A new setting in the Alexa app enables a new feature call Smart Alerts that tells Echo speakers to listen for the sound of breaking glass or a smoke or carbon-monoxide alarm going off while you’re away. Those triggers then send you a push notification to warn you of trouble at home.
Another new feature, dubbed Away Lighting, will automatically turn your smart lights on and off while you’re away, potentially fooling an intruder into believing someone is home.
You can choose which smart lights will be used for Away Lighting (you’ll need to have set them up in the Alexa app previously), and Alexa will use a combination of machine learning (to mimic your daily lighting use while you’re home) and your zip code (to determine when it will be dark).
Once you’ve enabled any or all of these features, you simply need to say “Alexa, I’m leaving” to put the speakers into Guard mode. When you return home, say “Alexa, I’m home” to turn the feature off again.
Alexa Guard can operate on its own or in conjunction with security systems from Ring as well as ADT Pulse and ADT Control. 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.
Alexa Guard was initially rolled out in late 2018, but it wasn’t available on some older Echo devices. The service now works with every Echo device. It’s a strong value-add feature for Echo users, and it doesn’t cost anything extra.
Michael is TechHive's lead editor, with 30+ years of experience covering the tech industry, focusing on the smart home, home audio, and home theater. He built his own smart home in 2007 and used it as a real-world test lab for product reviews. Following a relocation to the Pacific Northwest, he is now converting his new home, an 1890 Victorian bungalow, into a modern smart home.