Why spend £100s on a security system when you can use Smart Home technology to keep your home secure? Using Alexa Guard with other devices like the Ring Security Drone or even a Wyze Security Camera can dramatically improve your home security at a budget.
Amazon is now offering the Alexa Guard service to any device with Echo built into it. This will allow your Echo device to listen to sounds it is trained to recognise (For example glass shattering).
If you’re really cautious, you can opt into the subscription service called Alexa Guard Plus which provides bonus premium features including a helpline which can be contacted 24/7.
If like myself you’re very paranoid when you’re not at home and are constantly checking your blink camera, this is a great budget option. Want to know more? Keep on reading!
What is Alexa Guard & Alexa Guard Plus?
Alexa Guard is a feature which comes with your Amazon Echo device that listens for various sounds like glass breaking, footsteps, smoke and CO detector beeps. Once it’s aware of a hazard it will alert you directly via a mobile alert.
Once this has been triggered you will receive a notification on your phone/tablet with the Amazon Echo app installed alerting you of the issue.
Another fantastic feature is the ability to have your smart lights turn on and off randomly throughout the night to imply that you are still home and awake.
Alexa Guard plus offers many more security features at $4.99 a month, these features come in three main categories.
Your Echo Speaker or Echo Show will listen to a wider variety of sounds; these sounds include doors opening, glass breaking and footsteps.
If your Alexa Guard is armed and detects sound, it will attempt to deter intruders by playing sounds like a dog barking or an alarm.
Amazon has also introduced a feature for users based in the US that will allow you to direct calls directly to the police or emergency contact during an occurrence of forced entry.
How effective is Alexa Guard?
Before you go throwing all your cameras away, this feature isn’t an all in one solution. It’s simply a tool which allows you add a little extra security to your already in place security procedure.
Amazon spent a lot of time training Alexa to accurately identify the threats mentioned. A spokesperson for Amazon stated that their team had to break hundered of varying types of windows with various objects like Crow Bars, Bricks & Hammers.
Alexa uses machine learning to determine the right lighting activity for your home based on lighting usage across customers.Amazon Representative
With the use of Machine Learning, Amazon was able to teach Alexa to pick frequencies between these sounds so that it can learn what is a potential break-in or emergency. Pretty smart, right?
This team broke hundreds of different windows, in different sizes, including single pane and double pane, with a variety of instruments including crowbars, hammers, bricks, baseball bats, and moreAmazon Representative to CNBC
How do I enable Alexa Guard?
- Open the Alexa app on your phone (This will need updating)
- Tap the menu button on the top left.
- Choose “Settings.”
- Choose “Guard.”, press “Set up Guard.”
- Press “Add” to detect smart smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Press “Add” to activate smart alerts for detecting the sound of broken glass.
- As an optional extra, you can Choose “Add” to activate smart lighting.
- Enter your zip/post code based on your location, so smart lighting knows when to turn on.
- Choose “Confirm.”
- You WILL need to say “Alexa, I’m leaving” to activate Guard when you leave your home, however this may be better resolved by IFTTT (In the future) when it detects your mobile device not on the wifi.
Alexa Guard is free but still needs to be manually activated by you. It requires you to first speak “Alexa, I’m leaving” to activate Guard on your Echo and to force Alexa to begin listening for more than just the “Alexa” wake word.
It requires you to first speak “Alexa, I’m leaving” to activate Guard on your Echo and to force Alexa to begin listening for more than just the “Alexa” wake word.
When Alexa Guard triggers an alert including a 10-second audio recording of the event and anything else the Echo heard is sent directly to your phone.
Which Echo Devices work with Alexa Guard?
As of the moment, the following device families work with Alexa Guard: Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon Echo Plus, Amazon Echo Show, Amazon Echo Spot & Amazon Echo Input.
Can Alexa Guard contact my professional security service?
Alexa can be connected to use Ring Alarm, ADT pulse & ADT Control who can then disarm your security system by voice control or remotely.
This also allows Alexa to forward all audio recordings to your security service of choice so they can determine whether this is a casual glass being dropped or an actual break-in.
This does, however, vary from security provider to security provider, so it isn’t a 100% guarantee and we would definitely suggest installing a small security camera/surveillance system such as Blink X, Nest Cam or Arlo Pro.
Does Alexa Guard work without the internet or power?
Simply put, no. There is no current official battery powered method of doing this, there are alternative methods such as the Gocybei Battery Base which we highly recommend for 1st and 2nd Generation Echo’s.
If the internet or your power does cut out, once this is back it will be fine however it will have cancelled your trigger for “Alexa, I’m Leaving”. So this would need to be run again (Even if this is redundant).
A solution to this would be an Arduino board which is set up with a speaker to automatically talk to Alexa when you’re out and set all the commands back up, although this is extreme!
Does Alexa Guard work with Sonos?
As of writing this, there is no feature built into Sonos which allows you to use Alexa Guard with the Speaker. In this case, keep your Alexa device near your door to turn on Alexa Guard with ease.