ADT Makes History: Disarm Security System Via Amazon Alexa Voice
CES 2017: How ADT convinced Amazon to allow voice-based disarming for security; also, new ADT Canopy security partners revealed, including LG Smart Security, powered by Zonoff.
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Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service can now be used to control door locks and security systems by voice; however, the service so far has disabled the “disarm” and “unlock” features, lest strangers (including the TV or the radio) open the place up to uninvited guests.
At CES 2017, however, ADT announced the ability to disarm its Pulse security and home automation system using Alexa. Instead of saying, “Alexa, disarm security system,” the user calls out a PIN number to the speech-recognition engine, which then prompts the security system to disarm.
That will have to do until Alexa gets smart enough to recognize certain voices, including those who might have access to the security system.
Will we see this solution for other devices like locks and alarm systems? Probably not soon. CE Pro has learned that ADT had to jump through some hoops with Amazon and their respective legal teams to enable this feature. (Clarification #2: While other security systems routinely allow disable commands through Alexa Skills, ADT is the only one to work with Amazon for a sanctioned implementation, specifically one that includes an extra layer of security).
In other ADT/Alexa news, the security provider next month will become an Amazon Echo distributor, so “we’ll be stocking them in 4,000 trucks,” says Robert Moore, director, Product Platforms and Services at ADT.
New Canopy Partners Announced
Last year at CES, ADT announced Canopy, an API that allows third-party devices to exploit ADT’s professional alarm-response services.
For people who don’t need or want a complete security system with pro monitoring (typically $25-$35 per month), they still might want emergency response for a fire, for example. So companies like Kidde have implemented Canopy in its smoke detectors.
Other companies promising Canopy-enabled devices last year included Wink, SmartThings, Roost, August and Ring, but it seems those implementations have not yet materialized.
The first Canopy-enabled device appears to be LG’s new Smart Security system, announced in 2015 but finally shipping now.
The device has on-board HD camera and home automation through Z-Wave. There's also a ZigBee radio, which will be enabled later this month.*
Here are the services offered through Canopy, according to an LG press release:
LG Smart Security customers have the option of two ADT Canopy services: Intrusion Detection and Secure Video Storage. Intrusion Detection delivers 24/7 professional security monitoring and will alert emergency personnel when an alarm is triggered if the camera detects video motion, and it offers the capability to remotely arm or disarm the security device from anywhere. Once the alarm is received, ADT will call the user via phone for verification and if nobody answers, ADT will dispatch first-responders. With Secure Video Storage, users can access stored video content choosing from a seven- or 30-day history package.
LG Smart Security owners can add ADT Canopy Intrusion Detection for $19.99 per month. They can add Secure Video Storage for as low as $9.99 per month. An Intrusion Detection and Secure Video Storage bundle option is available starting at $24.99.
The system is powered by Zonoff, the SHaaS (smart home as a service) provider behind the discontinued Staples Connect, as well as the new home-automation solution from Connected World Services (a division of Dixons Carphone) in the UK.
New Canopy partners announced at CES 2017 include:
- Samsung GearS3 watch (panic service for $10/month)
- Netgear’s Arlo cameras
- Glympse location-sharing service
Furthermore, Canopy will soon be available through the new ADT Anywhere service, powered by Life360 -- an extension of a service ADT announced back in 2014.
Not unlike Glympse, Life360 allows users to share location but is primarily focused on families monitoring the whereabouts of their loved ones. Users can receive notices when their contacts arrive and depart, and also be alerted to low batteries.
More interestingly, leveraging accelerometers in modern smartphones, the Life36 app automatically detects speed, when phones are used during a drive or when an automobile accident occurs. In the event of a detected crash, 24/7 live agent support will automatically dispatch emergency services to the location if necessary.
*Correction: CE Pro originally reported that ZigBee had been dropped from the LG product.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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