Free Alexa Guard may save your home…and lives

Free Alexa Guard may save your home…and lives

While I haven’t seen much mainstream coverage on it, Amazon has rolled out something which I think may significantly affect American society.

Sound like hyperbole?

Maybe a little. 🙂 Whenever I feel that sure about something, I always have to check myself…the odds are I’m over or under estimating whatever it is.

Let me tell you about it, what I think, and why I think it may make such a big difference.

Last year, Amazon introduced

Alexa Guard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s not hardware: if you already have a compatible Alexa device, there is nothing to buy.

It’s not a subscription service: no monthly fees.

It’s just a feature you can activate on your Alexa devices.

What does it do?

It listens…for danger.

If your device hears something it thinks is a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, or breaking glass, it will send you an alert on your phone.

That’s just one of the main features (and the only one I activated), but that, by itself may matter…a lot.

When it accurately alerts you, you may be able to save the lives of your pets…or of a bedridden relative. Fires that start in one house or apartment often spread to other homes.

Sound good (when something sounds bad)? 😉

To activate it, just go to your Alexa app – Settings and tap Guard. Then follow the prompts.

You can turn Guard on and off there, or do it by saying, “Alexa, I’m leaving,” and then “Alexa, I’m home.”

I honestly think this could have a statistical impact on both property and life loss…and that it may be seen within two years.

I could see insurance companies offering you an Alexa device, or giving you a discount for having them. It would be an easy way to mitigate losses.

Now, sure, there are possibly some negatives.

Amazon will know when you are saying the house is empty. Imagine what could happen if someone with malicious intent gets that information, either through hacking or “employee theft”?

Thieves may attack your internet first….pulling down outside wires, for example. Since they won’t know if you have an Alexa device or not, that might become a routine thing.

It could lead to false confidence, which might make people less careful about other kinds of precautions…maybe even leaving kids home alone when it isn’t safe.

False positives could also be annoying.

I assume, though, that the good will far outweigh the bad, depending on how accurate it is.

What else can it do?

You can have it turn your lights on and off (if you are set up for that), to mimic your habits and make thieves think you are home. It did sound like it would be learning what you are doing…some people may not be comfortable with that. I have used Alexa to turn lights on and off when we were on vacation: this would do it automatically.

Additionally, it will integrate with your alarm system…not just Amazon’s own Ring, but ADT, sending them alerts for their evaluation.

Oh, and if you have an Echo Show or Spot, you could, of course, look into your house yourself when you get an alert.

What do you think? Am I missing something here? Do you think people’s privacy concerns will outweigh their perception of the potential benefits? Will this increase Alexa sales? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Related article from this week:

Smile! You’re on Amazon’s Neighbors app

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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