The Amazon Echo's calling and messaging feature is gaining intercom support. Amazon has officially announced that support for the new sub-feature is rolling out today to owners of the Amazon Echo smart speaker, though it's also going to be available for anyone who owns the Echo Dot and the Echo Show as well, meaning it's available across Amazon's lineup of Echo products for the most part, save for the Echo Look.
The new intercom support for the calling and messaging feature on compatible Echo devices will take at least a few days to roll out to all users though it will begin hitting devices today, so anyone with one of the three above-mentioned Echo products should keep an eye out for the support to go live for their own device. Intercom support is being added as part of the Alexa application for Android and iOS devices so it won't be an update to the Echo speakers themselves. If you don't have auto updates enabled for applications on your device, you'll just need to go into the Play Store and manually check the My App section to see if the update is available.
Much like a regular intercom, anyone with multiple compatible units from the Echo family of speakers can use each one to communicate across the home with an ease of use that wasn't previously available, though it's still no substitution for simply walking to the other side of the home to let your family members know in person whatever it is you're trying to relay to them. That said, there are certainly instances where it might not be feasible for someone to leave the room they're in to relay a message, in which case the new intercom support will come in handy. Using the intercom feature is as simple as anything else you can do with the Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show, but the feature doesn't just work once the Alexa app has been updated. Users will need to configure things by going into the Alexa app's settings menu and enabling the "drop-in" function, and they'll also need to make sure that each Echo speaker is named individually by room. From here it's as simple as triggering the intercom by saying "Alexa, drop in on.." and then inserting the name of the room where the speaker resides. Having the intercom is definitely going to be useful for many households, but Amazon also knows that consumers won't always be home and yet may still need to use the intercom for an easy way to contact their family. To help with this the intercom feature is also supported inside of the Alexa app, so you can simply open the app and use the intercom from there if you're out and about and need to quickly say something to someone who is already at home.