The Amazon Echo Dot is a handy Alexa device for getting questions answered, setting timers, controlling smart items around the house, and more. The earliest version of the Echo Dot was strictly a smart speaker and did not have a camera, but is one included in the newer Amazon Echo devices?
The fourth-generation Echo Dot (released in 2020) device can be purchased in a bundle which includes a Blink plug-in, smart indoor camera that displays live video feed in 1080P HD quality. There is also a bundle available that combines the Amazon Alexa Dot with a Ring video doorbell. The combination of the Amazon Echo speakers with these cameras provides two-way audio and motion detection and makes for a great home monitoring feature.
If you want to learn even more about how the Echo Dot pairs with a Blink camera, including where it is, how to use it, and how to review the video feeds it captures, this article will tell you all that and more.
Where Is The Camera On Alexa?
Inside the Echo Dot is a high-tech smart speaker, but not much else. The Echo Show device, another Alexa-driven Amazon product, includes a built-in camera, but the Echo Dot does not.
At the end of the day, the Echo Dot can only play music, answer questions, make and receive calls, read and send text messages and emails, and read news, traffic, and weather alerts.
That’s why some Echo Dot models, such as the 2020 fourth-generation Dot, include an external camera with your purchase. The external camera is called the Blink, which is another Amazon product.
You can plug in the Blink camera in a spot of your choosing in your home. The camera boasts two-way audio as well as motion detection so it’s a great security buffer. The camera displays picture in 1080P HD.
If you don’t like the Blink much, don’t feel like you’re beholden to it. Many other security cameras are compatible with the Echo Dot, including:
- Nest (read our article on the combo of the Nest doorbell and Alexa)
Any of these cameras would still work the same way: you plug them in, externally, and hook them up to the Echo Dot.
How Do You View The Camera On Alexa?
Let’s say that you’ve gotten your Blink or another compatible security camera all ready to go. Plus, it’s hooked up to your Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.
How do you view your camera feed? You have two options:
- You can either use voice controls to talk to the Echo Dot and ask the Dot to show you your feed on your phone screen
- Or you can use the Alexa app to view it.
All you have to do is say, “Alexa, show [name of camera].”
So if you had a living room security camera, you could say, “Alexa, show the living room camera.”
The camera name will be set by default in the Alexa app. If you want to change it at any time, simply open the Alexa app, then choose Smart Home, then Devices and you can see the name of the camera and edit it.
This is a useful feature if you only have one security camera but if you decide to move it around the house, you can rename it as needed.
Should you want to turn the camera off or use your Echo Dot for other purposes, all you have to do is say, “Alexa, go home,” “Alexa, stop,” or “Alexa, hide the living room camera.”
Keep in mind that depending on the camera model you’re using, the camera might not turn itself off immediately just because you used the Echo Dot or the Alexa app to cut the feed.
Although you will no longer see the feed on your smartphone or tablet screen, depending on which camera you’re paired with, video recording might continue for awhile.
For example, the Nest camera will stay on for 30 minutes, whether you’re viewing it or not. You can always ask Alexa to get back into the feed at any time within those 30 minutes.
If the 30 minutes elapses and you wanted to view the feed, you’d have to ask Alexa to show the camera again and the camera would be on for another 30 minutes.
You might be able to shorten or extend the amount of time the security camera will automatically produce a feed. Check the settings of your camera for that, but it won’t have anything to do with the Echo Dot.
How Do I Get Echo To Video Call?
Do you want to make video calls to friends, family members, and other loved ones but you don’t have an iPad or another tablet? If you own an Amazon Echo Show, then you can do exactly that.
As I mentioned earlier, the Echo Show is another of Amazon’s smart speakers, in the same vein as the Echo Dot. The difference is that the Echo Show has a camera with an HD smart display screen and that’s why it can make and receive video calls.
This is not a new feature for the Echo Show – you can make video calls whether yours is an older Echo Show or a newer model. Here’s how you do it.
Step 1 – Make Sure The Recipient Has The Alexa App
Just like you can’t FaceTime with someone unless you both have Apple devices, you can’t use the Echo Show for video calls unless your recipient has the Alexa app downloaded.
They can download the app for free on their smartphone or tablet. It doesn’t matter which.
Step 2 – Use Alexa To Make The Call
When you’re ready to call someone important to you, just say, “Alexa, video call [person’s name.]”
You should recite their name exactly as it is in your contact list. For example, if your husband’s name is John and you only have him in your contacts as John, then you would say, “Alexa, video call John.”
However, if he’s in your contacts as John Smith, then you should specify and use the whole name, saying, “Alexa, call John Smith.”
Either way, Alexa will probably ask you to confirm that you’re trying to reach that recipient before she dials them.
Step 3 – Or Use The Echo Show Display
You don’t exclusively have to rely on Alexa’s voice commands to make video calls using the Echo Show. You can also set up a video call through the Show’s easy-to-use interface.
When on the main display, swipe right to find the Echo Show feature menu. Then tap Communicate, then Show Contacts.
Once you choose a contact in your list, under the option marked Alexa Devices, you should see the option to Call. That doesn’t mean a voice call but a video call.
TIP: Long distance caregivers can use Amazon’s Echo Show to check on elderly parents via the Drop In skill. Read more here.
Can You Use Alexa As A Spy Camera?
While Alexa devices like the Echo Show or the Echo Dot and attached security cameras make it possible to watch what’s going on around your premises, we wouldn’t go so far as to recommend using these devices as spy cameras.
Is it possible? Yes, but it’s not smart.
Spying on someone and recording them without their consent is usually illegal. Although a home security camera like the Blink doesn’t save the live feed, that doesn’t mean that other potential evidence doesn’t exist that could paint you as the culprit.
You’re much better off using Alexa for benign purposes such as personal home security or video calling friends and family.
The Echo Dot is an Amazon smart speaker with Alexa voice capabilities. While the Echo Dot is not itself a camera, the fourth-generation version comes with an attached Amazon security camera called the Blink.
The Dot is also compatible with many other smart home devices and security cameras you might already know and love.
You can use the Echo Dot, the Blink, and your smartphone or tablet with the Alexa app as a live feed surveillance camera to view the activity on your property. We hope this info comes in handy!