How to Use an Amazon Echo Show as a Security Camera

If you enable Amazon’s Home Monitoring option on your Echo Show, you can use this device as a security camera. You can view its camera footage remotely in a different and slightly more discreet way than using the Drop In feature. We’ll show you how to set it up, how to use it, and explain some of its options.

What is Home Monitoring?

Security is an important part of any smart home, and there are plenty of security cameras out there.

If you like putting a security camera in every room to help keep an eye on things when you’re away, you don’t need both an Echo Show and an extra camera. The Amazon Alexa Home Monitoring feature uses the device’s built-in camera to provide a video feed.

When using the Home Monitoring function, you can hear what is happening in the room and see the video feed. You can also hear what’s going on and even communicate with the Echo Show’s built-in microphone.

Instructions and options may vary depending on your Echo Show model. In general, there will be a few basic steps. From your Echo Show device:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Camera.
  3. Press the toggle button to activate Home monitoring.
  4. Push the button CARRY ON button.

You may need to enter your Amazon username and password to verify your account. You will be offered an on-screen keyboard for you to enter your password. You may also need to enter a two-factor authentication code if you have that level of security.

Some limitations of home monitoring

Some features included in a standard security camera are not available with home surveillance, for example, the ability to record videos. Suppose one of your roommates steals your cookies from the kitchen and you want to record the evidence. You will probably need to use a security camera capable of recording video.

Home monitoring also does not send notifications. Some security cameras notify you when they detect movement, for example. Although with the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) and later, you may be able to set up routines that trigger notifications.

You’ll need to make sure you have the Amazon Alexa app for iOS or Android on your smartphone, and that you’re signed into the same Amazon account you use on your Echo Show.

  1. From your Alexa app home screen, tap Devices.
  2. Tap Cameras.
  3. Tap the name of your Echo Show.
  4. You will see the Echo Show video feed.

You can also try saying “Alexa, show me (name of your Echo Show device)” from an Alexa-enabled device. You can view video from your Echo Show from your Alexa app, another Echo Show device, smart TV, and more.

Additional features with the Echo Show 10

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Image credit: Amazon

The Echo Show 10 has a tiled camera, so you can point the camera in the direction you need to see by swiping across the watch feed. You can also configure routines that trigger when people are detected. For example, when you enter a room and the camera recognizes you, you can ask the service to turn on the light in that room. Feel free to learn more about Alexa routines and how they can improve your experience with Echo.

Here’s how to set up your routines:

  1. On the home screen of the Alexa app, tap More than in the lower right corner.
  2. Scroll down and tap Routines.
  3. Press the plus sign (+) at the top right to add a new routine.
  4. Push the button plus sign (+) beside when it happens.
  5. Tap Smart home.
  6. Scroll down and tap your Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) in the list.
  7. Choose your routine action to complete the installation.

Echo Show models compatible with home monitoring

If you have a recent Amazon Echo Show, there’s a good chance it’s compatible with the Home Monitoring service. Recent Echo Show models include:

  • echo show 5.
  • echo show 8.
  • echo show 10.
  • echo show 15.

What if you don’t have a compatible Echo Show?

If your Echo Show isn’t compatible with home monitoring, there’s an alternative. Any Amazon Echo Show device with a camera will include a feature called Drop In, which works similar to home monitoring.

The Drop In function is designed to be a larger two-way communication function than home monitoring. In other words, with Drop In, you can make a call to someone in the same room as your Echo Show.

Drop In has its limitations if you intend to use the home monitoring feature as a security measure. For example, if you want to watch your roommate steal your cookies without them knowing, Drop In might not be the best option. Its sound notification will alert anyone in the room that you are watching live footage…

Manage privacy issues

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Echo Show 8 with privacy shutter
Image credit: Amazon

This Home Monitoring feature could present a privacy issue for someone who is in the same room as the Echo Show, but doesn’t know the feature is on. Luckily, Amazon has included a feature that will display a message on the screen while someone is using home monitoring. So anyone watching the Echo Show will know that their camera is being monitored.

The on-screen message includes an off button so Home Monitoring can be manually disabled.

Let’s say you’re the roommate who steals the cookies, for example. You sneak into the kitchen when you’re sure no one else is around, but you happen to glance at the Echo Show and realize your roommate is using home surveillance to monitor your smallest gestures. Just press the button Stop on the Echo Show, thereby concealing any evidence of your cookie-stealing activities.

Options available with home monitoring

There are a few settings that can help with privacy issues. If you enable the video delay option when setting up home monitoring, the first few seconds of the video stream will be scrambled. Anyone present in the room can leave or stop the home monitoring session for privacy reasons.

And when you turn on the audio alert, your Echo Show will sound an alert when someone is using the home monitoring service. Both of these options would give your roommate a few seconds to whip out the cookie, put the lid back on the jar, and scoot out of the room.

Keep an eye on your home with the Echo Show

Don’t unnecessarily double your security camera coverage. Instead, use your Echo Show as a security camera. Activate the home watch function, and keep an eye on things like your delicious cookies.

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