Amazon introduces Alexa Guard on Echo to help users with home security

Alexa can recite your Fitbit data to you.                  Tyler Lizenby  CNET

Alexa can recite your Fitbit data to you. Tyler Lizenby CNET

Amazon announced Tuesday it was rolling out the Alexa Guard feature on Echo devices to American consumers. But the basic functions it does provide will certainly help you keep an eye on your home when you're not there.

The feature allows owners of the product to choose whether they want the Echo's speakers to listen for any sounds while the user is away from home. If you have smart lights connected to your Echo devices, Alexa can turn them on and off to make it look like someone's home, but that and sound monitoring are the extent of Alexa Guard's capabilities when used on its own.

Remember that you'll need to activate Alexa Guard every time you leave the house by saying "Alexa, I'm leaving".

Scroll down and select the Guard option.

Using Alexa Guard doesn't require additional hardware, but it must be enabled within the Alexa app and then activated.

How does Alexa Guard work? Users can get automatic alerts when the device detects the sound of a smoke alarm, a carbon monoxide alarm, or glass breaking after you've told it that you're out of town. If it hears something like that, it can send out smart alerts with audio snippets for you to check. For example, Amazon says it worked with hundreds of contractors to break glass windows with different types of tools so Alexa Guard could better detect if someone is breaking one of your windows to gain access to your house. Besides the massive 10-inch HD screen, the second generation Echo Show features improved speakers and built-in smart home hub.

You'll obviously get much more functionality with a real home security system like Ring or Nest, but plenty of people already have Echos sitting around.

Alexa Guard probably can't serve as a total replacement for home security systems, as it's somewhat limited in what it can monitor.

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