It’s not the best week for a new feature that turns your smart assistant display into a security camera, but I suppose one company’s misfortune is another’s gain. Regardless, a brand-new “Home Monitoring” setting on your camera-equipped Amazon Echo Show lets you do just that, providing a convenient way to see what your Show can see without anyone else in the room seeing you.
What I mean is that you’ve always been able to “drop in” on your Echo devices, but doing so on an Echo Show puts your face in the spotlight. That’s not ideal if you just want to see what’s going on where the Show is set up, especially if you’re worried someone has broken into your home. While having them stare at you while you stare at them might get them to leave, this new setting allows you to make your observations in a more stealthy manner (perhaps while calling the cops).
To begin, tap the screen of your Echo to access its Settings. Enable Home Monitoring by tapping on Camera. I’ve had my Echo Show 10 for a while and had already enabled the Home Monitoring feature, so I’m guessing a recent Amazon update unlocks the feature for the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8. (Please note that the specific settings you must tap may differ from what I see on my Echo Show 10.)
Related: How to Protect Your Home Network From FragAttacks
Simply open the Alexa app on your phone or tablet after you’ve enabled Home Monitoring on your smart display. Tap the Devices icon in the lower menu, but don’t tap Echo & Alexa—instead, you’ll need to tap Cameras, which is somewhat counterintuitive.
Select your device from the Cameras menu. This will bring up the Camera and show a large notification on your Echo Show. (I suppose it’s better than your face/microphone dialing up your Echo Show, but you can’t enable the camera without triggering that notification.) To hear what’s going on, unmute the Echo Show’s speaker, or unmute your own microphone to speak through it. You can also pinch to zoom in and out of the image. You can’t record what you’re seeing, though—you only get what you see.
Related: Don’t Open Unsolicited File Attachments from LinkedIn