Amazon is expanding the capabilities of its Alexa Guard feature, making its line of Echo smart speakers and displays more capable home security systems. The $4.99-per-month/$49-per-year Alexa Guard Plus service sits in between an entirely self-monitored security system and a professionally monitored one. Some third-party vendors—including Abode—are even adding it to their own home security offerings. Amazon-owned Ring will add Alexa Guard Plus to its $10-per-month Protect Plus service at no additional cost.
Alexa Guard Plus’ best feature is the ability to summon help in the event of an emergency. Just say “Alexa, call for help” to reach an emergency response agent who can help you request help from your local fire, medical, or police department.
Like the free version of Alexa Guard, when you tell Alexa you’re leaving the house (“Alexa, I’m leaving”), Alexa Guard Plus will use the microphones in Amazon Echo speakers and displays to listen for the sound of smoke and carbon-monoxide alarms as well as breaking glass. If those sounds are detected, Amazon will send an alert of the potential emergency to your smartphone. Tap on the message and you’ll be taken to the Alexa app, where you can play back what Alexa heard. You can also listen in for live audio to gain some insight as to what’s going on at home in real time.
Alexa Guard Plus expands that environmental monitoring to listen for the sound of footsteps or doors closing, noises that would suggest someone has gained illegal access to your home, and it will sound a siren that will hopefully persuade an intruder to leave. If an outdoor-facing camera from Ring, Blink, Arlo, or August detects motion outside your home, your Echo speaker will play the sound of a barking dog. Here again, you’ll also get an emergency alert, and if you choose, you can be connected to an agent to get additional help.
Alexa Guard and Alexa Guard Plus both will turn also your smart lights (or lamps connected to smart plugs) on and off at night to give the impression your home is occupied while you’re away. Alexa Guard Plus will become available later this year.