Analysis: Alexa can now arm some home security systems — including Amazon’s Ring Alarm

© Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

By Sean Hollister, The Verge

You would think that Amazon’s Ring home security system and Amazon’s Echo smart speakers would intelligently work together, right? You’d be mostly wrong — but today, the company is taking another small step towards tying them together by letting you arm, disarm, and check the status of some Ring, ADT, Honeywell, Abode, and Scout security systems just by asking Alexa to do so. 

And since I recently bought a Ring Alarm for my own house — Dan convinced me with his review — I decided to give the new functionality a spin. 

It’s a pretty simple integration, honestly. You install the Ring skill from the Skill Store in your Alexa app, make sure Alexa can see your alarm system, and then you can use the following commands (in the United States):

  • Alexa, arm Ring
  • Alexa, set Ring to Home / Away
  • Alexa, is Ring armed?
  • Alexa, disarm Ring

It’s a little bit easier than flipping open the Ring app, waiting for it to connect to the Alarm base station and tapping a button, but only by a little, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to even tell which of your door or window sensors has been tripped.

Mind you, the disarm command only works if you explicitly enable it in the skill’s settings page and also say your pin — which makes sense, because you wouldn’t want a burglar just shouting “ALEXA, DISARM RING” from outside your home before they break in.

Amazon announced today that it’s opening up its Security Panel Controller API to other device manufacturers as well, so you can probably expect that list of supported alarms to expand. 

Amazon’s also rolling out an invite-only preview of its Alexa Guard feature today, which gives Alexa the ability to listen for a glass window breaking, or a smoke alarm blaring, and alert you right away. That’d come in handy for Ring owners too, because Ring doesn’t offer window break sensors yet. 

If you want to sign up for notifications about when you can try Alexa Guard, too, you’ll find that in the Alexa App > Settings > Guard > Notify Me When Available.

I’d be negligent if I didn’t point out there are a couple other, limited ways that Ring can work with Amazon’s voice assistant today. You can ask Alexa to show your Ring Doorbell’s video feed on an Echo Show or Fire TV (which isn’t a Ring exclusive feature) and you can use an Echo as an extra doorbell chime as well.

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item News | Breaking News, US News, World News: Analysis: Alexa can now arm some home security systems — including Amazon’s Ring Alarm
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