How to turn Amazon Echo Show into a video intercom

Thanks to the new ‘Personalized’ action now also available for Alexa Routines, it is possible to transform the Amazon Echo Show smart displays into real video door entry systems using video cameras such as Arlo, Ring, and other brands. Let’s see step by step how to do it.

Before the introduction of the ‘Custom’ action for Alexa Routines it was possible to start live streaming from supported cameras on the Echo Show (10, 8, 5) via voice command – “Alexa, show me the camera in the hall” for example – which was usually done after someone had already rung the doorbell or after a movement had been detected by the camera and then you had received the notification on your smartphone. Voice command which, as can be understood, could be given several seconds after the movement had been detected or a person rang the bell, without counting the waiting time for the actual viewing of the live streaming (variable from brand to camcorder brand and connection quality). Well,

The custom action in an Alexa Routine allows the assistant to automatically execute a voice command without having to speak to him. We can then transcribe what is usually said aloud, for example, “Alexa, show me the camera in the hall”. In this way, when the camera detects movement (or you can use any other trigger, such as a third-party sensor) it is possible to have the Echo Show automatically display the live stream.

Here are the steps to follow to turn the Echo Show into a video door phone :

  • open the Alexa app on your smartphone
  • Press ‘More’ from the menu at the bottom left
  • Press ‘Routine’
  • Select ‘+’ at the top right to create a new Routine
  • Press ‘When this happens’ and choose the trigger – for example: when the door camera at the entrance detects movement
  • Press ‘Choose an action’ and then ‘Custom’ and enter what you want to ask Alexa, for example “show the entrance camera” (attention: you don’t need to write ‘Alexa’ first). You can press ‘preview this action’ to test if the action works,
  • Customize the rest of the actions, if desired
  • Save the routine

That’s it, if the Routine has been set up you have turned your Echo Show into a video intercom: in fact, depending on the brand of the camera, when the live stream is in progress you can press the ‘Microphone’ button on the screen to activate the audio 2-way (Arlo cameras do) so you can talk to whoever is in front of the camera directly from the smart display.

Tip: Set up a timeout routine.

Since the ‘Custom’ action in an Alexa Routine can be the last action in the list of actions within the same Routine it is a good idea to create a second Routine so that after a certain amount of minutes after motion detection by the camera (or after a certain number of minutes that the camera has not detected a movement), the live streaming is stopped automatically on the Echo Show. To do this, simply create a new routine in which to set the ‘custom action ‘Alexa, Stop’ or ‘Alexa, return to Home’. If you don’t want to create this new routine, after seeing who is in front of the camera after the automatic start of the live stream, just say ‘Alexa, stop’

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