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Alexa Guard Aims to Help Keep Your Home Safe

Amazon Echo (2017)

If you own an Echo device and are located in the US, Amazon is rolling out a new skill for Alexa this week. It’s called Alexa Guard, and it will help to keep your home safe while you’re out.

As TechCrunch reports, Alexa Guard is simply a new listening mode for your Echo. When you’re going out, say “Alexa, I’m leaving” and Guard will start listening for specific sounds. 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.

Amazon is keen to point out in the Safety FAQ that Alexa Guard is not a replacement for a home security system and it won’t contact the emergency services on your behalf. You can, however, connect Alexa Guard to a professionally-monitored security system (for example, Ring Alarm or ADT Pulse) which then allows Smart Alerts to be forwarded to the security service provider. If your home uses the Away Lighting setup, a Guard Smart Alert can trigger it to turn your lights on in an attempt to scare off any intruder.

In order to train Alexa for Guard functionality, Amazon apparently employed licensed contractors who then proceeded to break lots of glass so Alexa could have a library of sounds to match breaking glass against. It’s also key for Guard to work properly with alarms that your Echo is placed in the same room as them so as to “improve the performance.”

Alexa Guard is free to use, but by default means your Echo device is listening all the time when you’re out. That’s exactly what is required for this to work, though, and Amazon states all Alexa Guard recordings associated with your account can be reviewed and deleted at any time from the Privacy section in the Alexa app Settings page.

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