DIY home security systems have proven popular with homeowners as you don't need a professional to install them, yet you can still opt for professional monitoring. Amazon's new Alexa Guard Plus turns your Echo smart speakers into security devices, listening for signs of trouble, and then contacting emergency services if the need arises.
While not as comprehensive as the best DIY home security systems, Alexa Guard Plus represents Amazon's first steps into a new area of service. And at $50/year, it's the cheapest professional monitoring service around.
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Alexa Guard Plus is essentially a beefier version of the existing Alexa Guard. When activated, it uses the microphones in your Alexa speakers to listen for the sound of glass breaking or a smoke alarm, and alerts you if it hears anything. It can also turn your smart lights on and off randomly when you're not at home, to make it seem as if someone is present.
Alexa Guard Plus adds a few more features: It can listen for more sounds, such as footsteps, doors opening, or babies crying, and sound a siren or make dog barking noises from your Alexa speakers. It can also be linked to other smart home devices, such as cameras from Ring, Blink, Arlo, and August, which can also trigger an event.
If you happen to be at home and need assistance, you can say "Alexa, call for help," and you'll be connected to emergency services through Amazon's emergency call center.
Alexa Guard Plus will cost $4.99/month or $50/year, which makes it the least expensive professional monitoring service; Ring Alarm, which is owned by Amazon, is $100/year. If you have Ring Protect Plus or Abode Pro ($200/year), you'll get Alexa Guard Plus at no additional cost. Amazon said that Alexa Guard Plus will also work with Scout Alarm, Resideo, A3 Smart Home, and Wyze, though terms of those deals have not been announced.
However, there are two things to consider: Alexa Guard Plus currently doesn't have as many features or accessories as other DIY home security systems. For instance, there's no keypad, water leak sensors, or security fobs, which have become pretty standard in these kits. But Amazon looks to lure in homeowners who already have Alexa devices with a very attractive subscription.
Also, Alexa Guard Plus doesn't proactively call emergency services if there's a fire or anything like that; the homeowner has to initiate the call, which goes to Rapid Response Monitoring Services, the company Amazon is using for its Emergency Helpline.
Alexa Guard Plus will launch later this year.