Amazon just rolled out Alexa Guard for all Echo users. Your Echo can now listen to broken glass, alert you to light up alarms, and accidentally turn your lights on and off. But it’s not a complete security system.
What is Alexa Guard?
Alexa Guard is a new free service from Amazon for Amazon Echo users. When you activate Guard, your Echo devices begin listening for the sound of broken glass or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If echo detects any of these noises, it will send you an alert.
Amazon accomplishes this feat by changing the behavior of the wake word for your Echo devices. Normally, your Echo listens for «Alexa» (or one of the optional wake-up words) to activate. But turning on and activating the armed mode adds additional «wake-up words» that correspond to the sound of breaking glass and alarms. In other words, your Echo listens to these sounds the same way it listens to «Alexa». When disarming, your return is an echo of your standard behavior.
In addition to listening to trouble, the Guard can take some basic preventive measures. If you have smart lights tied to the Alexa platform, Guard can turn them on and off at random intervals to make it look like you’re at home. You choose which smart lights are automated so your basement light doesn’t turn on and off pointlessly.
Once turned on, you arm the guard by telling Alexa «I’m leaving» and disarm by saying «I’m home.» Your Echo will tell you it’s starting or stopping the guard. You will receive an Alexa notification on your phone too.
Alexa Guard Not security monitoring, but useful
Alexa Guard is an untracked security system. Amazon spells that out several times in its FAQ:
Alexa Guard is not a replacement for an intruder alarm system or life safety device and cannot contact emergency services, such as the police or fire department, on your behalf. Smart Alert is provided for informational purposes only.
It’s something to keep in mind. Alexa Guard will not contact the police or fire department for you. For example, let’s say you’re in a theater and your phone is set to Do Not Disturb. If your house is on fire or a burglar breaks all your windows, you will not receive notifications. It may be too late to notify the police or fire department by the time you actually see the notifications.
If you are looking for a security system with monitoring services, you may want to consider SimpliSafe or Amazon’s Ring Alarm System.
But chances are you don’t usually keep your phone do not disturb when you leave the house. If you don’t have any kind of security system at all right now, and you have one or more Amazon Echo devices in your home, this could be a step up from the current situation.
Smoke alarms are an essential part of every home, but they are of little use when you leave the house unless you spend over $100 per unit replacing your existing alarms with a smart version like Nest Protect. With Alexa Guard, you have the chance to be notified of a fire or home by an intruder with just an echo. If your Echo has a camera (like the Echo Show), you can use the Drop In feature to see what’s going on before calling the emergency services.
Home security is just as much about prevention and response. Deterring a home invasion is better than vying. That’s why security systems encourage you to put up a «Protected» sign: thieves prefer fruit with the lowest hanging fruit. smart integration Light Guard makes it look like you are at home and it is useful.