Put Burglars on ‘Away Mode’ using Alexa

You remember that scene in the movie Home Alone where Kevin uses stringed props, lots of lights, and loud music to keep burglars away, right?

Well, Amazon’s Alexa-enabled smart speakers (Echo, Echo Dot) has a new skill called “Away Mode” that can do a much better job keeping those baddies out of your home.

Remember Amazon is also trying to help you keep thieves from swiping your deliveries as well by securing your front door so it’s not a surprise to see this expansion in Amazon’s home security offerings. 

This new skill was created by Hippo Insurance, a San Francisco-based home insurance company. Users of the skill can utilize seven different scenarios to simulate activity in the house. Titles of these scenarios include Bookclub Meeting Where Everything But the Book is Discussed, Emergency PTA Meeting to Discuss Fidget Spinners, and Other Teen Fads” and “Two Average Guys Brainstorm What’s Unique About Themselves So They Can Start a Podcast About It.”

These simulations were written by writers from various comedy clubs as well as the television shows Saturday Night Live, THe Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Of course, the developers get some credit here too. Hippo did a good job balancing user ease with security. Burglars can try to research this skill to know what sound themes to listen for, but I doubt they have that much time to sift through them all as each one is about an hour long.

Users only have to complete two steps to enable the “Away Mode” skill on Alexa-enabled smart speakers.

Enable the skill on your Amazon account.  Follow this link: https://amzn.to/2KIMdte and click on the Enable button.


Or open the Alexa app on your smartphone. Tap the three-line menu bar.


Choose Skills.


Search for Away Mode and then choose Enable.

Tell Alexa to “Enable Away Mode.”

Alexa will say “In five seconds, I will start playing a random extended audio track that will make it sound like someone insufferable is home.”

Users can even entertain themselves (or create a new endurance test) by listening to these “lengthy and awkward audio tracks to ward off unwanted visitors from your home.”

That’s it. Hopefully, future customization options and even notification via the Alexa app will be available.

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