One of the coolest and possibly the most helpful Alexa skill: protecting your home from intruders.
Amazon has sold over 30 million Alexa devices over the last few years which means the smart home gadgets are in millions of homes. Alexa owners love these little gadgets to get quick answers to trivia questions, the weather forecast, play music and games. But you may not know that Alexa can help protect your home from burglars.
That’s right. Alexa can provide just enough security to scare would-be burglars from entering an empty home.
I’ve found several Alexa skills that enable an Echo, Echo Tap, Echo Dot or Echo Show to simulate the sounds of a group of people or barking dogs. Yes, it’s sort of a “Home Alone” trick used by little Kevin in the Disney movie of the same name.
Here’s how it works:
You’ll first need to enable the skill within the Alexa app. One skill is called “Guard Dog” and once enabled you only need to say “Alexa, tell Guard Dog to Guard”. Within a second or two a group of barking (you might even say angry) dogs start yapping and growling loud enough to scare away anyone who’s either passing your door in a hallway or knocking on the front or back door. This should be effective but could also be rather annoying if you have neighbors within earshot as the dogs will continue to bark until you tell Alexa to ‘stop’. I wouldn’t recommend using the Guard Dog skill when you’re away from home at work but I can see how it would be helpful if you’re alone at home and hear noises outside.
Burglar Deterrent is another home security skill and this one simulates the sounds of someone inside your home. If you have an Alexa device in the kitchen you can summon the skill by saying “Alexa, ask Burglar Deterrent to protect the kitchen.”
The device will start playing sounds of someone washing dishes, cleaning off the table, running water, turning on the microwave and making human sounds such as coughing. The sound plays on a loop and does not stop until you ask Alexa to “stop”.
Burglar Deterrent also has sounds of a home office, bedroom, TV room with audio of people talking and watching TV. It gives the appearance that someone is in the house and would be less annoying than a pack of barking dogs.
Finally, Away Mode is another home security skill that was released by an insurance company. This one is similar to Burglar Deterrent but the audio was written by some of Hollywood’s comedy writers from the show “It’s Always Sunny” and “SNL”. You’ll hear two people talking about a podcast and other witty conversations.
These home security skills are free and available to enable on all Alexa devices. Pretty clever.