If you find yourself in an emergency at home, but you don't have your phone to hand, your smart speaker might just save your skin.
According to The Sunday Times, Greater London's Metropolitan police service is working on a system that will allow you to dial 999 using your smart speaker, whether you have an Amazon Echo, an Echo Dot, or a Google Home Hub in your house.
The Sunday Times claims to have seen documents outlining how the system will work, which say:
“Contact may be triggered by the human issuing a command to their bot, or it may be automatically generated by the bot through AI. Work is already under way to design the technology capabilities of the future contact centre and to consider potential developments in this area.”
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According to the documents, the call will be flagged as coming from a "home automation bot" rather than a human caller. The call will then be put through to the police, and the user will be able to speak to the police via the smart speaker.
It's not clear how contact would be "automatically triggered through AI", and whether this would involve your smart speaker constantly listening out for the sound of a crime being committed.
Although sound recognition for home security is a burgeoning area of the smart speaker world, it's difficult to imagine a situation where users will be happy with the sounds of their lives being constantly analyzed for potential crimes.
Still, it could be an extremely useful feature for those who are unable to use a phone due to restricted mobility or visual impairments. Right now, there's no word on when the technology will become available to the public, and whether it will be rolled out to users outside of the Greater London area.
Main image: The Amazon Echo. Credit: Amazon