Amazon is introducing charges for previously free features of Alexa Guard, a security service included with Echo devices. This move follows a trend where Amazon has been putting certain functionalities behind paywalls, similar to what they did with some Ring alarm system features a few months ago.
Alexa Guard, which originally came as a free standard feature on Echo devices, is undergoing changes. The Verge reports that Amazon is discontinuing Alexa Guard, but some core features will remain free of charge. These include Home and Away modes, which allow users to arm and disarm a Ring Alarm system, and Away Lighting, a feature that activates smart lights to create the illusion of occupancy at home.
However, to access certain functions, you’ll now need to subscribe to the new Emergency Assist service. Amazon is placing charges on Alexa Guard’s smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) alarm detection capabilities. Additionally, users who want Alexa to listen for the sound of breaking glass, indicating a possible intruder, will also need to pay for a subscription.
There’s a silver lining for Ring Protect Pro members who linked their Ring and Alexa accounts before September 20. They will receive an Alexa Emergency Assist membership at no extra cost until October 31 of the following year. Unfortunately, the Guard Plus subscription, which added extra features to Alexa Guard for a monthly or annual fee, is no longer available for purchase. It used to be included with a Ring Protect Pro plan.
As for the pricing of Alexa Emergency Assist, it currently stands at $6 per month or $59 per year. However, this is labeled as an introductory price, valid for all users until January 8. After that date, non-Prime subscribers will need to pay an additional fee for Emergency Assist. Much like Guard Plus, Alexa Emergency Assist enables users to call emergency services using voice commands on an Echo device.
This move by Amazon signifies a shift towards monetizing certain aspects of their smart home ecosystem, which might impact users who have come to rely on these free security features.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Alexa Guard Subscription
What is Alexa Guard, and what did it offer for free?
Alexa Guard was a free security feature included with Echo devices. It offered functions like listening for alarms and intruders when you weren’t at home.
What core Alexa Guard features will still be free?
Some core features of Alexa Guard, such as Home and Away modes for Ring Alarm systems and Away Lighting (which simulates your presence with smart lights), will remain free.
What features of Alexa Guard will require a subscription?
With the introduction of the Emergency Assist service, you’ll need a subscription to access features like smoke and carbon monoxide alarm detection, as well as the ability to detect the sound of breaking glass, indicating a possible intruder.
Are there any benefits for Ring Protect Pro members?
Ring Protect Pro members who linked their Ring and Alexa accounts before September 20 will receive an Alexa Emergency Assist membership at no additional cost until October 31 of the following year.
What is the cost of the Alexa Emergency Assist subscription?
Currently, the Alexa Emergency Assist subscription is priced at $6 per month or $59 per year. However, this is considered an introductory price, which will be valid for all users until January 8. After that date, non-Prime subscribers will face an additional fee for Emergency Assist.
What functionality does Alexa Emergency Assist provide?
Alexa Emergency Assist allows users to call emergency services using voice commands on an Echo device, enhancing home security and safety.