How to use Amazon’s Alexa devices as a home-wide intercom

If your home is kitted out with Amazon Echo devices, you can now use the “drop-in” feature to talk to all of them at the same time. This essentially brings a quick and easy intercom to your home.

Up until now, you could use Amazon’s “drop-in” feature to send a voice message to only one other Alexa-powered device. Let’s say from the Amazon Echo in your living room to the Amazon Echo Dot in your kitchen. You could “drop-in” then start a conversation that works both ways. 

Now you can do the same thing, but include any other Echo devices too. You can use the Amazon Echo in your living room to talk to the Amazon Echo Dot in your kitchen, the Amazon Echo Show in your kids’ room and the second Dot in the hallway all at once. You get the picture.

It’s not hard to imagine how this feature could be really handy for families. In the post announcing the new feature, Amazon gives the example of asking “what should we have for dinner?” or “does anyone want anything from the grocery store? ”What is “drop-in”?

Before we look at the new “drop-in” feature, let’s have a quick refresher on what you can currently do with a “drop-in” call. This is, essentially, a way to start a conversation with another Alexa-enabled device. Which can be in your home or elsewhere. 

Although we say it’s a call and it can spark a two-way conversation, the difference between a “drop-in” and a call is it doesn’t necessarily require an answer. This means if you have “drop-in” enabled you could receive and send a voice message. 

As you’d expect, you need to approve “drop-in” features before you can use them. Otherwise, someone could shout whatever they want at you and your Alexa device would receive it without you doing anything about it. Setting up ‘drop-in’

To “drop-in” among Alexa devices in your home, you’ll need to register for Alexa Calling and Messaging. We have a handy guide to help you make phone calls with Alexa here. You can check if you’re already registered by going to the Conversations icon in your Alexa app. If you’re not asked to register, you’re already sorted.

Next up, you’ll need to grant yourself permission to “drop-in” on other devices in your home. Go to the Alexa app and head to Conversations > Contacts. Your contact should show up first. Select it and toggle “Allow Drop In” on.

That’s it. Now you can “drop-in” between two devices in your home. Just say “Alexa, drop in on [name of the device you want to talk with]” to get started.

However, to take advantage of the new feature we’ve outlined above, the one that allows you to ‘drop in’ on more than one other Alexa devices at home, you’ll need at least three devices with Amazon’s Alexa built-in to use it.

If you have Echo devices scattered throughout your home, you can get started straight away. You’ll need to say, “Alexa, drop in on all devices” or “Alexa, drop in everywhere” to start an audio intercom call that everyone in your home can hear. Home-wide reminders

If you’re in the US, Amazon has announced a similar feature for reminders. 

In the Alexa app, you can now select “All devices” when you’re creating a new reminder. That means the remainder will play across all of your Alexa devices at once.

You’ll need to enable this feature to get it to work. To do that, head to Settings > Reminders and opt into “Announce on all devices.”

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