Published: Fri, May 17, 2019
Tech | By

Alexa Guard Aims to Help Keep Your Home Safe

Alexa Guard Aims to Help Keep Your Home Safe

That's the whole point of Alexa Guard, a new Alexa-powered feature that uses the existing far-field microphones in Amazon Echo devices to closely listen for glass breaking or the sound of alarms coming from smoke or CO detectors when you're away from home.

Once you've enabled the feature in the Alexa app, say, "Alexa, I'm leaving" to your Echo. You can select which sounds are of interest, for example, the sound of breaking glass or a smoke alarm going off. Alexa will respond to such audio events by sending a Smart Alert for you to act upon along with a short audio recording of what occurred.

As previously mentioned, Amazon is just starting to roll out Alexa Guard more widely, so don't be surprised if it isn't showing up yet.

Alexa Guard is free for all Echo users and is rolling out to U.S. users today. Yes, there are still privacy concerns related to having a hot mic in your home (or several hot mics, depending on how many Echo devices you own), but there is some welcome added utility that Guard brings to the table.

You can buy all kinds of home security devices that play nicely with Alexa.

Alexa Guard probably can't serve as a total replacement for home security systems, as it's somewhat limited in what it can monitor. The truly fearless can even drop in on your Echo to remotely investigate.

When enabled, Guard initiates what Amazon calls Smart Alerts.

Alexa Guard is a new feature in the Alexa app that allows you to check for suspicious activities even without connected security hardware. However, the Alexa Guard mode is still pretty limited as it can not inform authorities if you have intruders that's why it's intended more as a complement or as a basic security tool.

Alexa Guard was initially rolled out in late 2018, but it wasn't available on some older Echo devices. Customers can use their voices to arm and disarm their Ring, ADT Pulse, and ADT Control security systems. With those services, Smart Alerts will be forwarded to the professional monitoring service, which will determine if it's appropriate to notify emergency-response services, such as the police or fire departments.

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