Monocle: View IP Cameras with Alexa (Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV, Fire Tablet)

Monocle

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Hello IPCamTalk members,

I just wanted to introduce a new service and Alexa integration skill named Monocle.

Monocle is a gateway service that enables seamless integration of your private IP-based network cameras with smart home automation services such as Amazon Alexa®.

Monocle enables you to view any RTSP/RTP camera stream from your private network cameras with Alexa video-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV and Fire Tablets.

We are officially still in BETA, but welcome you to register today and kick the tires.

LINKS:

SUPPORTED CAMERAS:
Amazon Alexa camera support is currently limited to IP cameras that support a RTSP stream with H.264 encoded video and AAC/G711 encoded audio.

KNOWN ISSUES:
Amazon Alexa devices seem to be incompatible with some cameras (namely Foscam and ReoLink cameras) when attempting to connect direct from the Alexa device to the IP camera. We have a workaround that seems to get past this issue but will require you to run a small application on your local network to act as a bridge between the camera and Alexa device.
 

Monocle

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The Monocle Alexa skill has now been released in the following additional countries:
  • Canada (English)
  • Austrailia
  • India (English)
Please note that Amazon only supports the Echo Spot device in these regions at this time.

A full listing of supports regions/countries can be found here:
Supported Regions | Monocle

Thank You,
Robert
 

Kahuna.

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Just a note to say I have this up and running on my system and am able to connect to Dahua cams directly through the rtsp feeds. It works great for places around the house where multi cam views aren't needed. e.g. If I hear my driveway alarm go off I can open up the feed from that camera directly in a room where there is an Echo Show and no computer. Love the fact I dont have to say " Alexa, tell Monocle to open Blue Iris and show Garage" or some other nonsense like with a lot of other skills. "Alexa show garage" and it is on the screen.
 

CliveS

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Just installed this skill running on my Fire 8" HD with mixed results.

Using a Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE it works fine but with the same settings (and it works in VLC) the Dahua IPC-HDW5831R-ZE just responds "Hmm..The camera is not responding". Both cameras are on the latest firmware 2.640.0000002.0.R, Build Date: 2018-05-23.
 

Kahuna.

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Weird that it works with one and not the other.

Did you...
1. Put the url in format: rtsp://192.168.1.XXX:XXX/live
2. Set authentication to digest and input your credentials there?

I have never used it but I think VLC has the username and password in the URL whereas Monocle doesn't. That was my mistake to start.

Then I had the device named something different in Alexa which created issues.
 

CliveS

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Did you...
1. Put the url in format: rtsp://192.168.1.XXX:XXX/live

2. Set authentication to digest and input your credentials there?

I have never used it but I think VLC has the username and password in the URL whereas Monocle doesn't. That was my mistake to start.

Then I had the device named something different in Alexa which created issues.
1 >> Did not have /live at the end of the URL but adding it, same result, 5231 works, 5831 doesn't.
2 >> Digest and admin username and password, I did have a read only username and password but testing with admin for now.
>> Just downloaded VLC to test the rtsp as per the troubleshooting guide.

Both are setup exactly the same except for the IP so I expect it is something that will be sorted in the beta stage.

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 16.23.07.png
 

Kahuna.

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I'm not much help so far pointing out the obvious but check what the device is called within Alexa App>Smart Home>Devices. I had to delete the cam then rediscover to get mine working, then I had changed the name slightly so was asking Alexa for the wrong thing.
 

Monocle

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1 >> Did not have /live at the end of the URL but adding it, same result, 5231 works, 5831 doesn't.
2 >> Digest and admin username and password, I did have a read only username and password but testing with admin for now.
>> Just downloaded VLC to test the rtsp as per the troubleshooting guide.

Both are setup exactly the same except for the IP so I expect it is something that will be sorted in the beta stage.

View attachment 30915
@CliveS,

It is odd that one is working and the other is not. Most of the DAHUA based cameras I have tested use a RTSP URL like this:

rtsp://192.168.1.100:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0

Where "subtype" can be either "0" for the primary stream or "1" for a secondary (lower resolution) stream.

If you camera firmware offers a choice in audio codecs, select "AAC". Alexa devices seem to have issues with some G711 audio codecs on certain cameras.
Some new Dahua cameras support H265 video encoding and have that set as their default codec. Alexa will only work with H264, so check you camera settings to make sure it is using H.264.

You may want to try the proxy server workaround (Proxy Server Workaround for Incompatible Cameras | Monocle), although I don't recall any Dahua cameras requiring that before.

Thanks, Robert
 

Monocle

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Also, for clarification, in VLC and other command line tools like FFMPEG you can embed the BASIC or DIGEST username and password into the URL like this:

Code:
rtsp://USERNAME:pASSWORD@IPADDRESS/PATH
In the Monocle web UI, we provide separate username and password fields so that we can encrypt and securely store your camera credentials.
At runtime, when you request a camera to be displayed from Alexa, we pass the RTSP URL to Alexa and we include the credentials exactly as formatted above in the RTSP URL.

Thanks, Robert
 

Roger

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I set it up on my Kindle tablet. Set Front door first and that was working fine. Added Garage and that works, but now the Front Door can't be found. Haven't had time to dig into it since then.
So this morning, VPN'ed in on my Kindle from work and they are both working.
 
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Monocle

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I set it up on my Kindle tablet. Set Front door first and that was working fine. Added Garage and that works, but now the Front Door can't be found. Haven't had time to dig into it since then.
So this morning, VPN'ed in on my Kindle from work and they are both working.
@Roger,

When you get a chance, try removing the two camera devices from your Alexa App under Smart Home devices and then ask Alexa to discover devices again.

Thanks, Robert
 

CliveS

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@CliveS,

It is odd that one is working and the other is not. Most of the DAHUA based cameras I have tested use a RTSP URL like this:

rtsp://192.168.1.100:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0

Where "subtype" can be either "0" for the primary stream or "1" for a secondary (lower resolution) stream.

If you camera firmware offers a choice in audio codecs, select "AAC". Alexa devices seem to have issues with some G711 audio codecs on certain cameras.
Some new Dahua cameras support H265 video encoding and have that set as their default codec. Alexa will only work with H264, so check you camera settings to make sure it is using H.264.

You may want to try the proxy server workaround (Proxy Server Workaround for Incompatible Cameras | Monocle), although I don't recall any Dahua cameras requiring that before.

Thanks, Robert
I tried /cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0 and the working camera could not be found, back to /live and all working so I then changed audio to AAC and it could not be found, back to G711 and working sound.
Both cameras are set to H264 and I cannot try the proxy server as it fails to load on Windows 10 Pro which runs Blue Iris because it cannot find MSCVR100.DLL.
 

Terk

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I think you need the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 attributable package for it to find that DLL.
 

Roger

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Is there anyway to launch it without using voice? I can only view it on my tablet and when I say "Alexa, show me the garage" one of the other echo's in my house answers that it cannot display videos. Limits the usability. Assume other than changing the wake word on the tablet to be computer.
 

CliveS

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Is there anyway to launch it without using voice? I can only view it on my tablet and when I say "Alexa, show me the garage" one of the other echo's in my house answers that it cannot display videos. Limits the usability. Assume other than changing the wake word on the tablet to be computer.
Yes it is annoying when the tablet is in your hand and the Dot 10 feet away responds!, hopefully when the new "Show Mode Charging Dock for Fire HD" is released in July the software update will mute non show mode devices.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BNXZDJ3
 

CliveS

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I think you need the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 attributable package for it to find that DLL.
Looking around that seems the only way but to have to load 8 year old software on Windows 10 released 3 years ago seems ridiculous to me.
 

Monocle

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Is there anyway to launch it without using voice? I can only view it on my tablet and when I say "Alexa, show me the garage" one of the other echo's in my house answers that it cannot display videos. Limits the usability. Assume other than changing the wake word on the tablet to be computer.
Hi Roger,

On the Alexa supported devices there is currently not other method to launch/open a camera stream view other than by voice command.

We (Monocle) plan on offering Android and iOS apps down the road as alternative methods, but this would really a separate and independent app, not integrated with the Alexa RTSP player. That is unless Amazon offers some new API to allow integration with their IP camera viewer via some direct API method rather than only voice control.

Thanks, Robert
 

Monocle

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Looking around that seems the only way but to have to load 8 year old software on Windows 10 released 3 years ago seems ridiculous to me.
Honestly I thought that Windows 10 came with the VC++ runtime preinstalled. I just installed a new Windows 10 machine clean this morning and you are right -- that DLL is missing.
We do plan on building an installer for this tool soon which would include any prerequisites like this DLL; however, in the meantime you can download and install the VC++ runtime (32-bit) from this link:

Download Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86) from Official Microsoft Download Center

or from:

Mscvr100.dll Missing or Not Found on Windows [Solved] - Driver Easy


Thanks, Robert
 
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