Alarm.com announced that it’s integrating with Google Home, the search giant’s Amazon Alexa competitor. That means users of compatible systems will be able to control them with their voice.
The new functionality enables voice control for a range of connected services, from arming the system to controlling connected smart-home devices. To deactivate alarms or unlock connected doors, users just have to mention their PIN while making the request.
Alarm.com provides the interface for a variety of home security systems, including Frontpoint, Protection 1 and Alarm Grid. That means this functionality is coming to many home security systems, broadening the appeal of adding a voice component to your security setup.
The new functionality builds off the massive interest in Amazon’s smart speaker, the Echo. Amazon has since introduced the smaller Echo Dot and the portable Echo Tap. It has also built Alexa, the brains behind the Echo, into tablets, TV streaming sticks and other devices. Later this year, two new gadgets are joining the mix, including one with a screen.
The devices’ popularity spurred Google’s device, along with a collaboration between Microsoft and Harmon Kardon. Rumors point toward Apple getting in on the game soon. That popularity has led to a range of new applications, and security companies are jumping into the fray.
The idea of integrating your voice-activated assistant into your home security system is on the rise. Earlier this month, ADT announced an Amazon Alexa integration and almost every new smart-home device sold today works with Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s voice assistant or all three.
But with voice control comes some concerns. These assistants aren’t quite savvy enough to tell voices apart yet, so integrations rely on PINs spoken out loud. That’s fine if you’re coming home alone; but if a friend or anyone else is with you, they’ll know the PIN too.
Plus, adding another layer to your security system means one more potential weak spot for intruders to get in. While Alexa and Google Home don’t store your queries and use advanced security to keep your requests safe, they still connect to servers over the internet to interact with your security system. That’s a route hackers may one day compromise.
However, voice is only bound to be more integrated into our lives in the future. It’s a natural way to interact with smart devices that don’t have screens, like lightbulbs, door locks and heating systems. And once voice is a common interaction, people will look for voice control throughout their lives.