Amazon’s Alexa Guard Plus subscription service is now live in the US. The company unveiled Guard Plus back in September as a paid option for those who want the extra features that come with the premium version of its free Guard service. While the basic Guard feature can already turn Echo smart speakers and displays into home security devices, its premium version takes things a step further by giving subscribers hands-free access to emergency services and giving Alexa the power to deter intruders from breaking in.
Customers who pay for a subscription will be able to ask Alexa to call Emergency Helpline for them to request medical, fire or police assistance. The service also gives Alexa the capability to detect sounds of activity in the house if its residents are away and to sound a siren from Echo devices if it does. Alexa could also play the sounds of dogs barking from the speakers if connected outdoor security cameras detect motion outside the door. Everyone can try Guard Plus for a month without having to pay for anything, but it will cost $5 a month or $49 a year after the trial period ends.
In addition to Guard Plus, Amazon has also rolled out a couple of other Alexa features. First is Energy Dashboard, which can tell users how much energy their Alexa-connected smart home devices consume. The other is Proactive Hunches, which as its name implies, allows Alexa to act based on a user’s previous actions without asking for permission. Alexa could, for instance, adjust the thermostat, turn down the water heater or turn on the robot vacuum if the user is away from home. Both new features are now also live in the US and accessible through the Alexa app.