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Amazon is turning the Echo into a security system

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Amazon is adding a few new features to the Echo that turn it into one of the basic pieces of a smart security system. Since Echo speakers are always listening, they’ll be able to start listening for the sound of broken glass, or for a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm to go off. If it hears those sounds while you’re out of the house, it’ll be able to send a notification to your phone; or, if you have a supported professional monitoring system, send it directly to the service monitoring your home.

The feature set is being called Alexa Guard. It won’t be working at all times — instead, you’ll have to enable it when you leave the house, by telling Alexa that you’re leaving. Once you do, it’ll start monitoring and be ready to send you alerts.

In addition to monitoring for sound, Alexa will also be able to randomize the lighting in your home if you have smart lights set up, to make it appear that someone is in the house and moving around. That’s one of the reasons many people invest in smart lights in the first place, and having a system capable of easily automating that makes taking advantage of smart lights much simpler. Amazon says it’s supposed to control the lighting in ways that “seem natural” using machine learning.

It sounds like Alexa Guard will also integrate with the many smart security products that Amazon now sells through the Ring and Blink brands, but exactly how far that’ll go wasn’t made clear in Amazon’s brief initial announcement — one thing Amazon did say is that setting Alexa into Guard mode will automatically tell your security system that you’re leaving the house, too. At launch, Amazon said the service will integrate with Ring for security products, as well as with ADT for professional monitoring.