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Amazon Releases Alexa Guard, Turns Echo Speakers Into Smart Security Devices

Alexa Guard works with smart home platforms by ADT and Ring to arm/disarm systems, control lighting, receive fire/life-safety alerts and more.

SEATTLE — Owners of Echo voice-assistant speakers can now utilize the new Alexa Guard security and smart home feature, which Amazon began rolling out Tuesday.

Alexa Guard was initially unveiled in September 2018 and rolled out in a limited beta trial in December. It is now available to all Echo customers in the United States. Users with ADT (NYSE: ADT) or Ring professional monitoring can set it up to forward alerts to their providers.

Alexa Guard is free but needs to be manually activated by users. Upon set up, users can say “I’m leaving” to switch to Away mode. The light ring on non-screen Echo devices will animate with a rotating white light. Screen devices will display a shield icon on the home screen to indicate when Guard is in Away mode.

Users can say “I’m home” to switch Alexa Guard to Home mode. Users can also toggle between modes in the Guard section of the Alexa app. In Away mode, Echo devices can recognize and react to three distinct sounds: smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and breaking glass.

Amazon recommends placing at least one Echo device in each room or space that is intended to be monitored by Alexa Guard for detectable sounds. To improve the performance of Guard, the Echo devices should be placed in close proximity to smoke detectors, CO detector or the glass that is to be monitored.

If an Echo device detects a selected sound, Alexa will send a “smart alert” to a user’s smarthphone to notify which sound was detected, along with a 10-second audio clip of the event. Users can play the detected sound from the Alexa app or access the Echo devices remotely to listen to what’s happening in real time in the home.

In Away mode, ADT customers can choose whether to automatically forward smart alerts to ADT’s monitoring center so agents can take action on their behalf, or manually forward the alerts on a case-by-case basis. With the user’s permission, central station operators can review audio clips, verify an alarm and call the customer to see if emergency dispatch is required.

Ring Alarm customers can request dispatch of emergency responders if they have professional monitoring with Ring Protect Plus.

About the Author

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Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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