Skip to main content

Alexa can now control your alarm system: Is this safe?

Amazon Echo Alexa
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends
ADT just announced that it is adding new features for its security-system customers. The security and automation company now has an “ADT Pulse Alexa” skill available for new and existing home automation customers. ADT is leading the pack, as one of the first companies to provide its customers the ability to disarm their alarm systems using voice commands and a pin.

ADT Pulse customers can have Alexa-enabled devices, like the Echo or Echo Dot, installed in their homes, which will provide Pulse subscribers with access to the arm and disarm voice command features. Customers can also use the voice command features to complete other tasks (lock and unlock the door, turn on and off interior and exterior lights, close the garage door, and others), and Alexa will provide the user with a confirmation once the system has completed the action.

“A smart home is not always a safe home. Integrating ADT Pulse with Amazon Alexa voice service provides a more efficient, and equally as important, a safe approach, to hands-free home automation,” said Jamie Haenggi, chief marketing officer at ADT. “We look forward to enhancing our product interactions, backed by our 20,000 employees dedicated to keeping our customers safe.”

ADT Pulse Alexa’s security is not conducted through voice recognition; instead, the security comes from the user’s PIN number. If you ask Alexa to perform a task that involves opening, unlocking, or disarming, you’ll have to say your four-digit PIN to get the system to complete the task. If you say your pin incorrectly three consecutive times over the course of a few days, your Alexa device will disassociate from ADT and will no longer recognize ADT commands. You will have to follow a series of steps to get things up and running again.

Here are a few examples of the types of commands ADT Pulse Alexa understands:

  • Alexa, ask ADT to arm the system.
  • Alexa, ask ADT to disarm the system with 1234
  • Alexa, ask ADT to check the status of the security system
  • Alexa, ask ADT to unlock the Front Door Lock with 9876
  • Alexa, ask ADT to turn off the Light
  • Alexa, ask ADT to open the Garage Door with 1234

If you have a lot of traffic in and out of your house (you have a lot of workers in your home, or you have guests over often), it is possible for someone to overhear your PIN number when you say it aloud. While ADT Pulse Alexa is protected by a PIN, you may frequently say the pin aloud, as opposed to quietly typing it into a keypad as you would with an alarm system that’s not voice controlled.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to use extra caution, and be mindful of who’s around when you’re providing ADT Pulse Alexa with PIN-protected commands.

Editors' Recommendations

Erika Rawes
Smart Home Evergreen Coordinator
Erika became a professional writer in 2010, and her work is published all over the web on sites ranging from USA Today to…
Lonely this Valentine’s Day? Alexa can help you feel better
lonely this valentines day alexa can help you feel better amazon echo dot plum on dresser

Valentine's Day doesn't need to be lonely this year. You have Alexa, and even though Amazon's virtual assistant isn't a real person, there are a lot of ways Alexa can help you through this February 14. Here are some things to try if you find yourself feeling down.

Link up, even when you're far apart
Seeing a friendly face is always a good way to boost your spirits. Even if you and your best friends, family member, or sweetheart are separated by miles or trapped at home with a cold, you can all still feel like you're in the same room, chatting it up by using your video-enabled Alexa device to make video calls. Though you'll get the best experience with an Echo Show, you and your loved one can use the Alexa app to make video calls, too. Just go to the app, tap on the person you want to contact and choose the video chatting option.
Use your imagination
If reading a trashy novel to give yourself vicariously the romance you need isn't your thing, then maybe try a game. The Alexa skill MyCrush by Is It Love? is a kind of mashup between the Sims video game crossed with a Choose Your Own Adventure book combined with a romance novel. All played out in your imagination, though, with a little help from Alexa. Using the skill, you go on dates with imaginary people and choose how the romance progresses.
Listen to a story
If there's nothing on TV and you're sitting around bemoaning your love life, have Alexa tell you a story to occupy your night. The Story Stream skill has stories in many different genres to suit your mood, including paranormal, thrillers, horror, Creepypasta, sci-fi and comedy.
Do something for someone
Sometimes helping someone else can boost your spirits like nothing else. You can show a little love to someone in need this Valentine's Day with the help of the Daily Kindness skill. It gives 50 different suggestions on how you can randomly help a person around you.
Share the love
Even if you don't have a romantic love, it doesn't mean you can't share love this Valentine's Day. The Share Worldwide skill is basically an audio message board. You can listen to the message the last person left and leave your own for others to hear. It's a great way to spread kindness and uplifting messages between strangers anonymously. It's a little connection that can make you, and others, feel good, no matter what day it is.

Read more
You can now scan bar codes for your grocery list with the Amazon Echo Show
Barcode on a cookie pack announced their fourth-quarter sales are up 21% to $87.4 billion and, interestingly, they revealed that people talk to Alexa billions of times per week. While Alexa's abilities haven't reached the billions yet, they are now one feature closer. In addition to being able to give medication reminders and order refills, order pizza, pay utility bills, and purchase fuel at more than 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations, the smart assistant can scan, too. Now when you need to add a new item to your grocery list, you can scan the item's bar code by holding it up in front of your Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8. This new feature was announced in the What's New with Alexa Monthly Roundup for January.


Read more
Best fitness skills for your Alexa speaker to help you get into shape
Meet your fitness goals with the help of Alexa
cropped shot of fitness woman working out on exercise bike at the gym. female exercising on bicycle in health club, focus on legs.

Alexa could be your new best friend when it comes to an accountability buddy. She can help you get healthy, lose weight, and stay fit throughout the year, beyond just your New Year's resolution, thanks to her multitude of great skills. Some skills can help you keep track of water consumption and fitness goals, while others provide guided workouts anywhere you can take your Alexa speaker. Here are our picks for the top fitness skills.

MyFitnessPal Lite
If you're new to using your Alexa for fitness, the first skill you should equip is MyFitnessPal Lite. It can track just about any health and fitness goal you have, such as water consumption, calorie intake, steps taken throughout the day, your weight and more. All you need to do is say simple commands like, "Alexa, tell MyFitnessPal to log 1 liter of water," or "Alexa, tell MyFitnessPal to log 10,000 steps." You can also ask Alexa to recall previous logs. Everything is stored to your account, so you can see the data in graph form on the MyFitnessPal website or app.
Fitness Thirty
Fitness Thirty is like having a trainer in your Alexa speaker. You pick  "chest," "cardio," "abs," or "yoga" and then Alexa will call out a workout move for you to do while she counts down 25 seconds. After the 25 second countdown, she gives you a 5-second rest. Then, you can start all over again with a different move. For example, if you choose "abs" she may tell you to hold yourself in a plank position for 25 seconds. After, she'll say, "You deserve a five-second rest," and count down five seconds. Once the rest is over, she will ask you to choose a category again, so you can really mix up your workouts.
Easy Yoga

Read more