Smart Doorbells to Get Even Smarter with New Amazon APIs

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Your smart home’s cameras and doorbells can now make event-driven announcements via Alexa with new programming tools announced on Amazon’s developer blog.

For example, if a doorbell camera motion sensor detects someone approaching, an Alexa routine could turn on the lights, play some music, and even make a custom announcement such as, “Sorry kids, we’re all out of Halloween candy, but be sure to come back next year!”

The new Amazon doorbell application programming interfaces (APIs) are now available in the U.S., with other areas to follow.

Developers can update their Alexa smart home skills toolkit with the new Doorbell Event Source API, the Motion Sensor API, or both. After developers update their devices, their customers can use the Announcements feature in the Alexa app’s device settings smart home section.

Amazon also announced that Ring and August have both already enabled the new APIs. Amazon purchased Ring, the smart video doorbell company, in April. August, a smart home door lock company, was an early Alexa-compatibility partner. If you already configured Ring or August devices to work with Alexa, updating the related apps and software should set you up to configure devices in voice announcement routines.

Amazon also announced a third new API set, the 2-Way Communications API. With the communications API update, developers can enable their smart cameras and doorbells to use voice for two-way conversations via Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Spot.

If your smart home configuration includes a full-duplex camera and an Echo Show or Echo Spot, this new capability means you’ll be able to carry on a conversation with someone standing at your front door. If you have a half-duplex camera, you’ll have a push-to-talk capability.

According to Amazon, Ring already enabled the 2-Way Communication API and August will reportedly follow soon.

If it seems to you that Amazon Alexa skills and developer tools are coming in torrents, they are. The list of Works with Alexa and Alexa-inside device continues to grow with devices developed in-house and from third parties.

Amazon’s recent announcement of 12 new Alexa devices added smart plugs, a microwave and a clock, a subwoofer, amplifier, and receiver, new Fire TV, a new generation of Echo devices, and even a device for your car.

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