Amazon Cloud Cam updated with Alexa voice control, two-way audio, and more

Amazon Cloud Cam customers can also now check in from anywhere, with a browser portal for live views.

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Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Amazon has updated its Cloud Cam with the ability to check in from anywhere, two-way audio, detection alerts, and Alexa voice control.
  • Amazon also announced a new usage-based pricing model for Amazon Chime that goes into effect on April 1, 2018.

Amazon Cloud Cam users will now be able to turn on their cloud-based security cameras with voice control through Amazon Alexa, the company announced Monday. According to a press release, users just say "Alexa, turn on [Camera Name]" to utilize the new feature.

The news follows Amazon's announcement that users of the Amazon Alexa apps can now make calls and send messages to one another on their smartphone or tablet. The move mirrors similar steps Google has taken by integrating its Assistant into various other products and platforms--a clear sign that, as hardware becomes commoditized, artificial intelligence (AI) will be the next big battleground in tech.

In addition to the Alexa integration, Amazon also announced that Cloud Cam customers would be able to view their live streams from a new browser portal. According to the release, users just need to navigate to and sign in to see their streams.

SEE: Internet of Things policy (Tech Pro Research)

Updates also came to certain models of the Amazon Echo. The Echo Show and Echo Spot both got support for two-way audio, the release noted. A new mic icon on the live feed will allow for press-to-talk functionality, like a walkie talkie.

Detection alerts are also coming to the Echo. This is an opt-in program that will allow users to receive motion detection or person detection notifications on any Echo device, the release said.

"On Echo Show and Echo Spot, alerts will pop up on the screen," the release said. On the Echo and Echo Dot, Alexa's ring will glow yellow. Users just ask "Alexa, what're my notifications?" or "Alexa, play my notifications." Notification frequency can be changed in the Cloud Cam App.

Also announced Monday was that Chime--Amazon's unified communications service--would now be billed per usage, a change that will take affect on April 1. "On days that they host meetings, a $3 per day charge will be made, up to a maximum of $15 per month," a press release said. "Based on historical usage patterns, this will result in an overall price reduction for virtually all Amazon Chime customers."

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Image: Chris Monroe/CNET