Amazon has found a new way for Alexa to watch over and help you protect your home when you are not there. The company entered the home security scene earlier this year when they bought Ring, which is best known for its smart doorbell device. Shortly after that, they began offering full smart home security packages. Now they are preparing to launch Alexa Guard.
What Is Alexa Guard?
Alexa Guard is a new feature for Echo smart speakers. This feature gives you the essential functions of a security system without a lot of expensive equipment. Alexa Guard uses the microphones in the speakers along with the Internet to monitor for suspicious sounds. Sounds such as breaking glass, smoke alarms, or carbon monoxide alarms will trigger the system to send an alert to your phone. You can also set it up to transmit the same information to your home security provider if you have one.
While Echos are always listening for their wake word, they will not listen for these trigger sounds all the time. You have to enable it by giving a specific command phrase such as, “Alexa, I’m leaving.”
When you activate it, the system listens for sounds that may indicate trouble. If an alarm sounds or glass breaks, Alexa will automatically record the sound. Then it will send the audio file directly to you. You can then listen to the noise and decide if it is something that you need to act upon.
Since all smoke alarms don’t sound the same, and the sound of your window glass breaking isn’t going to sound like your neighbor’s, Alexa guard was trained partially by using multiple audio samples from public domain videos. That wasn’t the only method, though. Rohit Prasad, the vice president who heads Alexa’s artificial intelligence, admits development also involved some physical destruction. “We did break a lot of glass in our internal testing,” he says.
Lights On, Lights Off
Another capability Amazon will give to the Alexa that will help keep your home secure is Away Mode. With this activated, your Smart lights will be randomly turned on and off. This makes it appear as though someone is home, even when you are out of your house.
The ability to randomize the lights to act as a deterrent to criminals is the reason that many people decide to purchase smart lighting. With the Alexa system it will be much easier to set this up. Alexa will control the lighting in a way that seems natural for your home based on patterns observed when and where you turn your lights on and off when you are home.
Integration with Security Companies
The Alexa Guard system doesn’t only integrate with its own devices or devices from Ring. You can integrate Guard with your home security systems as well. When you leave the house and activate Alexa Guard, the system will give your security provider that information, too. Currently, the company has only announced a partnership with ADT for professional monitoring, but they intend to announce collaborations with other companies as well soon.
There’s no word yet on when this software update will roll out. But since updates to Alexa are quite frequent, it probably won’t be long until you have this option available to you.