Amazon has just rolled out Alexa Guard to all Echo users. Your echo can now listen to breaking glass, alert you to smoke alarms, and randomly turn your lights on and off.
Alexa Guard is a new free service from Amazon for Amazon Echo users. When you activate the Guard, your Echo device starts listening to the sound of glass breaking or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If an echo detects any of these sounds, it will send you a warning.
Amazon achieves this achievement by changing the wet word behavior of your Echo devices. Usually, your echo listens to "Alexa" (or one of the optional wake up words) to enable. But activation and activation of Guard mode adds additional "wake words" that match the sound of glass breaks and alarms. In other words, your Echo listens to these sounds just as it listens to "Alexa". When you deactivate guard mode, your Echo returns to its usual behavior.
In addition to listening to problems, Guard can take some basic preventive measures. If you have smart lights attached to the Alexa platform, Guard can turn them on and off at random intervals to give the look that you are at home. You choose which smart lights are automated, so your basement light does not turn on and without meaningless.
Once enabled, you protect Guard by saying Alexa "I leave" and disarm by saying "I'm at home". Your echo will say it starts or stops monitoring. You also receive an Alexa notification on your phone.
Alexa Guard is not a monitored security system, but it is useful
Alexa Guard is not a supervised security system. Amazon spells it out several times in its frequently asked questions:
Alexa Guard is not a replacement for an alarm system or life safety device and cannot contact emergency services, such as police or fire brigade, for your behalf. Smart Alerts is provided for informational purposes only.
This is something to think about. Alexa Guard will not contact the police or fire department for you. Let's say you're in the theater and the phone is set to not disturb. If your house catches fire or a burglary crushes all your windows, you won't get the messages. It may be too late to report the police or fire brigade when you see the messages.
If you are looking for a security system with monitoring services, you may want to consider SimpliSafe or Amazon's ringtone.  But the chance is that you usually do not keep the phone disturbed when you leave the house. If you don't have a security system right now and you have one or more Amazon Echo devices in your home, this may be a step up from your current situation.
Smoke alarm is an important part of every home, but they do a little good when you go home – unless you spend over $ 100 per unit replacing your existing alarms with a smart version like Nest Protect. With Alexa Guard, you have a chance to be notified of a fire or a home crime with just one echo. If your Echo has a camera (such as Echo Show) you can use the Drop In function to see what happens before you call emergency services.
Home safety is just as much about prevention and reaction. Deterres a home invasion is better than interrupting one. Therefore, security systems encourage you to put out a "Protected by" sign: thieves prefer the lowest hanging fruit. The guard's smart light integration makes it look like you are at home, and it is helpful.
Some security systems work with guard
While Alexa Guard is not a security system, it can work with some monitored security systems. Guard can forward your alarm messages to your security service – along with recorded audio – if you choose to enable this option.
Your security service takes the information and then acts on what the company considers appropriate, if it is in contact with you, calling emergency services, or both. Amazon says Alexa Guard is compatible with Ring and ADT monitored services. Others may be compatible as well.
It is a good idea to get in touch with your security system to find out if it works with Alexa Guard and what steps are needed for your part.
Use of Alexa Guard
Before you can arm and disarm Alexa Guard, you need to activate it. Start by opening the Alexa app on your phone. Press the hamburger menu in the upper left corner.
Tap "Settings" in the menu bar.
Scroll down the list of options until you see "Guard" and press it.
 Then press "Set Up Guard" and you will be prompted to enable glass detection, smoke detection and smart light randomization. Click "Add" for each item you want to activate.
When you activate random smart lights, enter your zip code (to determine when the sunset is) and select which light to randomize. You will find some lights selected automatically. Check what you want to add and deselect what you do not want in the rotation. Press "Continue" after selecting your lights.
Finally, press "Confirm" to end the installation process.
When you're ready to leave the house, say "Alexa, I'm leaving," and Alexa Guard will arm. When you come home tell Alexa "I'm at home" and Guard will disarm. You will receive messages on your phone when Guard is activated and turned off.
When you understand what Alexa Guard does, it's pretty powerful. Without having to buy glass breaking sensors or smart thermostats, you get on-going messages from your home. It does not solve every worst case scenario. But, if you are now using a monitored security system, it can give you some extra peace of mind.