39: Can Smart Home devices have a drill mode?

First, there are tons of recommendations about turning off your phone before going to bed, such as:

this: Put the Phone Away! 3 Reasons Why Looking at It Before Bed Is a Bad Habit or

this: Relax, Turn Off Your Phone, and Go to Sleep

Sure, I am convinced.

However, I can’t help wondering what if I hear someone break in, but I need a few minutes to turn on the phone, and I also have to punch the pass code in the dark.

There are many scenarios an already turn-on phone can be handy.

Let’s say I hear someone breaks in downstairs, before they come up, I can immediately call police first without wasting a few minutes. Or, someone ties me up, all I can access is the phone. I will not be able to turn it on (to enter the pass code), if my hands are behind me, won’t I? Of course, those are crazy thoughts.

Let’s think of less crazy ideas.

What if there are some unfortunate events? Say, earthquake, lighting, or even fire.

Even though there were some fake stories about people making phone call through a smart home device, it is said Google Home cannot call police directly, since 911 must have a callback number. What about Google Voice? In Google Voice Help, I found this discussion. It’s said it will fail.

Out of curiosity, I just asked my Google Home device to call 911. It initialized the call, and I cancelled it in a panic. So I do not know if it will fail or not.

The thing I am not sure is, I do have a Google Voice number, which is routed through a real phone provider using another number. Basically, if someone calls my Voice number, it will reach me through my phone provider. Is it call forward? I can’t remember. Anyway, a lot of people do that.

I just did another experiment.

I put my phone in another room, and I asked my Home device to call my real phone number (from the phone provider). It works. I can speak through my Home device and answer from my phone. Interestingly, my phone displays “private number”. This is NOT the same if I call through the web-based Google Voice, because then my Voice number will show up.

Now the question is: how did I call my own cell through the Home device? Is it a Google service? If so, can it really call police?

I can never find the answer, unless, there is something I can turn on the “drill” mode of all smart devices.

See, we do this kind of drills all the time, at school or at work, to simulate earthquake or disasters. We are also encouraged to practice at home. How can we ask home smart devices to help us in those situations?

On a second thought, maybe this feature will be completely useless, because if disaster happened, run for your life, don’t try to say, “OK Google, what should I do if there is an earthquake?”….