Amazon may be continuing to evolve its Echo device platform with new designs like the Echo Show, but that doesn’t mean it has forgotten about the millions of “traditional” Echo smart speakers out there. The company this week released an update to the Echo line that adds a room-to-room intercom feature.
That’s right, you can now have a whole-home intercom by simply placing a bunch of Echos around the house. The Echo intercom, which uses the “Drop-In” feature first introduced in the Echo Show, is currently compatible with the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. You’ll set it up via the Amazon Alexa app and, once users agree to enable the feature and give each Echo device a unique name, you can activate it by telling Alexa to “call” the desired Echo device.
For example, if you’ve named your family room’s Echo as “Family Room,” you can say “Alexa, call Family Room” to report to the family that dinner is ready in the kitchen. And because the feature is IP-based and linked to your Echo device groups, you can even use it for real-time communication with your friends and family who live elsewhere.
The Echo intercom feature also works with the Alexa app itself, so you can use the app on your iPhone to call one of the Echos in your house from anywhere. We imagine that this will be quite handy for those times when you belatedly discover an absence of toilet paper in the bathroom.
The Echo intercom feature is rolling out to users now, so check your Alexa app to see if you’ve been updated. But be warned, there’s currently no way to temporarily block the intercom feature when it’s enabled, which means that certain family members or friends with access to your Echos could pop in at any time, and that could get…awkward.