How to Use Amazon Echo As a Home Security System

If you’re renting, you may not be able to install a traditional wired security system, and if you live in a small space, you probably won’t. Instead, consider building your own security system piece by piece with an Amazon Echo device as the basis of the operation. Amazon Alexa integrates with literally thousands of devices that enhance convenience and security, so you can choose the cameras, locks, lights and sensors you want, and then bring those skills to your Echo.

If you have anything below the Echo Plus that has more smart home features built in than other Amazon products, keep in mind that some Alexa skills can redirect your commands to a separate hub or bridge that communicates with your security devices. You connect your smart devices to a hub or bridge and then plug them into your Amazon Echo instead of pairing your smart devices directly with the Echo.

And while Amazon Echo Plus can serve as a smart hub, not all devices integrate seamlessly with it. If your smart home gadget requires a separate hub, you may have to say “Alex, ask Kevo to open my door” instead of “Alex, unlock my door.” For some devices, such as your Philips Hue bulbs, you will still want to use the Philips Hue Bridge to unleash their full potential (for example, to customize certain lighting scenes).

With that in mind, here are four ways Alexa can help protect your home.

Turn the light on and off

There is a way to enable Alexa in every room in your home , but perhaps the simplest and most useful smart home feature is voice control for lighting. We have Philips Hue lamps in our apartment and we haven’t had to turn on a switch for almost a year. It’s easier to say “Alexa, turn on the light in the hallway” than to look for a light switch or blindly run to the bathroom.

From a security standpoint, you can set up smart lighting to simulate normal operation when you’re out of town, making it seem like you are truly home to would-be burglars – and with the ability to remotely turn on and off lights, you never have to go to the city again. dark house.

To get started, simply replace your existing bulbs with Philips Hue bulbs in any number of bulbs and fixtures and connect the Philips Bridge to Alexa . From there, you can group specific light sources – multiple lamps in the bedroom or living room, as well as lamps in the hallway – and control brightness, color, and modes using the Alexa app, Philips Hue Skill, or IFTTT .

Procedures are especially helpful for safety when you are running late or on vacation. Automatic timers are one way to simulate your presence at home, but lights that turn on and off at the same time every day are a big sale. Hue Labs has a formula called Advanced Presence Simulation that turns the lights on when you usually come home from work and turn them off before bed – but at random to make the routine look more natural. This means that if you usually arrive around 5:00 pm, your lights may come on at 4:57 pm one evening and at 5:13 pm the next.

To set this up, you need to log into Hue Labs through the Philips Hue app (found under the Overview tab) or in your browser. From there, you can configure the formula to run for a specific date range, or when certain users are present or absent. To activate the procedure after setting the parameters, you can also say, “Alexa, turn on advanced presence simulation.”

A similar formula from Labs can simulate the light from your TV, so it looks like someone is watching Netflix at home.

Lock your front door

If you often worry that you forgot to lock your front door ( * raises his hand * ), a smart lock is one way to solve the problem. You can check the status of the door lock from your smartphone; remotely lock and unlock the door; and let your dog, delivery service, or friend inside when you’re not around. (They also may not have gone far enough in terms of security, so be aware of the pros and cons before ditching analog blocking .)

Several smart lock manufacturers, including Kwikset, Schlage, Yale, and August, are making devices that integrate with Alexa and voice commands. So, you could say, “Alexa, lock my front door” or “Alexa, is my front door locked?” and your Echo will connect to your device or respond with a status update – useful if you’re in the shower and suddenly can’t remember if you’ve locked your front door or not.

Kwikset’s Kevo gets high marks for being more versatile – you can use a regular key, fob or smartphone in addition to voice commands – and more secure than other smart lock models. Several Alexa skills are associated with Kevo .

August’s Smart Lock is popular because it works with your latch and key, perfect for renters who can’t make major changes to their devices. Here’s how to enable and use the August skill with Alexa and the August Connect Hub.

See with smart cameras

The best smart CCTV cameras allow you to watch live broadcasts of your home or apartment – inside, outside, or both – when you are not there; have any motion or sound detection functions; and let you scream from afar at intruders, your family members or pets.

Amazon’s own cloud camera is just one of many smart cameras that work well with Alexa, and if you use Amazon Key , Cloud Cam comes with a setup kit that also includes a smart lock. Amazon Key is a service that allows a courier to open your door and deliver packages to your home when you are not around, although you can watch the camera feed from your smartphone. Ring (which Amazon recently acquired ), Nest, Arlo, and Canary also provide a number of great Alexa-compatible alternatives.

These cameras also work well with Alexa devices, which include screens like the Echo Show and Echo Spot, as well as Fire TVs. You can view smart camera feeds with commands such as “Alexa, show me the front door camera,” a convenient way to confirm that you want to respond to this unexpected knock. If this feature is available on your camera, it will be built into the skill you use to communicate with that device.

Manage your entire home security system

Typically, home security systems combine devices such as cameras, motion detectors, and door alarms into one hub, and you can set up professional monitoring if you want a different pair of eyes and ears on your home in case of fire, flood, or break-in. … If you want to go the full system path, Alexa can connect to devices from companies like Scout or Vivint .

These systems are a little more complex than other options – for example, Vivint must be professionally installed. While some systems, including the Vivint, Scout and Simplisafe systems, have wireless cameras and sensors available to tenants, monitoring packages are usually required to use them. If you do decide you need an alarm system, use Alexa to get status updates, control individual devices, or get help with commands such as “Alexa, tell Scout to panic!”

Bottom line: your Echo and the devices it connects to can give you more information about what’s going on in your home without the need for a professionally installed system. This is not the same as complete home security, but it is a simple compromise to make your home or apartment more secure.


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