Solution: How to Use Zoom on Echo Show

By: Frank Engelman.  Updated: June 19, 2021.

 

The Problem: Need Help Making Alexa Useful

I am setting up Alexa for my parent who lives at a distance. I am unsure what features to include, or how to set it up so it is as useful as possible..... More about the Problem


 

Solution: How to Use Zoom on Echo Show

If you like using an Alexa device like the Echo Show, and want to join with others on a Zoom call using that device, now you can.

Amazon just released support for Zoom calls on only ONE device, the Echo Show 8.

Many people prefer using Zoom because of its many features such as being available on most popular devices as well as good screen real estate management and the support of shared desktops for presentations.

(If you prefer to use the built in group calling of the Alexa products, see my "how to" article here).

 

Amazon's Implementation of Zoom

In my opinion, Amazon has done an excellent implementation of Zoom, including the standard Zoom features such as speaker highlight and a full-screen display when someone is sharing their screen.

It also removes some of the things that may have annoyed your Dad in Zoom meetings, such as having to turn on video & audio when joining a Zoom Call. Those settings are on by default, making this more like an instant call from FaceTime or Google Duo.

Here are some happy Senior Zoomers meeting on the Echo Show 8.

shot 5

 

 

Here is a YouTube video of it in action

 

But; there are a few steps involved in making this work, which we will detail below:

 

 

Set Up Instructions

Please note the requirements:

  • ONLY Echo Show 8 in the US! (as of this writing)
  • Dad must have a calendar account linked to Alexa
  • Zoom invitations MUST be sent to Dad's Calendar (don't just email an unscheduled link)

 

While you don't need to set up a Zoom account for your Dad, adding one can make it easier if you also plan to use Instant Zoom calls with Dad on a non-Amazon Echo device. We will be detailing how to do Instant Zoom Calls in a future article.

One of the first requirements for doing Zoom Calls on Dad's Echo Show 8 is that you need to associate Dad's Calendar with Dad's Alexa account. You also could ask, "Alexa, what's on my calendar?" and she will email a calendar setup link to your Dad's account.

Alexa can support both Goggle Calendars and Apple Calendars, but we suggest using the Google Calendar for your Dad for two reasons. First, it's much easier to set up in Alexa. Secondly, all Zoom scheduled invitations are automatically added to your Dad's Alexa Calendar. Dad MUST click on Apple Calendar invitations in emails he receives to actually add them to Alexa’s Calendar. Don't worry if he is already using the Apple Calendar with Alexa, as it can simultaneously support BOTH calendars.

 

 

The first Requirement- add a Calendar to Alexa

Here are the steps required when using a Google Calendar.

Open the Alexa app on Dad's mobile device:

  • Tap More
  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Calendar & Email
  • Tap Add Account
  • Tap Google "+"
  • Tap "YES, THAT'S ME"
  • Tap Next to allow
  • Fill in Dad's Google account info
  • Tap Allow
  • Look for message Account Added
  • Tap Done

 

Here are the steps required when using an Apple Calendar

We assume you have already set up an Apple Calendar for them on their mobile device. If they don't have a Calendar, please consider using Google Calendar as it's much easier to set up as it requires two-factor authentication and a 16-digit app-id.

The following steps assume they have an Apple mobile device. Open the Alexa app on Dad's mobile device:

  • Tap More
  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Calendar & Email
  • Tap Apple "+"
  • Tap "YES, THAT'S ME"
  • Tap Next to allow

 

screenshot 6

  • Tap Next to turn on two-factor authentication

 

screenshot 7

  • Follow the above steps
  • Tap Add Apple Calendar

 

screenshot 8

  • Tap Add Apple Calendar
  • Fill in the info
  • Tap sign in

 

 

The second Requirement- send ONLY Scheduled invitations

Instead of the usual way of sending Dad an email with a Zoom link for the meeting, you will need to send him a calendar invitation ahead of the meeting time. Using this approach's real beauty is that the calendar invite will automatically appear in their Google Calendar without your Dad having to click on anything. It also appears as an email, and he can still click to save it if he chooses to without harm.

The good news about having the meeting invitation in Dad's Calendar is that it is easy to find rather than having him search through misplaced emails for a Zoom link. Also, his Alexa Calendar can remind him of the upcoming Zoom meeting.

Here is how to set up a scheduled Zoom meeting, as shown on a PC running Outlook:

screenshot 1

  • Chose Schedule

 

screenshot 2

  • Choose Other Calendars and Click Save

 

screenshot 3

  • Choose "open with default calendar (.ics)

 

screenshot 4

  • Add in the meeting attendees and send the invitation
    • NOTE: I found it a best practice to include yourself in the invitation, This seems to really help on Apple Calendars.
    • Add a message to click on the invitation to add to the Calendar, if recipients are using Apple Calendar
    • Google Calendar users do NOT have to click on the email invitation.

 

  • Click Send Update

 

 

Final Steps on Your Dad's Echo Show

After his Echo Show 8 is set up and has accepted the first meeting, all your Dad will have to do to join any future meeting is to say:

"Alexa, join the meeting"

However, the first time joining a meeting, there are a few extra screens, and they may be confusing. Here is how to handle Dad's first Zoom meeting:

  • Schedule a Zoom meeting and send the calendar invitation
    • Apple Calendar users must accept the invitation in email
    • Note that he can't join the meeting until it's past the start time as Alexa will say there is no meeting
  • On your Dad's Echo Show 8
    • Say "Alexa, join the Zoom meeting"
      • If Alexa doesn't see the meeting, check to be it’s added your Dad's Calendar.
        • Just say “Alexa, what’s on my Calendar?”
        • If you haven't added the Calendar, Alexa can guide you through this.
          • Be sure to closely follow the above steps on adding a Calendar
    • Alexa will ask, "Do you want to join the xxxx Zoom meeting?
    • Allow Zoom to take pictures, record video, and record audio (only needed the first time)
    • There is no need for your Dad to login into a Zoom account, as it will automatically happen if he wants a few seconds
      • He will be auto accepted if it's a scheduled meeting
    • He can just say "Alexa, hang up" when finished
      • He can also say "Alexa, go home" if he doesn't want to wait for the main screen to return in a couple of minutes

Note that once the initial Zoom meeting has occurred, your Dad can just say, "Alexa, join the meeting" as Zoom is now the default

 

Usage Tips

With an ACTIVE calendar event in Dad's Calendar, all he needs to do to open Zoom is "Alexa, join the meeting."

Note, he CAN NOT say this BEFORE the meeting has started! If he asks to join too soon, Alexa will say, "There is no meeting on the calendar; what is your Zoom Meeting ID?" which can be very confusing. Alexa will only recognize Zoom meetings in progress. Don't forget about time zones.

The Zoom preferred method for joining a meeting may be too difficult for your Dad, and we find that step unnecessary. They want you to sign into the Zoom account and set up a 6-digit password to join a call. Their second method is to enter a meeting ID and password.

We find it much easier to use the Guest Access method. Your Dad will show up as his Amazon Account name when he requests joining the meeting so that you will know it's him

One interesting side effect for the meeting organizer is that Dad’s joining will be auto accepted when he joins the meeting in progress, as it's a scheduled meeting.

 

 

More Like This

This is part of a series of "Problems" and DIY Technology "Solutions" to the challenges faced by older adults, by Frank Engelman. 

 


 

Discuss this solution

 

from Carol T (member) at March 01, 2021

This could be great, if we can get help with the initial setup on Dad's Echo Show 8. Can you please confirm that there's no need to install or add Zoom as an app or skill on the Echo Show 8? Thanks!

 

from faengelm (member) at March 01, 2021

Hello Carol,

There is no Zoom app or Alexa skill setup required on your Dad's Echo Show 8. However, you must have a scheduled Zoom meeting in his calendar and his calendar must be connected to his Alexa account. Please note that he can't join the meeting until the actual time of the event on his calendar. This is required even if you, as the Host, start the meeting early.

Also, if you are using Zoom closed captions, those will not appear on the Echo Show 8

If you have already sent the Echo Show to your dad, you could log in to this Alexa account on your mobile device and add the calendar to Alexa for him. There is no need to have local access to his Echo Show

Frank

 

from Joe P (unverified) at June 10, 2021

Hello Frank,

I did all of the steps mentioned here, but Alexa still wouldn't open the zoom automatically. I read in the Alexa support that there is a known problem that parsing the calendar doesn't always work. Do you know if there's a work around?

 

from faengelm (member) at June 11, 2021

Hello Joe,

I have seen recommendations on the Amazon support site for resetting (factory default) the Echo Show, but they claim to have fixed the problem in December 2020.

Only Echo Show 8 (gen 1) and Echo Show 10 (gen 3) currently support Zoom. I expect my Echo Show 8 (gen 2) to get support soon.

  1. Be sure to ask “Alexa, what is on today’s calendar?” to see if the meeting is showing up
  2. Be sure to say “Alexa, join the meeting” ONLY after the meeting start time. This applies even if the meeting host started it sooner

Please describe the specific issue you are running into when trying to join a Zoom meeting on the Echo Show as I want to get this working for you.

Frank

 

from Joel L (unverified) at December 16, 2021

Hello, I have tried to follow each step very carefully. When I tell Alexa to join the meeting she says "I couldn't find a dial in number for the meetings. To join meetings please include the meeting dial in information on your calendar invite."

What am I doing wrong? I feel so close. Thank you.

 

from Phillip (unverified) at December 31, 2021

I have the same problem.
Amazon Echo Show 8
Apple Calendar synced
.ics invitation accepted and added to the calendar.
Meeting appears on the Alexa calendar.
Say "Alexa, join my Zoom meeting"
Alexa says "I couldn't find a dial in number for the meetings. To join meetings please include the meeting dial in information on your calendar invite"
The meeting info in the invitation only has the meeting ID and passcode and URL. No phone numbers.
There seems to be no way to join a Zoom meeting by voice or by touch that has been scheduled by other people.

 

from faengelm (member) at January 02, 2022

Hello Joel L. & Phillip,

In a zoom support note dated December 15 2021, they state that In some cases, Echo Show is not able to parse the meeting passcode and the user will need to manually enter the passcode on the Echo Show”.

In my testing, it appears that this can happen when using the Apple calendar linked to your loved one’s Alexa account. There appear to be issues using the .ics file in addition to the burden for your loved one to open the file in an appearsemail and accept the meeting.

I suggest adding a Google calendar for your loved one and linking that to their Alexa account. Scheduled Zoom Meetings will be automatically added to their Alexa calendar if you post a scheduled Zoom Meeting to their Google calendar when creating the meeting.

Please note that your loved one can still have the Apple calendar, as Alexa supports simultaneous calendars

In addition, you can add Google calendar features as described in our article such as a verbal announcement of it being time to join the Zoom Meeting.

In a future article, we will show how to automatically join the scheduled Zoom Meeting with an Echo Show as well as even turn on a Fire TV which offers a “drop-in” experience with no action required on your loved one’s part.

 

from faengelm (member) at December 17, 2021

Hello Joel,

Currently, Amazon supports Zoom on Echo Show 8 (gen 1 & 2), Echo Show 10 (gen 3), and Fire TV Cube (Gen2)

Let me know which one you are using, and the FULL software version then I’ll compare it against mine

For example: Under Settings- Device Options- Check for Software updates

Echo Show 8 Gen 2 OS vs 7.5.5.0 (PS7550/2583)

Amazon doesn’t publish a regional feature update list, and this may still be a US-only feature

Please let me know if you are using the Google or Apple Calendar for the meeting

Take a look at the Zoom invitation that you see in the calendar. It should look like this:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81090044326?pwd=cTFYcHJCZHlLU2xkTG42Z0VLVGhKQT09

 

from Allynn (member) at December 27, 2021

I just set up Dad's new Amazon Omni TV.  It is (supposed to be) 100% voice activated; no remote necessary.  And, as of December 22nd, it's supposed to support Zoom calls.  I haven't tried Zoom yet.  I'll be there on Wednesday to set up the camera and test it.  I can report that it did a decent job with the command "Alexa, play football" yesterday (though the actual outcome of the game was less desireable!).  I just wanted to post here in case anyone else has an Omni.  Dad's been "in the Alexa-verse" for a year now and he's getting pretty good at.  I'm hoping he can Zoom with his sister in California for the New Year

 

from faengelm (member) at December 27, 2021

Hello Allynn,

This is perfect timing. I’m just finishing up an article on the Amazon Omni TVs, as I was waiting for the Zoom App to be ready.

I tested Zoom and it works great, in addition to the normal Alexa Video Calling. Of course, you need to add a USB camera.

The Omni TV’s have a couple of advantages over the Fire TV Cubes I have been suggesting:

  • Picture-in-Picture (PiP) for watching a front door camera while viewing a show
  • Ability to automatically return to an HDMI input such as cable/satellite after a video call is over
  • Apple AirPlay2 built-in
  • No need for a spare HDMI input or power outlet

I’m suggesting that the best way to do Zoom with a loved one is to use the Alexa feature of calendar integration as shown in this article.

 

from Allynn (member) at December 30, 2021

Hi Frank, 

Well I got the USB camera installed with no trouble and I've set it so I can "drop in" on Dad's TV.  This will be great in the Spring when my garden starts to flower and I can show it to him like it was a home garden show!

But Zoom... not quite so good.  I got the app installed and got Dad's Google calendar synced.  I set up a meeting and scheduled it on the calendar.  Alexa did not announce the meeting but was quite happy to open Zoom when I asked her to  The problem, however, was that Dad's video was off in Zoom by default.  I had given Zoom permissions for audio and video and, indeed, when I clicked the video "on" in Zoom it came on fine.  Dad, of course, can't do that.  I'm still going to set up a call with his sister for New Year's Day because I'll be there to click it on for him.  I can't find anything useful on the web; everything is pretty much same blurb about "Omni now supports Zoom".  Any ideas where the video setting might be?

 

from faengelm (member) at December 30, 2021

Hello Allynn,

Sign in to your Zoom account as Host with your browser at https://zoom.us/profile/setting 

Scroll down to:

Schedule Meeting- Participants video

and enable it to Start Meeting with Participants video on

 

from Anonymous (unverified) at December 31, 2021

yup! That was it!

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Target customers & users: 
Family of the aging
How important is it?: 
Moderate problem
Key words: