It's only available in the US so far, but Alexa Guard is a nifty feature that now works on virtually all Amazon Echo devices. It uses the Echo's microphones to listen constantly after you say "Alexa, I'm leaving" and will then alert you if it hears any noises that you should know about such as glass breaking or burglar alarms sounding.
When you get an alert, you can listen to the recorded 10-second clip and also ‘drop in’ to your Echo and listen live to hear what’s going on and decide if you need to rush home or get a neighbour to check on your property.
Guard can also work with compatible alarm systems from ADT and Ring which provide professional monitoring, allowing those services to receive Smart Alerts from Alexa and also arm your alarm when you leave home.
A third feature with Alexa Guard is the ability to automatically turn lights on and off to make it appear as if the home is occupied. It uses machine learning to work out the right time to switch lights on around your home. Naturally, this requires compatible smart home kit such as smart lights or switches that Alexa can control. Here’s a range of certified ‘Works with Alexa’ lights and switches.
Amazon recommends you place one Echo device in each room or space that you want to monitor, so the cynical among you will consider Guard simply a way for Amazon to sell more Echos. But if you already have a few around your home, Guard is a nice free extra feature.
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If you want to monitor any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, it’s a good idea to put an Echo at least on the same floor as them in your property.
How to enable Alexa Guard
Open the Alexa app and tap the three lines at the top left to open the main menu. From here, tap Settings and then look for Guard.
Tap it and follow the instructions to enable the feature. You can choose whether or not Alexa listens out for alarms or glass breaking and whether to use the Away Lighting feature or not.
The latter uses your location (via zip code in the US) to determine sunset and uses this along with the machine learning data to work out when lights should be turned on.
Then, when you’re the last person to leave home, just say “Alexa, I’m leaving”. The light ring will show a rotating white light, and any Echo Show will display a shield symbol to indicate that it is in Guard mode.
When the first person arrives back home, they should say “Alexa, I’m home” to disable Guard.
You can also toggle Guard on and off via the Alexa app by going into Settings > Guard and tapping the button at the top right to switch between Away and Home modes.
What if Alexa Guard isn’t available in my country?
Good question. We are hopeful Amazon will roll out the feature soon in other countries, but until then you are somewhat limited on how you can replicate Guard using Alexa Routines.
It’s relatively simple to get your smart lights to turn on in the evening, but not to get alerts when an alarm sounds.
The only real option is to buy a smart smoke / CO alarm such as the Nest Protect which will alert you when it sounds.
There are some burglar deterrent skills available, but none of them are brilliant. As they’re free, you can try them out and see if they’ll work for you.