Amazon is making changes to some of the free features on its smart home devices. In the past, you could enjoy many functions on your Ring alarm system and Alexa Guard without any additional costs. However, now Amazon is introducing some new paid features.
Alexa Guard used to be a free security feature that came with Echo devices. It would listen for alarms and possible intruders when you were away from home. But now, as reported by The Verge, Amazon is discontinuing Alexa Guard.
Some aspects of Alexa Guard will still be available without extra charges. These include Home and Away modes, which let you arm and disarm your Ring Alarm system, and Away Lighting, which turns on your smart lights to make it look like someone is home.
However, to access certain features, you’ll need to subscribe to the new Emergency Assist service. Amazon is now putting a paywall on Alexa Guard’s smoke and CO alarm detection functions. In the near future, you’ll also need to pay for a subscription if you want Alexa to listen for the sound of breaking glass, which could signal an intruder.
But there’s a silver lining for Ring Protect Pro members who connected their Ring and Alexa accounts by September 20. They will receive an Alexa Emergency Assist membership at no extra cost until October 31 next year. It’s worth noting that Guard Plus, an add-on service that enhanced Alexa Guard’s capabilities 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’s currently set at $6 per month or $59 per year. However, this is listed as an introductory price that will be valid for everyone until January 8. After that date, non-Prime subscribers may need to pay extra for Emergency Assist. Just like Guard Plus, Alexa Emergency Assist allows users to call emergency services through their Echo device’s voice assistant.