As homeowners try various ways like dummy cameras or fake sign of “Beware of Dog” to pretend they are home while out for errands, smart speakers like Amazon Echo could also help.
Hippo Insurance has created a new Alexa Skill. In the skill’s Away Mode, homeowners can ask the assistant to play long audio clips of conversations, which sound real, to trick potential burglars.
The company worked with a public relations agency to find comedy writers creating these conversation plots. They are writers of American talk shows like Saturday Night Live, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Upright Citizens Brigade.
The skill currently has seven different audios, lasting between 47 to 72 minutes. The topics include a couple breaking up while watching television, a frustrated mother explaining to her daughter on the phone how to assemble IKEA furnitures, or a book club meeting talking about everything but books.
When users enable the skill, Alexa will say: “In five seconds, I will start playing a random extended audio track that will make it sound like someone insufferable is home.”
Hippo doesn’t create the Alexa skill as a serious security tool, said Andrea Collins, the head of brand marketing at Hippo Insurance, to USA Today. The company doesn’t want people to rely this voice skill to keep their home safe.
“It’s a humorous, engaging way for people not only to view home security but to talk about it,” said Collins.
One skill, called Burglar Deterrent, is similar to Hippo’s and available on Echo. It mimics house noises, such as pots and pans banging around in the kitchen or vacuum sounds in the living room, to let people outside thought somebody’s home.
It’s a way to trick potential intruders, anyway. If homeowners want a more reliable home safety protection, they could go for security cameras or home security systems.