- Your Amazon Echo can make it sound like a dog is barking inside your house if your security cameras sense movement when you're not home.
- You can set your lights to turn on and off, based on your past usage, to make it look like you're home; have it alert you if it hears glass breaking or a fire alarm, and more.
- Here's how to use Amazon's Alexa Guard and new $5/month Guard Plus features.
The Amazon Echo has some new home security features that are now going live. Among other things, your Amazon Echo can make it sound like a dog is barking inside your house if your security cameras sense movement when you're not home.
The feature is part of Alexa Guard Plus, a subscription service that costs $4.99 per month or $49 per year after a 30-day free trial. It's another way Amazon is using the Echo to generate recurring revenue from its hardware, but it's also useful for folks who may not want to pay for a full-blown security system.
Guard Plus can also alert you to any sounds in your home using your Amazon Echo and sound a siren if activity is detected inside. You can also ask your Echo to call an emergency helpline if you're home and there's an intruder.
Here's how to set it up:
- First you have to sign up for the trial on Amazon's website, or say "Alexa, try Guard Plus" near your Amazon Echo.
- Open the Alexa app on your phone.
- Tap "More" on the bottom right.
- Choose Settings.
- Tap "Guard" toward the bottom of the page.
- You'll see an option to set up Guard with your existing devices, but it's easier to tap the Settings icon on the top right of the page to move through all of the options.
- Choose "Dog barking sounds" under "Deter" to set your Echo to attempt to scare off intruders while you're away. This requires cameras that are either outdoors or facing outdoors. Select the cameras you want to use.
- Choose "Activity Sounds with Siren" to have your Echo sound a siren if you're away from home and it hears someone inside. Amazon warns that a pet can trigger this, so consider that.
- Lastly, tap "Emergency Helpline." This is where you'll enter in your address in case you need to reach out for help. If you have an emergency, just say "Alexa, call for help." It will dial "trained agents who can request the dispatch of emergency responders — such as police, the fire department or an ambulance, on your behalf." Note this isn't 911 and is only available in the U.S. Agents are available 24/7.
If you don't want to pay, there's also a free tier of Alexa Guard that's pretty useful.
For instance, you can select "Away Lighting" under "Deter," which turns your smart lights on and off when you're away to make it look like you're home. Amazon says it learns from your regular patterns, so it's not just random.
The free tier can also alert you to smoke and carbon monoxide alarm sounds, or if your Echo hears glass breaking. Just choose "Sound Detection" under "Detect."
Once you're set up, just say "Alexa, I'm leaving," to turn on away mode.
You can also set Alexa to guard from your phone when you leave the house. When you get home, just say "Alexa, I'm home."