Ever since I bought the Amazon Echo dot, I have been wishing for the ability to use it as an intercom within our house. With our house spread over 3 floors, having an intercom would make it easier to communicate with my daughters when they are upstairs or for them to check with my wife when dinner will be served. Hence when it was announced by Amazon that calling and messaging was coming to their devices and through the Amazon Alexa App, I could not wait to get this setup.
About 2 days ago, the Amazon Alexa App was updated to give the conversations feature here in UK. When I saw it in the morning, I updated it straight away and set it up for the conversation feature. During the process, the Alexa App will request for permission to access the contacts within the smartphone – so you can do Alexa to Alexa calling to those who have Echo devices or devices with Alexa App installed.
The feature which I was more interested in is the Drop In function. This allows for someone authorised to drop in on an Echo device which allows them to join in the conversation as if they were there. So whether I am away from home and wish to talk my family in the kitchen, or I need to call my daughter to come down from her room for dinner, I can do this through the Amazon Echo.
‘Alexa, drop in on the kitchen.’
‘Alexa, drop in on Jessie.’
In the settings menu, it is possible to choose the Drop In setup for each device. I have chosen Drop In for only my household, so only my family members can drop in on the Echo devices in my account. When Drop In is activated, the Echo device will bleep and glow green in colour. To end Drop In, you simply need to tell Alexa to stop.
The calling/messaging function on the Alexa App is accessible through the Speech bubble icon at the bottom of the screen. This is where you can access Drop In and the other conversation options. The person icon on the top right of the screen accesses the Contacts list on the phone to identify those who have an Echo device or the Alexa App who you can call. Next to this icon is the option to start a conversation/messaging with one of the contacts.
When I access the Drop In option on my iPhone, it then presents me with the various devices setup in my account. I have renamed these devices for ease of dropping in on them.
The Drop In function adds the ability to have intercoms within the house to make communicating with family members a whole lot easier, even when you are out of the house. And when Alexa calling gets rolled out around the world, it will also make communicating with family members in other countries a whole lot easier. They simply need to have either the Alexa App installed on their smartphone, or have an Echo device to drop in on a family member without needing to take a ride in a car or plane. Sounds like a very good way to bring families closer together.