Amazon rolled out Alexa Guard in the U.S. on Tuesday (May 14), enabling Echo speakers to listen for intruders and other dangers and alert users to them.
As reported by The Verge, Amazon had been testing Alexa Guard in an invite-only preview, and is now making it available to the masses. With the free update, the Echo speaker will listen for sounds such as the breaking of glass or a fire or C02 alarm going off. The speaker will send the user an audio clip of the sounds.
If the Echo speaker has a built-in camera, it will show a video feed into the user’s home, noted the report. With the update, the speaker can learn users’ daily routines and then automatically turn on the lights when they are not home to protect against intruders.
Alexa Guard isn’t designed to alert authorities, nor is Amazon touting it as a security system replacement. It is more aimed at giving Alexa and the Echo speaker another way to stand out from its rivals.
While the free feature won’t bring direct profits to Amazon, it does underscore how the company is approaching its Echo smart speaker and the resulting popularity. Amazon is continuously adding new skills to Alexa to appeal to consumers. According to a recent analysis by Digital Trends, Alexa is found in more than 60,000 smart home devices from 7,400 companies, which is up from just 12,000 devices a year earlier. The number of products that support Alexa has grown 200 percent in the past three quarters, noted the report.
In January, Amazon’s SVP of Devices and Services Dave Limp told The Verge that more than 100 million Alexa-integrated devices have been sold so far, which trumps the number of phones that have Siri or Google Assistant pre-installed. With the Alexa devices, consumers chose to purchase Alexa as opposed to getting it preinstalled.