2. Activate the Alexa skill

Open the Alexa app and select “Skills & Games” from the menu. Type “Ring” in the search box (or the name of the camera you own), open the skill and select “Activate.”

You will be asked to enter your Ring account credentials to link your Ring account to the Alexa app. You’re almost ready to start using Alexa commands with your Ring Camera, but first you need to …

3. Discover new Alexa devices

After activating the Ring skill, select “Discover Devices” on the app screen that appears – or have your smart speaker find the new device (s) by saying “Alexa, discover devices” .

Note: All of the above steps are the same regardless of which Alexa-enabled camera you purchase. The only exception is the Amazon Cloud Cam, which is automatically linked to the Alexa skill by Amazon so you can set up the camera and start using Alexa commands immediately.

Read more: Turn your old smartphone into a new security camera in 3 easy steps

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Activate the Ring skill in the Alexa app and select “Discover devices”.

Screenshot by CNET

4. Alexa commands for security cameras

Now that you’ve enabled the Ring Skill and asked Alexa to discover new devices, you’re ready to control your Ring Stick Up Cam Wired through Alexa.

Note: Be sure to use a unique name for each device. Having multiple devices with the same or similar names makes it difficult to differentiate for Alexa and voice commands may not work.

Here’s what you can ask Alexa to do with a Ring Stick Up Cam:

  • “Alexa, answer the front door (your camera may have a different name).” – Use this command to see and speak with a visitor from an Echo Show or Spot speaker.
  • “Alexa, talk to the backyard.” – Use this command to see and speak with a visitor from an Echo Show or Echo Spot smart screen.
  • “Alexa, show the front door.” – Use this command to view live feed from your camera on an Echo Show or Echo Spot smart screen.
  • “Alexa, hide the front door.” – Use this command to remove the live stream from the Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.
  • “Alexa, come home.” – Use this command to remove the live stream from the Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.
  • “Alexa, stop.” – Use this command to remove the live stream from the Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.

Again, the specific commands and available features vary slightly from camera to camera, but that’s about what you can expect to be able to do through Alexa when you plug in a compatible security camera.

With Amazon Cloud Cam, for example, you can ask Alexa to turn on your camera. You would also not need an Alexa speaker equipped with a screen to do this. You can use anything from a Echo point at an Echo Show.

Some cameras also allow you to view recorded clips on an Alexa-enabled smart screen. Cloud Cam customers can say, “Alexa, show me the most recent person at the front door.” Arlo security camera users can say “Alexa, show the last movement detected by my front door camera” to show the latest activity.

Using Alexa with a home security camera adds convenience. You can use a smart display screen in the middle of your home to quickly and easily see who’s at the door right now – or to review past footage. Just make sure you have compatible devices and you’ll be using Alexa to check in to your camera (or cameras) in no time.

Read more: Amazon Echo Tip: Put One In Every Room In Your Home

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