Alexa is now the master of your home security system — but only if you want it to be, of course. Amazon today announced a new API for its handy voice assistant — aptly named the Security Panel Controller API — which allows customers to control connected alarms, cameras, and more with voice commands.
The capabilities were first detailed at an Amazon event in September. They’re broadly available in the U.S. starting today and work with products from providers like ADT, Ring, Honeywell, Abode, and Scout Alarm.
Systems that implement the Security Panel Controller API let you arm, disarm, and query status with Alexa-enabled devices, Brian Crum, senior product manager at Amazon, explained in a blog post. Arming a system’s as easy as saying “Alexa, arm [device name] in [mode type] mode” or “Alexa, arm.” (If you don’t specify a mode, it’ll default to “stay” or “home” mode.) To disarm it, say “Alexa, disarm [device name]” or “Alexa, disarm.”
To get the disarm command up and running, you’ll first have to enable the disarm-by-voice feature. To do so, launch the Alexa app on your smartphone (iOS or Android) or PC, navigate to the settings page, and choose between one of two options: providing your security system’s four-digit PIN code or creating an Alexa-specific voice code. Once you’ve completed that step, you’re golden.
Security Panel Controller API builds on Amazon’s Alexa Guard, a forthcoming alert feature that sends notifications to your phone when an Amazon Echo speaker detects the sound of breaking glass or of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm. Alexa Guard can also randomize the lights in your home when you’re away to make it appear as though you’re there and integrate with Ring and ADT so that alerts are sent to a security company.
Its debut also follows on the heels of a bevy of new Alexa features, including the ability to set location-based routines and reminders, discover and call local businesses and restaurants via voice requests, sift through multiple email inboxes for important messages, and more. Just last week, Amazon’s Alexa team launched a self-learning system that “detects the defects in Alexa’s understanding and automatically recovers from these errors” without the need for human intervention, and a dialogue-driven music playlist feature that allows users to find new playlists through voice.
Also last week, Amazon debuted Alexa Answers, a feature that lets customers tackle uncommon questions by submitting answers that may be distributed to millions of Alexa users around the world.