Alexa-enabled devices can already play music and games, answer questions, keep you up-to-date on the news, control your smart home, and more. But now, Amazon’s smart speakers and displays can protect your home with a feature called Alexa Guard (well, sort of).
What is Alexa Guard, and what can it do?
Alexa Guard is a feature on Echo devices that acts as pair of ears for your home when you’re not there. It can listen for sounds that indicate something dangerous might be going on in your home, and then alert you to tell you what it hears. Think of Alexa Guard as a tattletale that specifically listens out for breaking glass, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. If the far-field microphones hear one of those danger sounds, Alexa will notify you by sending you a 10-second clip of the sound. You can choose which types of sounds you want to be notified about.
Alexa Guard can also work with your smart lighting to make it look like you’re home when you’re out of the house or when you go on vacation. Guard uses machine algorithms to determine the right on and off patterns to make it look like you’re sitting on the couch watching Netflix when you’re really out on the town.
What can’t Alexa Guard do?
While Alexa Guard will help to protect your home in the event of an emergency, you should not use it a substitute for an actual alarm system.
Alexa Guard can work in conjunction with your existing Ring or ADT system, but don’t expect it to work as harmoniously as a system like Nest (a well-integrated system that can do things like automatically shut off forced air systems to prevent the spread of smoke).
Alexa Guard can arm your system, as well as forward smart alerts to ADT when it detects a danger sound, like a smoke detector. ADT Pulse or Control customers can choose to have ADT take action on their behalf in response to alerts. Through the Ring App, Ring Protect Plus customers can request that emergency responders check out their home, but the user has to initiate this request. It doesn’t happen automatically.
Overall, Alexa Guard requires a certain degree of evaluation and decisiveness on the part of the user. It is not a professional monitoring service, but rather a warning you receive from Alexa when she detects danger. You then decide what action to take, if any.
Who can use Alexa Guard?
Amazon is now releasing Echo Guard in the U.S. If you have the latest version of the Alexa App, the feature should be available to you as long as you have at least one compatible Echo device — an Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Spot, or Echo Input.
How do you set up Alexa Guard?
Alexa Guard is pretty easy to set up, and the process takes about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how many of the features you want to use. Here’s how to get Alexa to “guard” your home:
- Open the latest version of the Alexa app
- Go to Menu (the three-line hamburger icon)
- Select Settings from the menu options
- Select Guard
- Add the features you want — breaking glass, carbon monoxide, away lighting, etc. If you add away lighting, it will ask you to input your ZIP code. This is so the machine algorithms can detect the best on and off lighting patterns for your area.
- When you leave the house, say, “Alexa, I’m leaving,” to enable Alexa Guard mode
- When you arrive home, say, “Alexa, I’m home,” to disable Alexa Guard mode