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Alexa’s getting better at detecting potential home or apartment break-ins when you’re not around. During an event today in Seattle, Amazon introduced a new and improved Alexa Guard, the Alexa feature that sends users notifications when Echo smart speakers hear the sound of breaking glass or a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm. Now, Alexa Guard can detect human activity when it’s in Away Mode, and it can be added to Routines.

“We’ve been working on the science training the local model to understand what sounds are correlated with different activities, so … Alexa can notify you when she detected the likelihood of activity in your home,” wrote Amazon in a press release, adding that Guard integrates with Ring and ADT so that alerts can be simultaneously sent to a security provider.

Amazon previously said it trained machine learning models on hundreds of sound samples of glass breaking, which it compiled from contractors. It’s unclear what sort of data set was used for the human activity detection, but we’ll update this post once we learn more.

As before, saying a command like “Alexa, I’m leaving” immediately transitions your Echo devices into Guard Mode with a few smart alerts that, if detected, send a notification to your phone. With the new Routines integration, Guard will also lock any doors with compatible smart locks, and it can randomize compatible lights when you’re away to make it appear as if you’re there.

It’s easy as ever to set up Alexa Guard, which began rolling out to Echo devices late last year. Here’s how:

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  • Tap the menu button on the top left.
  • Select Settings.
  • Select Guard.
  • Tap Set up Guard.
  • Tap Add to detect smart smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, activate smart lighting, and enable smart alerts fo broken glass and human activity.
  • Enter your zip code, so smart lighting knows when to turn on.
  • Tap Confirm.


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