Virtual assistants are a wonderful invention. From giving you directions and cooking instructions, it can also tell you about the weather, the weekend’s sports scores and more.
In some cases, they can even help you make that sweet cup of coffee first thing in the morning. To get the attention of Amazon’s Alexa, you need to use the wake word. If you don’t explicitly ask for her undivided devotion, she’ll remain silent and dormant.
But that has all changed now, as Amazon has given the Echo an extra pair of ears to be on the listen for anything strange in the neighborhood. She might just call Ghostbusters if needed.
Here’s the backstory
No, Amazon Echo devices didn’t just magically sprout an extra pair of microphones to listen to what’s going on in the neighborhood, but it’s close. Through a software update rolled out recently, the device can now listen for certain sounds other than your chosen wakeup phrase.
This is handy when you aren’t at home, in a different room from your baby, or can’t hear the dog barking at a stranger at the door. It works on the same principle when Alexa Guard is paired with Ring Alarms.
Alexa can detect a baby crying, a dog barking, smoke and fire alarms, breaking glass or even someone coughing or snoring. For now, there are no preset templates for how Alexa should respond to each sound trigger, so that will be up to you to set up.
Here’s how set up Alexa’s Sound Detection mode
For example, if you want Alexa to keep an ear on your sleeping baby for any crying, you can set it up in the following manner. We must stress that you should never rely solely on Alexa as a babysitter.
- Open the Alexa app and tap the More menu
- Select Routines.
- Tap on the plus sign near the top of the scren
- Tap the plus sign next to Enter routine name to create a name.
- In the section When this happens, tap Sound Detection, then Baby Crying.
- Tap Continue and choose which Alexa-enabled device should listen. Select Next.
- To select what happens, tap Add action, then tap Messaging then Notification.
- Enter what message should be displayed when the sound is triggered.
The same process could be followed when a barking dog is detected. The Routines also can broadcast an announcement throughout your home if you have more than one Alexa-enabled device in use.
By exploring all the options, it is possible to play soft music when a baby is crying or alert another person when breaking glass or barking dogs are detected.