Wouldn’t it be great if you could check on your house with your Echo Show? You’d be able to monitor your property without having to add another device. Thankfully, there is a way to use an echo show as a security camera, and you may be wondering how to do it.
How to use your Echo Show as a security camera? An Echo Show can be used as a security camera by cleverly modifying the video chat settings. However, there are a few reasons you might not want to do this.
It works in theory, but as you’ll see below, using the Show itself as a security camera might not be the best decision because it’s really obvious when it’s activated (the screen is one when the camera is, drawing attention). And although that camera is great for video chats, it doesn’t catty a ton of detail.
Amazon Echo Show
The Echo Show (on Amazon) is a convenient device that can turn your house into a smart home. It can fill the space (somewhat) with sound like a Bluetooth speaker, allow video calls, and, as we’ll discuss, even allow some limited security camera functionality. All of that backed with the virtual assistant smarts of Amazon’s Alexa.
During video calls, you’ll appreciate the 10-inch screen, though you may notice a lower resolution than you’re used to. The screen only supports 720p resolution so there will be a difference, especially if you’re used to HD. The Show is part of the Alexa product line which means it’s voice-controlled. You can turn the camera on and off with your voice and you can also ask Alexa questions, hear the answer, and see the response on the screen.
It also comes with a feature none of the reviews focus on: a small 5-megapixel camera. The main purpose of the camera is for video-calling, but it can also function as a live-streaming security camera. And that microphone that’s included for giving Alexa commands – that means the device can listen as well as watch.
Getting Clever with the Video Chat Features
In addition to using the echo show as a security camera, they can also be used for video chats. As most know, video chats are a great way to stay in touch with family and friends and conduct remote meetings. With the Echo Show, it’s easy to initiate or start a video call due to the simplicity of its interface and features. That allows us to force it to act like a security camera when we want it to.
How to Use the Video Chat Features
Alexa will need access to your contact list. Open the Alexa app on your phone, tap on the Calling & Messaging tab. Allow the app to access your contacts. You can opt-out of the option, but then any calls you receive will be listed as Unknown. From here, you can ask Alexa to call anyone on your list. Alexa will also call numbers that aren’t in your contacts; just say the number to the Echo Show.
If your contact does not have an Echo device, Alexa will either dial the app on the phone or the physical number. Alexa will also ask which number if more than one are listed in your contacts for a given person. Whenever you make or receive a call on your Show, it will automatically be a video call unless you instruct Alexa to turn the camera off.
Use the Drop In Feature
Once you’ve activated the Show’s Drop-In feature, the device can automatically answer calls without your voice command. You control who is allowed to drop in without you commanding Alexa. Before you add someone, remember that it will be a video call and once you give someone access, every time they call they’ll see exactly what the camera is facing.
If you give yourself this privilege, you can drop in on and get a live feed of whatever your Echo Show is facing. Another aspect of Drop-In is that it lets you connect to other Echo Show devices in the house. You can video chat with family members in other rooms, however, you will have to know the names of the other Echo devices in the house, or yours won’t know which one to call.
Hiding in Plain Sight
The Echo Show is a common household device but not many people think about using it for security. After all, it’s a helpful video-chat device that can control other components in the house. The small 5-megapixel camera can have another use: you can use it to continuously stream a live feed of where the device is facing.
It’s also not hard to use an Echo Show to create a complete home security system. You can have multiple Shows throughout the house. You can place one in each room facing doorways or windows, or, if you have a nursery and work away from home, your Echo Show will give you a continuous live stream.
Issues with the Echo Show as a Security Camera
As convenient as it is to use the Show as a security camera, there are drawbacks. The Echo Show does play a continuous feed but it’s not motion-sensitive. This means that not only do you have to leave the camera on, but you also have to worry about someone coming in and commanding Alexa to turn it off.
You can get around this by giving the device a personal name. It’s the same premise as calling other Echo Shows in the same house. You can lock the Show so only individuals that know its name can give it commands.
Along with the lack of a motion sensor like Nest (on Amazon) home security systems, the Show also can’t show different camera angles. The only angle you can see is the one the camera is pointed at. You cannot zoom in or pan around. If home security is important, you might want to think about another system than using multiple Echo Shows.
And that five megapixel camera, it’s great for video chat, but that’s probably about it. You’re not going to be able to make out a robber’s face from down the hall or anything. This might be good as a temporary baby or pet monitor, but not as an actual security tool.
Additional Problems as a Security Camera
Another problem with using the Echo Show for security is that you’re limited to indoor use. It’s not weatherproof, and sticking it to a window usually results in a glare that makes images difficult to see. Something you might not have considered is leaving the camera on. This will be obvious to anyone who sees it in the room. The Show will be trying to make a video call and anyone familiar with the device will know that you’re watching.
The Echo Show is a convenient device that’s part of the Alexa family. It’s easy to use, and while it was primarily designed for video chats it can also control almost any Wi-Fi connected device in the home. The 5-megapixel camera is ideal for video chatting but it can also serve as a security camera. Simply leave the camera on, and you can access the live stream from your device that has drop-in privileges.
As great as this sounds, there are plenty of drawbacks. You don’t have motion tracking and the camera angle can only be changed if the Show is physically moved. It’s also obvious to some that the camera is on since the device is in video chat mode.
If you want to use your Echo Show as part of your home security system, we recommend connecting it to Nest security cameras, which will allow you to see what is going on around your home right on the Echo Show’s screen.