Amazon is slapping a price tag on its formerly free security feature for Echo devices. Alexa Guard’s smoke, carbon monoxide alarm detection and glass break sound detection features reportedly moved to Amazon’s new Emergency Assist service, which costs $6 a month, or $59 a year.
Alexa Guard’s ability to listen for intruders and household alarms when you’re not home will remain a free standard feature on Amazon Echo devices, but Alexa Guard itself may soon be mothballed in favor of the service.
Dear Alexa Guard customer,
We recently announced plans to discontinue Alexa Guard and launch Alexa Emergency Assist, a new service that helps you keep your family safe. Some Guard features, including Smoke and CO alarm detection, will be available as part of Emergency Assist for $5.99/month or $59/year (visit amazon.com/alexaemergencyassist for up to date pricing details). Other Guard features, including Away Lighting, will now be available as part of your general Alexa experience.
Companies that are feeling the financial squeeze are increasingly moving once-free services and features behind a paywall or subscription fee. It’s part of a broader shift towards more subscription services and a recurring revenue stream, although that means consumers potentially are left with a larger number of services they’re paying for each month.
Ring Protect Pro customers who linked their Ring and Alexa accounts as of September 20 will receive Emergency Assist for free until October 31, 2024.
On the Alexa Emergency Assist sign up page, Amazon is offering the $6 a month subscription for all customers until January 8, 2024. After that time, the price will only be available for Amazon Prime members. At this time, it’s not known how much the subscription will cost for non-members. Guard Plus customers will get Alexa Emergency Assist for $5 a month, or $50 a year.
Amazon announced Alexa Emergency Assist last week at the company’s fall product launch event. In addition to the Alexa upgrades, Amazon unveiled a slew of new products like the Echo Show 8, Echo Pop Kids, Fire HD 10 Kids, Echo Frames, two new Fire TV sticks and a Fire TV Soundbar, the Ero 7 Max, a floodlight version of its Blink Outdoor 4 Camera, the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro and the Echo Hub.
Amazon wasn’t immediately available for comment.