How Alexa Can Help You Scare Off burglars from your home

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You may think of Alexa for many tasks, such as giving you the weather forecast, answering questions about nearly anything on the Internet, playing music, getting daily news updates, checking your calendar and more.

But now with a brand new skill Alexa may be able to help you scare away burglars from your home. Away Mode is a free Alexa skill from Hippo Insurance, an insurance company that has an incentive to keep homes safe from burglars.

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What Away Mode Is

Away Mode is an Alexa skill that plays conversations from an Echo device. The idea is that burglars, thinking they’re breaking into an empty home, will hear people talking. The conversations played in Away Mode will fool burglars into thinking that people are at home. The burglars will then be scared off, even though the voices are really coming from an Echo speaker instead of from people inside the home.

Seven different conversations are available, so you can choose the one that you think would be most likely to fool a burglar into thinking you’re at home:

  • Mom walks daughter through assembling an Ikea dresser
  • A stay-at-home mom who just can’t deal any more
  • Book club meeting where everything but the book is discussed
  • Couple has a break up while also trying to watch TV
  • Passionate argument over rules of complicated board game
  • Two average guys brainstorm what’s unique about themselves so they can start a podcast about it
  • Emergency PTA meeting about memes, fidget spinners and other teen fads

You can listen to audio samples of the Away Mode conversations at the Away Mode website.

What’s fun about this skill is that the Away Mode conversations were written by comedy writers from Saturday Night Live and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. (Of course, you wouldn’t want the conversations to be too amusing, lest you entertain the burglars rather than scare them off…)

This video shows how Away Home works and its potential to fool burglars into thinking someone is nearby:

The conversations run an average of an hour long, so you might want to use these for a trip to the grocery store, as opposed to a week-long vacation. Oh, and don’t rely totally on Away Mode to secure your house. You should still lock your windows and doors, and place a “Beware of Ferocious Dog†sign on your property.

How to Use Away Mode

To use this skill go to the Away Mode Alexa skill on Amazon and enable it. Then, before you leave home say, “Alexa, Away Mode.†Alexa will let you know that Away Mode is starting with one of the conversations.

You can ask Alexa to skip ahead to choose a different conversation. Say, “Alexa, stop†if you want to end the conversation.

Other Ways to Use Alexa to Scare Off Burglars

In addition to using the Away Mode skill, you can use other Alexa skills to fool burglars into thinking someone is home.

Ask Alexa to read an Audible audiobook aloud. While the audiobook probably won’t sound like a conversation, burglars might be scared off by hearing the narrator’s voice. Note that with Whispersync, Audible will remember the place where Alexa stopped reading. So don’t ask Alexa to read aloud a book you’re currently reading, otherwise you’ll lose your place in the book.

If you have an Echo Show or Spot, you can ask Alexa to play a video from Amazon Video. The sound will last the duration of the video and burglars may be fooled into thinking someone is at home watching TV.

If you have Drop In enabled, you can use your own voice to have a conversation that’s played by Echo in your house. With an Echo Show or Spot you could even see rooms inside your home using the Echo camera to check whether an intruder is inside.

Your Thoughts

Do you like the idea of using Alexa to scare off a burglar from your home? Which conversations would be most realistic for your home? What new features would you like Away Mode to offer?

Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!

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