Amazon brings person and package notifications from smart cameras to Alexa

Amazon is releasing new functionality to smart home developers that will allow video doorbells and security cameras with an existing object and person recognition system to send notifications through Alexa and Fire devices. This will allow you to integrate the detection of people or packages into Alexa routines.

Many smart home brands that have security cameras and video doorbells have had the ability to notify users of people or packages for a while now, and this new Alexa functionality isn’t aimed at removing that. Instead, this new feature Amazon is bringing to Alexa looks to expand upon the current methods of notifying consumers. Currently, you will just get a notification from the company’s app on your mobile device when someone or something is detected. And for a lot of people, that’s good enough. But for those who want a more interconnected smart home experience with automation, this new ability is a critical new addition.

Amazon states that there are three main ways this new feature enhances existing camera notifications, all benefiting the consumer. First off, the notifications can be sent to any Alexa device, the Alexa App, Fire Tablets, or even Fire TVs. Compatible devices can even pop up the camera feed so you can see what triggered the notification in the first place.

Secondly, consumers will be able to configure which Alexa devices they hear these notifications through. You may not want every room in your house to ring out when a package is dropped off. Users will also be able to configure which cameras are used to trigger these notifications, all within the Alexa app.

And lastly, this feature will allow consumers to integrate these notifications into the routines they create. For example, when your doorbell detects a person, it can trigger your patio and interior lights to turn on as a welcome home.

Which cameras support this feature at launch?

Ring, Google Nest, and Abode partnered with Amazon to bring this feature to consumers at launch. On the Ring side of things, all of its video doorbells and cameras under the “Works with Alexa” certification program will support person detection. Package detection is also available on the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 and Ring Video Doorbell (2020 release). Onto Google Nest now. The Nest Cam (Outdoor or Indoor, battery), Nest Cam (Indoor Wired), Nest Cam with Floodlight, and Nest Doorbell (Battery) will feature person-detection notifications soon. Abode cameras such as the IOTA and outdoor line will also feature person- and package-detection notifications soon.

Now that this feature has been released to developers, it is only a matter of time until more brands and cameras begin supporting this notification integration.

9to5Toys’ Take

When I first heard about this feature, I didn’t understand what it did differently. Companies have already had people detection and notifications for ages, and this didn’t appear to change anything. Now that I understand that it’s allowing these notifications to work within the Alexa ecosystem, it all makes sense. Amazon has seemingly made it simple for developers to implement this new feature into their existing codebases, so I expect the feature to become widespread within a few months or so.

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