SimpliSafe's DIY home security system now works with Alexa
Now live, the SimpliSafe Alexa skill lets users arm their system or check its status with a voice command.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
ExpertiseSmart home technology and wireless connectivityCredentials
10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
First announced this past January at CES 2018, the new Alexa controls are available today for all users of the newly redesigned SimpliSafe hardware. In other words, the original SimpliSafe kit won't work.
"This was really about making sure our Alexa integration was as seamless and intuitive as possible," a SimpliSafe representative told me, pointing to the faster hardware and Wi-Fi connection of the new system components. Even so, I wouldn't blame anyone with an old-gen system for feeling miffed.
To get started, you'll need to enable SimpliSafe's Alexa skill and link it with your SimpliSafe account. Once you do, you'll be able to ask Alexa to "tell SimpliSafe" to check the status of your system, or to arm it either in home or away modes. If you use a compatible connected deadbolt like the August Smart Lock, arming the system will lock the door, too. SimpliSafe is set to release its own smart lock later this year, too.
Voice-activated disarming isn't an option, which makes sense -- you wouldn't want a tech-savvy burglar telling Alexa to cancel the alarm, and you wouldn't want to have to shout your secret PIN code, either.
Commands that will work include direct language like "Alexa, tell SimpliSafe to arm my system in home mode," but you can also accomplish the same thing by saying "Alexa, tell SimpliSafe goodnight," or "Alexa, tell SimpliSafe to lock up." Users can even check the status of the system by saying, "Alexa, ask SimpliSafe what's shakin'," but please don't.
The new Alexa controls come right as Amazon is starting to offer its own, Alexa-centric home security packages that bundle an Echo Dot with compatible accessories like video doorbells and motion-activated outdoor lighting. None of those packages charge a monthly fee, but none of them offer 24/7 live monitoring, either.
No word yet on whether voice controls are in the works for Google Assistant users as well, but I'll update this space if I get a definitive answer. For now, here's a full rundown of compatible commands from team SimpliSafe:
Away mode voice commands
"Alexa, tell SimpliSafe to turn on."
"Alexa, ask SimpliSafe to arm my system in Away mode."
"Alexa, tell SimpliSafe I'm going out."
"Alexa, tell SimpliSafe I'm leaving."
Home mode voice commands
"Alexa, ask SimpliSafe to arm my system in Home mode."