Can you use Amazon Echo Show as a security camera?
- By: Ashley Saunders
- April 2021
Your Amazon Echo Show is a powerful device designed to make life far easier. You might wonder can you use Amazon Echo Show as a security camera? The answer is a resounding yes! And while this is not exactly a built-in feature, it is one that you can use.
In the last few years, we’ve seen plenty of consumer-friendly home automation products that make it painless to ensure your property is secure while being able to monitor it from anywhere in the world with a Wi-Fi connection!
For example, you might already have one of the best outdoor wireless security cameras but don’t want to check your phone or computer every five minutes. Your Amazon Echo Show can help to create a more seamless experience, removing the need for multiple apps.
Let’s explore how you can use your Amazon Echo Show as a security camera.
What makes the Amazon Echo Show ideal for home security?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, then you’ll be aware of the Amazon Echo product line. These uber-cool products introduced the mass market to the basics of home automation. With multiple generations available, they’ve become a mainstay in many homes.
The Echo Show builds on the basic Echo products with two unique features: a touchscreen and a front-facing camera. You can easily use an Echo Show to make video calls, read the news or a Kindle book, and watch Netflix and YouTube. Alexa can even read Kindle books!
You can even use the device as a security camera. And while this isn’t an intended feature advertised by Amazon, there’s no reason why you can’t protect your home using the technology you already have.
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How can we use Amazon Echo Show as a security camera?
All Echo devices use Alexa which has a Drop In feature. Anyone with the right privileges can connect to another Echo device allowing them to instantly communicate with another device. You no longer need to wonder if nan’s fine or have to repeatedly shout that dinner’s ready!
Thanks to its screen and camera, the Echo Show allows you to Drop In with live video. You can instantly see what the other device’s camera does, allowing you to communicate more effectively!
Why is Alexa’s Drop In feature is powerful?
What makes the Drop In feature so powerful on the Amazon Echo Show, is you don’t have to accept the call. As long as you’ve granted the contact permission, then they can automatically start a video call with you.
With a simple touch of a button, they can see (after a short initial delay to protect your modesty!) whatever the Show’s front-facing camera is seeing. More importantly, you can get instant access to a live feed of wherever your device is at.
You can also see who’s recently active. So if you haven’t talked to John in a while but can see he has just been using his Echo Show, then you can say “Alexa, drop in on John”, knowing you’ll be able to catch up! Alexa and the Drop In feature make staying in touch using video effortlessly simple!
So how can we use Amazon Echo Show as a security camera?
Repurposing the Drop In feature as a security camera
There’s a few seconds delay after connecting to a video call. So if you’re making the call, you won’t immediately see the other side. Instead, you’ll see a blurred image, that slowly resolves to the live video feed, protecting the other party!
That said, if you’re making the call, you will automatically be visible. So be reassured that the Echo Show has inbuilt privacy. As you’re using the Drop In access to view your home, there are even fewer privacy concerns.
Using the Drop In function on your device and the smartphone App, you can your home’s Echo Show from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. After the privacy filter is removed, you’ll be able to view a live video feed of what’s happening back at home.
No one needs to be home to answer the call as the Drop In function instantly connects to the intended device. So you don’t need to worry if anyone is home or if an elderly relative can remember to click a button!
Again, Amazon doesn’t advertise this function nor endorses this use as a home security feature, but it does work excellently in this capacity. Plus you don’t need to buy any more equipment or spend hours setting it up!
Why use your Echo Show as a surveillance device?
With a few Echo Show devices placed around your home, you can create an indoor surveillance system that’s affordable, easy to access and discrete. Not to mention, multi-purpose!
The benefits are endless. For example, if you live with an older relative, then being able to check on them several times a day could be a life-saver, especially if they suffer from illness.
If your kids are early teenagers and return home a few hours before you, then you might want to call in to check they are doing fine and aren’t creating havoc!
In both situation, it only takes a few seconds to check on them and using an Echo Show allows you to confirm with live images from anywhere with an internet connection.
Another situation where this feature comes in useful is travelling. You might be away for a few nights, leaving your home unoccupied. Rather than worrying about what’s happening, you can call home and check that everything is fine.
You might no longer need to hire a house sitter! But if you do, then you can call them and check they are doing their job and not working their way through your chocolate collection while binging Netflix!
If you wonder what your dog, cat or pets get up during your workday, you can Drop In and see them live. Whether they are behaving is another question entirely! But still, a great way to check on your loved ones.
Can I use an existing security camera with my Echo Show?
If you have purchased a security camera recently, it’s likely compatible with the Amazon Echo Show, allowing you even more options to ensure your home is safe.
After connecting a camera, you’ll be able to use voice commands to activate the video feed. You could say: “Alexa, show me the front door” and it’ll display the live video feed from your front door camera on your Echo Show’s screen. You don’t need your phone if someone knocks!
While this is very cool, it doesn’t work quite the same as the other method we described as you have to be home to access your Echo Show. That said, you probably are using the app that came with the security cameras if you are not at home and the front door bell rings.
Using your Amazon Echo Show as a security camera
Deciding to use your Amazon Echo Show as a security camera can be highly effective and reassuring. Even if you use the Drop In video call feature to check on your family then you can have greater peace of mind.
As you have to grant device permission and live video isn’t instantly viewable, the privacy concerns are greatly reduced. Other than these few specific situations, the Drop In feature has limited use, especially as it doesn’t record video.
As the Echo Show only broadcasts video and doesn’t record it, it doesn’t completely replace traditional security cameras, which record for a few minutes when triggered to ensure burglars are caught red-handed.
That said, as a way to access your existing security cameras, the Echo Show makes using them even easier. But we wouldn’t recommend buying an Amazon Echo Show just solely as a security device.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how you can use your Amazon Echo Show as a security camera. As Amazon continues to develop their Echo products, chances are they will become even more indispensable.