Apple’s HomePod range gains a feature this week, letting your phone know if there’s trouble at home.
Having a smart home can mean having a connection to the gadgets monitoring your home, but it doesn’t typically grant an instant all-knowing eye to every aspect.
For instance, if you have a floodlight watching over the back of your home, it’s not going to protect the front of your home. A video doorbell can help watch over that, but if something happens on the inside of your home, neither will do much for you.
Typically, you need something made to monitor the inside of your home.
If you have a smart speaker, however, you might just have exactly that, at least based on a feature Apple is rolling out to HomePod and HomePod Mini models this week. It’s called “Sound Recognition”, and it’s exactly what the feature sounds like it would be, excuse the pun.
In short, the microphone on the big HomePod and its pint-sized sibling the HomePod Mini can listen out for the high-pitched beeps of a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm, and recognise what the sound means, sending a notification to a device connected with the account.
That means if a smoke alarm goes off while you’re not at home, a HomePod used at home can pick up on it and send the notification to an Apple Watch or iPhone, possibly prompting you to call a neighbour or friend to check on what’s going on, and maybe call 000 ASAP.
If you own an iPhone or iPad, you can even listen in through the HomePod to hear what it hears, and see if the alarm is still going off.
Meanwhile, cameras compatible with HomeKit can also connect with the Sound Recognition notification, with Apple sending an image from a HomeKit camera in the same space alongside the notification, possibly giving you a little more to work from.
It’s just one more thing a smart speaker can do, alongside the regular music and spatial of the current HomePod.