We've been waiting patiently all year for the arrival of Securifi's new smart-home router, the Almond 3. Aside from giving you app-enabled controls over your home network and the devices connected to it, the Almond 3 can serve as a hub for your smart-home gadgets and turn things on and off automatically as you come and go. It'll also sync up with Alexa, Amazon's voice-activated virtual assistant, so you'll be able to ask her to turn things on and off, too.
Now, Securifi is telling us about another trick up Alexa's sleeve. It comes by way of an update to Almond's custom Alexa skill. Enable it, and you'll be able to tell Alexa to block specific devices or groups of devices from connecting to your Wi-Fi network.
Yep. You'll be able to tell Alexa to kick the kids off the net.
Here's how it'll work. In Almond's app, you'll be able to see all of the devices connecting to your network. You can label each one and track it, or group multiple devices together. Create a group with your kids' phones, tablets, and computers, and you'll be able to block all of them from your Wi-Fi network at the same time by saying "Alexa, tell Almond to block kids' Wi-Fi."
And no, the kids won't be able to ask her to turn things back on. You'll only be able to let devices back in from inside Almond's app.
In addition to blocking devices or groups of devices, Almond's updated Alexa skill will also let you ask the assistant to create a temporary guest network, a handy way to let visitors hop online without sharing your personal Wi-Fi info.
Securifi's team told us all about the Alexa skill last week at the CEDIA tech expo in Dallas, Texas, where they were also showing off a new Almond smart button accessory. Battery-powered and designed to trigger your smart home gadgets with a press, a double press, or a long press, the smart button is expected to launch with the router by this November. Pricing isn't locked in yet, but I'm told that the plan is to sell the buttons in multi-packs at a rough price per button of $15 each.
That November release date for the router itself comes after a series of production delays. Securifi chalks it up to the Almond 3 being "an ambitious product," and, in a blog post, admits that "integrating WiFi Mesh, long range, smart home hub and a siren into such a compact device ended up taking longer than we had originally anticipated."
Still, if all the bells and whistles work as promised, there's reason to think that Almond 3 will have been worth the wait. We'll let you know as soon as we get a chance to test one out for ourselves.