What is Alexa Guard and How Does It Work?

Alexa Guard: What Is It And How Does It Work?

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Alexa Guard is yet another example of Amazon’s ability to integrate seamless convenience into our daily lives. If you’re a homeowner concerned with home security or simply a tech-geek looking to experiment with the latest smart home trends – you might want to give this feature a test drive.

Providing a well-rounded set of home monitoring functions, this skill checks all the right boxes for those considering self-monitored home security. Aside from self-monitoring, Alexa Guard also integrates with some existing security systems. In fact, it is most effective in conjunction with a traditional alarm.

In this article, we take a look at what Alexa Guard is, what it has to offer, and the steps you need to take to reap the benefits of this awesome technology.

What Is Alexa Guard?

Alexa Guard is a home security feature from Amazon, specifically designed for those who use Alexa-enabled smart speakers. It is compatible with a host of smart home and security devices, which it can use to monitor your home, trigger alarms, and send you alerts.

Alexa Guard offers much-needed hands-free access to an emergency helpline when you’re home and acts as an extra pair of eyes and ears for your house to keep it safe while you are away or asleep.

What Exactly Does Alexa Guard Do?

Once you’ve Alexa Guard on your Amazon Echo device, Alexa starts listening for suspicious sounds that may indicate a threat to your home. This includes sounds of glass breaking, footsteps, a door closing or even your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm going off.

As soon as any unusual sound is detected, Alexa will promptly send you a Smart Alert through which you can listen to the sound that triggered the response. You may then assess whether it is really a security breach and contact emergency services accordingly. The alerts go directly to the Alexa app on your phone.

Not only can you listen to the clip that triggered the alert through the app, but you can also use the “Drop In” feature to remotely listen to the sound through your Amazon Echo speaker in real time.

In addition to this, you can pair Alexa Guard with your smart lights. This would enable it to automatically turn the lights on or off in order to make it seem like someone is home. This nifty little trick can go a long way in deterring possible intruders, giving you more time to take the necessary actions.

The one thing that Guard cannot do, however, is contact emergency services. This can be navigated, though, by configuring it to send Smart Alerts to your smart home security system provider, who can then contact your local authorities. Pairing it with your pre-existing smart home security system can yield the best results and give you and your family that extra layer of protection.

Note: In a lot of ways, people are finding it better to self-monitor their home security systems now. With today’s technology, you can be alerted immediately on your smartphone and then decide whether action needs to be taken. This can prevent false alarms, which can occur more frequently than actual emergencies.

Alexa Guard Plus

While the basic version of Alexa Guard is totally free of cost, you can get a more complete experience with a few extra perks by signing up for Alexa Guard Plus. This is a premium subscription that brings in a few more features.

Guard Plus gives you access to a 24×7 emergency helpline. This service fully supports hands-free calling and is staffed by trained agents who will be at your disposal year-round. In the event of an emergency, you may speak with these agents who would then proceed to contact emergency responders.

The noise detection feature is also much improved in Guard Plus, enabling it to pick up even the slightest sounds. One stand-out feature is its ability to play sounds such as a siren or a dog barking when triggered as a deterrent. This would hopefully be effective in keeping possible intruders from breaking and entering.

If set to Away Mode, Guard Plus does a great job at listening for sounds that are uncharacteristic of an empty house, sending you a notification as soon as it hears something out of the ordinary.

Alexa Guard Plus comes with a month of free trial, after the expiration of which you will be charged $4.99 per month if you do choose to sign up further.

Alexa Guard VS Alexa Guard Plus At A Glance

Guard
(Free)
Guard Plus
Deterrent Features
Activates A Siren When Activity Is DetectedX
Makes The Sound Of A Dog Barking To Deter VisitorsX
Automatically Turn Lights On And Off
Notifications
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Notification When Glass Is Broken
Notification When Other Sound Activity Is DetectedX

Enabling Alexa Guard

You can enable Alexa Guard following a few simple steps:

  • Open the Alexa app on your smartphone.
  • Select More which is depicted as a three-line icon on your bottom, right-hand side.
  • Tap on Settings.
  • Scroll to the bottom and select the Guard option.
  • Click the Set Up Sound Detection option at the bottom of your screen.

Follow the guided navigation to set up the Smart Alerts that you would want to receive. You will be asked to grant permission for your Echo device to detect and report various sounds such as glass breaking, smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, and so on.

  • Tap the Add button to set up these functions.

You will then be led to a confirmation screen displaying the features that you have opted for.

  • Select the Confirm button which will appear at the bottom of your screen to finalize the setup.

Once the app shows that the setup is complete, tap on Done and you are all set to use your Alexa Guard.

Alexa Guard Commands

Once you have finalized your setup, you can control your Alexa Guard using these voice commands:

  • In order to activate Guard mode, just say “Alexa, I’m leaving,” as you leave the house.
  • To switch to Home Mode, just say “Alexa, I’m home,” as you walk in the door.
  • Alexa Guard Plus members can contact an emergency helpline by saying “Alexa, call for help.”

Thanks to semantic parsing, you can use alternative commands as well, such as “I’m going out” to activate Away Mode or “I’ve returned” to switch back to Home Mode.

Of course, you may also go to the Guard screen in the app and manually change from Home to Away, or vice versa.

When leaving, alexa will say “Goodbye, I’ll start guarding now.”

When returning home, Alexa Guard will say “Ok, I’ve stopped guarding your home.”

Editor’s Note: For accurate and reliable operation, it is recommended to have at least one compatible Echo device in every space you want Guard to monitor. Keeping your Echo devices in close proximity to fire alarms, CO detectors, smoke detectors, and glass barriers can also help improve reliability.

Alexa Guard Not Available?

If you are experiencing problems with Alexa Guard, there are a few things you should check:

  1. Make sure your place of residence is on the list of the supported countries.
    • Guard is already available in over 40 countries and the list is expanding quickly.
  2. Make sure that you have the latest version of the Alexa app.
    • If you haven’t already, update to the latest version.
  3. See if your Echo device is connected to your app.
    • Remember that Alexa Guard requires at least one compatible Echo device in the home. Echo Companion devices such as the Echo Auto, the Echo Look, and the Echo Tap are not compatible with Guard.
  4. Check the account that you’re logged into.
    • If you’ve previously set things up under your spouse’s account, for instance, and are now logged into your own account – that’s a problem.

Alexa Guard Dog

Alexa Guard Plus includes a Guard Dog feature that, when enabled, is used to scare off intruders. It can simulate the sound of a barking dog when activity is detected. Alexa Guard can also sound a siren for the same purpose.

This out-of-the-box idea is more than a party trick though and can be surprisingly effective if someone is about to break into your house. The sound of a barking dog is said to be the best intruder deterrent aside from having a visible security camera.

If you are subscribed to Alexa Guard Plus, you can activate the Guard Dog feature inside the Settings menu.

If you are looking for an alternative and do not have a Guard Plus subscription, you can try the Guard Dog skill from Voice Apps LLC can play a variety of dog sounds including snarling, barking, and growling. I will say that, upon testing, it does seem like this is only an option for use while at home. As of the writing of this article, it can only be activated by voice, unlike the Guard Dog feature from Alexa Guard.

Then of course, you could just get a real dog. The care and maintenance involved is a little pricier and more time consuming though. Also, Alexa has never had an accident on my carpet…

Other Alexa Home Security Skills

The skills store has several Alexa skills directly related to home security that you can use to enhance protection around your home. In most cases, these also require specific home security hardware to work properly.

A good example is Ring devices, one of the most popular smart home security solutions currently in the market. If you own a Ring device, like a Ring Camera or a Ring Doorbell, you can use the Ring skills in the skills store to directly integrate it into your Alexa app. You would then be able to monitor and control these devices directly from your phone using the Alexa app or through a set of voice commands using your Echo devices. If you have an Echo device with a display, like the Echo Show, you can also use that to see a live feed from your cameras on demand.

Are Ring Doorbells Worth it? Check out this article to learn more.

Another great area to explore is the realm of smart home security systems that feature DIY installation and professional monitoring. A lot of popular security systems from this category come with their own Alexa skills to facilitate easy operation. A great example is the range of products from Abode, which lets you choose between self-monitoring and professional third-party monitoring.

There is a whole host of Alexa-compatible security devices you can install in your home, including smart door locks, cameras, lights, switches, and dimmers. If you then install the Abode Alexa skill, all of these can be controlled via the Alexa app or voice commands. From there, you can self-monitor for free, or sign up for additional premium service components like cellular backup and professional security monitoring with monthly or annual packages.

In fact, a lot of popular smart home security brands have similar options. Products from acclaimed brands like SimpliSafe, ADT, Cove, and Vivint all have associated Alexa skills that can make these products a lot easier to use.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Conclusion

While some people might still prefer a dedicated, professional smart home security solution, Alexa Guard gives you some notable home security features out of the box. Alexa Guard is easy to set up, performs reliably, and can be enjoyed for free. You can, of course, opt for the added features and functionality and subscribe to the Guard Plus plan.

With people all over the world waking up to the charm of smart home security systems and the peace of mind they can provide, Alexa Guard is definitely an innovation worth having in your home. It’s also one area where the Alexa platform offers significantly more features and value than other competing solutions such as Google Assistant and Siri by Apple.

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