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 notifications turn guard on and off.

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

Simplisafe Next to Amazon Echo
Simplisafe on the left offers security system monitoring; Echo on the right no.

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.

Some security systems

Although Alexa Guard is not a security system itself, it can work in conjunction with some monitored security systems. The Guard can forward your alarm notifications to the security team — along with the recorded audio — if you choose to enable this option.

Your security team will take the information and then act on it as the company deems appropriate, regardless of whether it will contact you, call emergency services, or both. Amazon says Alexa Guard is compatible with Ring and ADT monitoring services. Others may be compatible as well.

It’s a good idea to get in touch with your security system to see if it works with Alexa Guard and what steps are needed on your end.

How to use Alexa Guard

Before you can and disarm Alexa Guard, you must enable it. Start by opening the Alexa app on your phone. Click the hamburger menu in the top left corner.

Alexa app with an arrow pointing to the menu in the top right corner of the hamburger.

Click «Settings» in the menu sidebar.

Alexa app with a box around the settings option.

Scroll through the list of options until «Guard» appears and click on it.

Alexa app with a box around the Guard option.

Then click «Set Up Guard» and you will be prompted to enable glass detection, smoke detection, and smart light randomization. Click «Add» for every thing you want to include.

Amazon apps with a box around the

After turning on the randomized smart lights, enter your zip code (to determine when the sunset is) and select the lights to be randomized. You will find some lights selected automatically. Check if you want to add and uncheck everything you don’t want in the rotation. Click «Continue» once you have selected your lights.

Alexa app with box around the world to add and continue button.

Finally, click «Confirm» to complete the installation process.

When you’re ready to leave the house, say «Alexa, I’m leaving» and the Alexa Guard will arm itself. When you get home tell Alexa «I’m home» and the guard will disarm. You will be notified by phone when the security is turned on and off.

Once you understand what Alexa Guard does, it’s pretty powerful. Without having to buy broken glass sensors or smart thermostats, you will receive a move notification from your home. It won’t solve every worst case scenario. But whether or not you’re using a monitored security system now, it can give you extra peace of mind.

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