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How to use Amazon Alexa’s intercom feature

You can either drop in or make an announcement

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Anyone who has kids (or annoying roommates) will know that it’s not very effective to yell from room to room in your home, especially if there are closed doors in the way. However, there is a way around this problem if you’ve got a few Echo devices available. Alexa lets you use those devices as intercoms using a simple, built-in feature called Drop In.

The first step is to know what each device in your house is called.

  • Open the Alexa app on your smartphone and tap “Devices” in the lower right corner. The Devices screen offers you a choice on the top of the screen to view just Amazon devices on your network (the button labeled “Echo & Alexa”) or all the Alexa-enabled devices you’ve got. There’s a difference: Amazon devices let you use the “Drop In” feature to communicate with other rooms; other Alexa devices, like the ones from Sonos, don’t.
  • Tap “Echo & Alexa,” and you’ll see a list of Amazon devices; those that are offline will be labeled as such. Each device will have its own assigned name that you can use to direct your command. (By the way, if you don’t like any of the assigned names, you can change them right on this page. Just tap on the name of the device. It will take you to a “Device Settings” page where you can select an “Edit Name” link right under the device’s current appellation.)
  • Once you know the name of the device you want to call, you can simply use the command “Drop in.” To talk to another room which has an Echo Dot named “Master Bedroom,” for example, just say something like, “Alexa, drop in on Master Bedroom.” The device in that room will chime and its light, if any, will turn green. You’ll then be able to hear what’s going on in the other room through your own device — and they’ll be able to hear what’s going on in yours.
  • To stop the connection, say, “Alexa, hang up.”

Make an announcement

If you’re not interested in a two-way conversation, then you can use the Announce feature instead. This will send a message to all your Alexa-enabled devices, whether they’re from Amazon or not.

  • Say “Alexa, Announce.”
  • Alexa will ask what you’d like to say. State your message (“Dinner will be ready in 10 minutes” or “Zombies are nigh”) and all Alexa devices on your network will chime and play your message.

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