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Explainer Security Cameras

How to use Alexa with your home security camera

Want to use Alexa voice commands to control a camera? Here's how.

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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 adjust your thermostat, lights and tons of other connected devices , but you including home security cameras. Mostly this will apply to those of you who own an Echo Show or an Echo Spot smart display, due to the visual component inherent to interacting with a video camera.

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

While there's some variation in how Alexa works with each camera, there's a lot of overlap too. Using the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired as a guide (Note: Amazon bought Ring in 2018), we're going to walk through the steps to connect it to Alexa -- and outline the commands you can use with it. 

1. Get the Alexa app

We're starting out with the assumption that you've already installed and configured your Alexa-compatible home security camera -- and that you have an Alexa-enabled smart speaker. Have questions about how to set up a Stick Up Cam? Check out this Ring support page.

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

2. Enable the Alexa skill

Open the Alexa app and select "Skills & Games" in the menu. Type "Ring" in the search box (or the name of whatever camera you have), open the skill and select "Enable." 

You'll be asked to enter your Ring account credentials to pair 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 you've enabled the Ring skill, select "Discover Devices" on the app screen that pops up -- or ask your smart speaker to find the new device or devices by saying, "Alexa, discover devices."

Note: All of the above steps are identical regardless of the specific Alexa-enabled camera you buy. The one exception is the Amazon Cloud Cam, which is linked to the Alexa skill automatically by Amazon so you can install the camera and start using Alexa commands right away.

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Enable the Ring skill in the Alexa app and select "Discover Devices."

Screenshot by CNET

4. Alexa commands for security cams

Now that you've enabled the Ring skill and asked Alexa to discover any new devices, you're ready to control your Ring Stick Up Cam Wired via Alexa. 

Note: Make sure you use a unique name for each device. Having multiple devices with the same or similar names makes it difficult for Alexa to differentiate and the 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 might have a different name)." -- Use this command to see and talk with a visitor from an Echo Show or Spot speaker.
  • "Alexa, talk to the backyard." -- Use this command to see and talk with a visitor from an Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.
  • "Alexa, show the front door." -- Use this command to see your camera's live feed on an Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.
  • "Alexa, hide the front door." -- Use this command to remove the live feed from the Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.
  • "Alexa, go home." -- Use this command to remove the live feed from the Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.
  • "Alexa, stop." -- Use this command to remove the live feed from the Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.

Again, the specific commands and available features vary slightly from one camera to the next, but this is roughly what you can expect to be able to do via Alexa when you connect a compatible security camera. 

With the Amazon Cloud Cam, for instance, you can ask Alexa to turn your camera on. You wouldn't need a screen-equipped Alexa speaker to do that, either. You could use anything from an Echo Dot to an Echo Show. 

Select cameras also let you review saved clips on an Alexa-enabled smart display. 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 motion detected by my front door camera" to view the latest activity. 

Using Alexa with a home security camera adds convenience. You can use a smart display screen in the middle of your house 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 on your camera (or cameras) in no time. 

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