Fall seems to be the season for smart home updates as we have been full throttle on many fronts with updated apps and services to updated and new hardware offerings coming from all of the major players just in time for the holiday season. Amazon I think tops the charts with the entourage of device and service announcements this year. One of these which was lumped into the Alexa Guard announcement was enhanced integration with video devices including Wi-Fi cameras and video doorbells like the Ring Video Doorbell. Well, late last week the APIs available for such devices were unleashed and the integration between your Amazon Echo devices and your connected cameras just got a whole lot better.
For starters two-way communication on devices that support WebRTC is available. Right now both Ring and August doorbells have this functionality which allows for you to communicate with someone at your door through an Amazon Echo. If you also have an Amazon Echo Show you can combine this two-way communication with a video stream from your Ring Doorbell.
Also as part of this enhanced API functionality, Amazon is giving us the ability to create custom announcements based on not only doorbell rings but also motion events. This can be done via Routines in the Alexa app and should be a great feature especially given the Halloween season we are currently getting into. You can choose to play a song from a certain streaming provider or simply have an Alexa announcement occur. I would love to see the ability to different announcements based on presence and hope we get that functionality when Alexa Guard rolls out. My only issue with this added functionality is that it really makes my Ring Chime useless but I will get over it.
Playing around with this new functionality has been pretty fun so far and I think over the holidays I should be able to do a lot of cool things with it to enhance my homes holiday theming which should at the least be a fun project for me.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.