According to the Consumer Technology Association, 31% of U.S. homes now have a smart speaker, up from just 8% three years ago. It's not surprising given how useful a smart speaker can become in everyday life. And, it's a technology that everyone can access, including the very young and very old. Amazon is now making its Alexa-enable Echo devices (starting at $49.99 on Amazon) even more useful with Alexa Guard, a home monitoring skill that will let you know if something goes awry while you're away from home.
When you enable the Alexa Guard skill on your Echo device, it will start listening for smoke and CO detector alarms and the sound of breaking glass. If Alexa thinks there has been an incident, you'll get a notification on your phone. And if you have a video-enable Echo — an Echo Spot ($129.99), Echo Show ($229.99) — you can access the camera on your device to see what's going on.
The Alexa Guard skill serves as more than juast a house sitter, though, if you have other smart home devices. If you have Philips Hue smart bulbs ($69.99, check price on Amazon), the Guard skill will make it look like people are home, switching lights on and off. And if you have a Ring Alarm ($199 for a 5-piece kit) or ADT security system (currently starting at $249 plus a $58 per month monitoring fee), you can arm the system by telling Alexa you're leaving. Both Ring Alarm, if you pay for the optional Ring Protect Plus monitoring service, and ADT can also receive notifications and audio of the event when your fire/CO detector goes off or glass breaks and dispatch emergency services to your home when warranted.
[Image credit: Amazon]