Amazon Alexa

How do I create an Amazon Echo intercom?

Amazon Echo intercom
Dinner is served: get Alexa to make the announcement

Families don’t speak to one another these days. We text, we WhatsApp, we Snapchat. We only yell at one another when we don’t answer one of the above. However, if you’ve got more than one Amazon Echo speaker sprinkled around your house, you can bring back the joy of conversation.

In this article we’re going to show you how you can make an announcement that’s broadcast on every Echo device in the house – and how to hold conversations between Echo speakers. In short, we’re going to show you how to create an Amazon Echo intercom system.

How to make announcements on the Amazon Echo

Dinner is ready. You could use the traditional method of yelling “grub’s up” at the top of your voice, but your moody teenager is listening to Now 98 on the Echo in her bedroom and your other half is in the garden office, pretending he’s working. (Well, this is a typical scenario in my house, anyway.)

If you’ve got Echo speakers throughout the house, there is an easier way. Simply issue the following command to a nearby Echo:

“Alexa, announce dinner is ready.”

In short order, every Echo in the house will flash brightly and broadcast the message you’ve just issued, using a recording of your voice instead of Alexa attempting to transcribe it. You can use this facility to announce whatever you like, by the way, not just that dinner is served.

How to create an Amazon Echo intercom system

The announce feature is great for broadcasting a message, but what if you need to hold a two-way conversation with someone? You want to check that layabout in the garden office likes parsnips, for instance.

This is where Alexa’s ‘drop in’ facility comes into play. First, you’ll need to go into the Alexa app and check the name attributed to the specific Echo speaker you want to contact.

If you have multiple devices in the house, it makes sense to name them according to the room they’re in. You can do that by going to Settings in the Alexa app, clicking on the device and clicking edit under Device Name. While you’re there, make sure Drop In is set to On for all of your devices.

Now when you want to speak to moody teenager from the kitchen, you simply say:

“Alexa, drop in on Imogen’s bedroom.” (Replacing ‘Imogen’s bedroom’ with whatever your device is called.)

Her device will flash and put out an audio warning that ‘kitchen’ (or whatever the device is called) is calling and you’ll be able to hold a two-way conversation. End the conversation by saying “Alexa, end call”.

The Drop In facility can also be used with external contacts. You would need to trust someone implicitly to allow them to basically eavesdrop on your home whenever they like, but it could be an ideal way to keep an ear out for an elderly relative.

Now click here: which Amazon Echo should I buy?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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  • What a great idea! When you’re busy and stressed, it’s so useful to be able to use Alexa to communicate. And there are so many apps you can download and access on Alexa which can make life so much easier. I love using Alexa for recipes while I cook.

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