With a new software update for the Alexa mobile app rolling out this Monday, Amazon is enabling a new home intercom feature across its Echo lineup of smart speakers. The Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show are the first ones to get the new functionality.
Amazon’s latest trick for the Echo comes after adding hands-free calling and messaging last month. The new intercom feature is largely based on that system, but it works by letting people in different rooms speak to each other through the smart devices.
The e-commerce giant wants to make people’s lives easier, and that starts at home. First, they started with better in-house communication. Then, they plan to modernize grocery shopping.
How to use the Amazon Echo as an intercom
For starters, people who want to access this new useful feature have to update the Alexa mobile app on their mobile device. Be it Android or iOS; an update should be available to you as of this Monday.
Things are rather simple after doing that. Users just need to launch the app and go to the Settings menu, from which they will be able to name all of their registered Echo devices according to the room they’re in for easy communication.
Once that is done you’re almost set, but you still need to enable one key option for the intercom system to work. In the same Settings menu within the Alexa app, turn on drop-in functionality to allow calls between rooms.
Supposing you have a standard Amazon Echo in the living room, an Echo Show in the master bedroom, and Echo Dots in the kitchen and the kids’ bedroom, you can just only say ‘Alexa, call/drop in on the kids bedroom’ from the kitchen to let the kids know that dinner is ready.
Drop-in functionality also means that the intercom feature is not necessarily Echo-to-Echo. You can also talk to people at your house while you are away using the Alexa app, just as you would send a text or make a call.
How to distinguish light ring notifications on the Amazon Echo
With more and more functionalities added to the Amazon Echo, some people might have trouble figuring out why their smart speaker is suddenly lighting up in different new colors.
The traditional blue light with a cyan indicator lights up when you wake Alexa up by issuing a command, and the cyan part starts to spin while it processes a request.
Different statuses light up in various colors. For instance, silencing the microphone on the Echo will prompt Alexa to paint the ring red. Issues like Wi-Fi errors will make the device shine in violet, and ongoing network connections show up in orange.
Do Not Disturb mode activates with a spinning blue light that ends up in a purple flash and talking to Alexa while this mode is active prompts just the purple flash after your interaction.
Your Amazon Echo will light up in green if it is receiving a call or in yellow if you have a message in your inbox. Presumably, the same pulsing green light will come up in the ring when people use the speaker as an intercom.
Source: The Verge