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FAQs for Camera Smart Alerts (Preview)

Today we announced the developer preview of Camera Smart Alerts, a new computer vision (CV)-based feature to provide your customers actionable notifications via Alexa and your native app when a person is detected on their smart home cameras.


  1. What are Camera Smart Alerts? Camera Smart Alerts help customers keep an eye on their home by letting them know when a person is detected on their compatible camera. Regular motion triggered camera notifications can be noisy and prone to false alerts, such as alerting customers when a tree branch sways in the wind. Camera Smart Alerts reduce notification noise from your cameras by only sending notifications when a person is detected. Camera Smart Alerts only detects when a person is present, without individually identifying any specific person. When Camera Smart Alerts are enabled for your cameras, Alexa can:
    • Notify via voice on your customers’ Echo devices that a person is detected on their camera.
    • Show the live view from your camera on your customers’ Echo devices with screens.
    • Send a Smart Alert to your customers’ mobile phone. From this notification, your customers can see the live view of their camera in the Alexa app and go to your native camera app to see the recorded clip.
  2. How do I enable Camera Smart Alerts on my cameras? You can sign up to participate in the developer preview here.
  3. Do Camera Smart Alerts collect or process facial recognition data? No, Camera Smart Alerts detects people, but does not identify specific individuals. This feature does not perform facial recognition.
  4. How do Camera Smart Alerts detect a person? Your customers can enable Camera Smart Alerts for one or more of their connected cameras. When motion is detected on this camera, the images from live camera streams are analyzed to look for objects that match the shape of human silhouette. Upon detection, Alexa can then send your customers a Smart Alert via a mobile notification or make an announcement that a person was detected.
  5. Which Echo devices work with Camera Smart Alerts? On Echo smart speakers, Alexa can notify your customers with an announcement when a person is detected from your cameras. If your customers have Echo speakers with a screen, Alexa can also show them a live view of their cameras when a person is detected.
  6. Do your customers need to pay Amazon to use Camera Smart Alerts? No, your customers do not need to pay Amazon for Camera Smart Alerts. You decide how to offer the capability to your customers, such as through an existing or new subscription, or free of charge.
  7. What are the requirements to enable Camera Smart Alerts? If you choose to use Alexa’s new Cloud-based computer vision service, you need to have a smart home skill that supports the existing Smart Home Camera APIs. Camera Smart Alerts requires that your cameras use WebRTC streaming, enabled through integration with Alexa.RTCSessionController Interface.
  8. What are the security requirements? We require the same encryption standards for all third-party devices using Camera Smart Alerts. To ensure the high privacy bar for our customers, we require all partners who use Alexa’s CV service to support encryption and mandatory two-step verification for customer on-boarding.
  9. What data is stored for customers? Once a customer enrolls into the feature, then you trigger the Alexa Smart Alerts CV Service whenever motion is detected. Amazon then processes the live video streams, and the following data stored: (1) images extracted from the live video, (2) session metadata, such as the timestamp of the event. Note that we process all videos in real-time to extract images, and do not store any customer videos.
  10. Does Amazon store any video/audio from the connected cameras? No. Amazon does not store video or audio from connected cameras to provide this feature.
  11. What data is shared between Amazon and camera manufacturers that implement Camera Smart Alerts? When you onboard to have Alexa process your computer vision and implement the data sharing APIs for Smart Alerts, Amazon sends the detection status (e.g. person detected), image uri, and timestamp of the event to you. Camera Smart Alerts also supports CV verdict (person detected) data sharing with eligible camera manufacturers to enable complementary experiences in their apps and devices. Amazon sends this information only to the respective camera manufacturer that streamed the live video for CV processing.
  12. How is data stored? Image and timestamp information data collected by Amazon is stored in our secured systems. This data is used for facilitating the Camera Smart Alerts customer experience with Alexa and is deleted on a regular cadence. No video or audio data is stored.
  13. What security measures are in place to protect customer information collected through Camera Smart Alerts? Any data collected by Amazon is stored in our secured systems. Data is used for facilitating the Camera Smart Alerts customer experience with Alexa and your app, and is not sent to other camera manufacturers. To protect customer privacy, customer data is not shared with other customer accounts.
  14. What controls does a customer have to manage their Camera Smart Alert history? Customers have the following controls to manage their accounts: (1) They can turn ON/OFF the individual Smart Alerts and add/remove specific cameras anytime. (2) They can view detected events in the Alexa app for 7 days. Customers can use a single click un-enroll option to turn off Camera Smart Alerts for all their cameras.
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