To do all this, First Alert designed the Onelink from scratch, enabling the device to leverage connectivity and far-field voice recognition, combined with a carefully designed speaker. The beamforming effect of ceiling installation is also ideal for sound coverage. This allows to use the Onelink as any other smart speaker or smart home hub (with Apple HomeKit support), with the added bonus of the device itself being away from sight and strategically located to do well what a smoke alarm – or a ceiling speaker – needs to do. And in case it gets dark, it even features a night light, which proves that the ceiling is truly a valuable unexplored territory.
In addition to home safety, the alarm was built with the entire user experience in mind. The audio capabilities include a 10W BMR speaker (Tectonic Elements) and a dual passive radiator design, tuned acoustic chamber and a Class D amplifier. This allows users to listen to their own favorite music streaming services, including Pandora, Spotify and Amazon Music. Of course, with built-in Alexa Voice Services, the Onelink Safe & Sound is able to offer the full suite of features found on any Amazon Echo, which means users can ask Alexa to play music or audio books, or even read the news, etc. Key to such an experience is the excellent dispersion properties that become possible with a radiating speaker placed in the ceiling, while advanced microphones with noise-cancellation technology improve voice commands from any direction, even while playing music.
Of course, this 2-in-1 alarm is also powered by First Alert’s technology for smoke and carbon monoxide detection and warns users to danger in the home and its location with an 85-decibel alarm. As a connected device, it also notifies users via mobile phone if there is a smoke or CO emergency. The Onelink Safe & Sound can be installed just like any standard hardwired smoke alarm, and works in combination with the brand's other Wi-Fi connected but battery-operated Onelink Smoke+CO alarms. Of course, if users want to have music playing and voice-support in more rooms, several Safe & Sound devices can be interconnected and previously installed devices can also connect via Bluetooth.
With a suggested retail price of $249.99, the Onelink smart smoke alarm (if that's fair to call it that) is only a part of First Alert's range of connected home products, all designed to work together and offer "unparalleled functionality to necessary life safety products already delivering peace of mind, convenience and connectivity to consumers."
Following on its multi-faceted Onelink range of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms (with hard-wired and battery operated models), the company also has plans for support other virtual assistants and further smart home integration. For now, the Onelink Safe & Sound solution works with Amazon Alexa, supports Apple HomeKit and Siri support, and First Alert already confirmed that it has plans to release a future firmware update to support Apple AirPlay 2. There will be a Google Assistant version as well.
Following the Onelink Safe & Sound, First Alert will release the Onelink Connect, entering a new category with its Wi-Fi mesh tri-band solution, which delivers faster, stronger, more reliable internet throughout the home. The Onelink Connect system includes three nodes which can be placed throughout the home. The nodes are in constant communication with one another via a dedicated backhaul, preventing congestion and directing maximum internet speeds to the locations where it’s needed most. The resulting network blankets the home with consistent Wi-Fi coverage, enabling users and devices to get online – and stay online.
As Tom Russo, vice president of marketing and product development for First Alert explains, "The placement of our alarm products on the ceiling gives us a distinct advantage in delivering on the promise of better Internet connectivity throughout the home while simultaneously helping people protect what matters most to them and taking full advantage of what Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant or Siri can offer the consumer."
And for those that are having second thoughts about the concept, there's also the security argument. First Alert also equipped their Onelink connected devices with the latest in security by creating a closed, private network to help detect and prevent cyber-threats and hacks. The Onelink solution scans every outbound connection from the network to analyze URLs and IP addresses to detect malicious traffic and infected machines. Users are notified of any potential malicious activity and, if restricted settings are enabled, it can block any questionable content.
First Alert is a brand of BRK Brands, Inc. (Aurora, IL), a fully owned subsidiary of Newell Brands.