Zoom meetings are a part of everyday life for many of us. Whether you’re a high school student doing distance learning or an executive with back-to-back meetings, or if your book club is still getting together virtually, most of us deal with the video conferencing company at some point in our week. Having another option to join meetings other than your computer or squinting at your smartphone is a nice bonus, and if you have an Echo Show at home, it can be a handy hands-free Zoom machine.
Video calling with Zoom is currently available on the Echo Show 8 (first and second generation) and the Echo Show 10 (the one that runs). Amazon has said Zoom will be coming to the Echo Show 15 later this year.
The Show 10 and second-generation 8 both use digital pan and zoom with their built-in cameras to ensure the camera focuses on you, even if you’re moving around. The 10 also allows the screen to rotate 360 degrees to follow you around the room (handy if you like to cook while zooming in).
To use Zoom video calling on an Echo Show, in addition to an Echo Show 8 or Echo Show 10, you need a free Amazon Alexa account and the Alexa app on your smartphone. The Echo Show must be signed in to the same Alexa account as your Alexa app.
Setting it up is very easy. You don’t need to download a Zoom app or enable a Zoom Alexa skill – you don’t even need a Zoom account. However, I recommend logging into Zoom on the Show if you do have an account, as this gives you more options in meetings and makes it even easier to join. We’ll go into that in a moment.
It’s worth noting that you can also join Zoom meetings on Echo speakers without screens, such as the Echo and Echo Dot, but the experience will be audio only and you’ll need to link your calendar in the Alexa app to use Zoom (we describe how to do this below).
- Say “Alexa, join my Zoom meeting.”
- Alexa will ask for your Zoom meeting ID – you can say it out loud or enter it on the screen. (You can connect a keyboard via Bluetooth to make this easier.)
- It will then ask for an access code (again, you can say it out loud or enter it on the screen), and the meeting will begin.
- While you are in a meeting, a toolbar with mute/unmute, start/stop video and end buttons is visible when you join. It will disappear once the conversation starts, but you can get it back by tapping the screen.
- You can also use the physical mute button, camera cover, and volume buttons on the Show during a meeting.
- To end a meeting, tap the End button or say “Alexa, end meeting.”
If you link your calendar to your Alexa account, you can skip entering the meeting ID and password manually and go straight to your next meeting by simply saying “Alexa, join my meeting” or “Alexa, start my next meeting” (Alexa will confirm which meeting first). Alexa can also announce when your next Zoom meeting starts. You must link your calendar if you want to use Zoom on Echo speakers without a screen.
This is how you link your calendar to Alexa. (Pro Tip: If you have multiple Zoom users in one household, set up Alexa Visual ID or Alexa Voice ID so Alexa knows whose Zoom meeting to start.)
- In the Alexa app on your phone, go to More > Settings > Calendar.
- Tap “Add Account” to choose your calendar provider. Google, Microsoft, and Apple calendars are supported, as is Alexa’s own calendar. (If you use multiple calendars, make sure to choose the calendar where your Zoom invites are live.)
- Follow the steps to link your calendar.
- Repeat for each calendar you want to link.
- Alexa can now start your meetings without entering any details, and upcoming meetings can be displayed on the Show’s screen and announced on any Echo speakers you point to in the Alexa app. You can also join by tapping the notification on the screen.
If you have a Zoom account, logging into the Echo Show adds more capabilities for creating and conducting meetings, but it is not required to use Zoom on an Echo Show.
- Say “Alexa, open Zoom” and then tap the Zoom sign-in button.
- A code will appear asking you to go to zoom.us/pair on your phone or a computer, or you can enter your email address and password directly on the View screen (you only need to enter it once per device). to do)
- Add a PIN to unlock Zoom (useful if you don’t want everyone in your household jumping on your Zoom account).
Photos by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge