Amazon's Echo Show Opens Smart Home Camera Control to Developers
Developers working on Amazon's new Echo Show platform now have access to the device’s smart home camera control capabilities, the company announced today. The Smart Home Skill API will allow developers to create apps that let customers watch live video feeds from smart phone cameras on the new Echo Show.
The company also revealed the first group of smart home cameras designed to be compatible with the Echo Show (pictured above), including the Nest, August, Amcrest, EZViz, IC Realtime, Vivint, Ring, and Arlo. The API will give users the ability to issue verbal commands to the Echo Show, telling them which camera they want to see.
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"Because the Smart Home Skill API taps into Amazon’s standardized Alexa language model, you won't need to build the voice interaction model for your camera skill," Amazon wrote on its developer blog today. Alexa will convert the input from a customer's voice into a command that Amazon calls a "directive." The directive can then be sent directly to the developer's skill adapter, which then returns the video feed URI from the requested camera.
The new API makes it possible for developers to add voice-recognition functionality to their devices without having to redesign it themselves. That means third-party cameras will be able to respond to verbal requests from users such as "Alexa, show me the front door camera," or "Alexa, listen to the baby's room."
The Show was first unveiled last month, and is currently available for pre-order ahead of a June 28 shipping date. The new model will retail for $229.99. It's the first model in the Echo line of voice-activated smart speakers that will come with a 7-inch touchscreen display. Users will also be able to initiate hands-free video calls using the Show’s voice-command capabilities.
The company seems to anticipate that security systems will be one of the key uses for the Show. Ring, one of the companies working on equipment compatible with the Show platform, makes smart video doorbells and outdoor security cameras that stream live audio and video to customers' smartphones, allowing customers to keep tabs on their homes.
Arlo by Netgear, which makes weatherproof and wireless smart security cameras, has already developed a skill that allows users to verbally call up a specific security camera by name. And August, which makes doorbell cameras, will be able to respond to requests to be shown the front door, for example.
The company also announced that the Echo Show will be able to respond to questions with visual responses. A question about the weather might bring up the weather forecast, for example, while a question about your schedule might cause it to display a user's calendar. The Show will also include all of the other features that normally come with devices in the Echo line such as the ability to talk to Amazon's Alexa assistant, play music, or listen to the news.
Image credit: Product shots by Amazon.