It can be a nuisance when a smart home device such as Google Home or Amazon Echo is inadvertently invoked. But it can also be a lifesaver.
ABC News reported on Friday that a violent altercation between a man and his girlfriend was stopped after a smart home device called 911.
According to the report, Eduardo Barros got into a fight with his girlfriend last Sunday at a residence in Tijeras, New Mexico. He was allegedly armed with a firearm, physically attacked her and threatened to kill her.
At one point during the altercation Barros asked “did you call the sheriffs,” which an unidentified smart home device, connected to the home stereo, understood as a prompt to call 911.
According to the sheriff’s department, deputies took the call seriously, arriving on the scene and saving the woman and her daughter who was also present. A SWAT team and a crisis negotiation team later took Barros into custody.
“The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life,” Manuel Gonzales III, Bernalillo County Sheriff, said in a statement to ABC News.
The smart device was initially reported to be Google Home, but this was later amended. The device remains unidentified at the time of this writing — though the report still says it was a “smart speaker.”
Irrespective of what gadget it was, it is plausible that a home device performed this action. For example, we know that Amazon Echo can quite easily be accidentally invoked or tricked into performing an action without the owner knowing. The same gadget was involved in a murder case last year, though it’s unclear whether the Echo actually recorded any relevant data.
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