Amazon Echos can already call other Echos in the same house

In my explanation of the Drop In feature of the upcoming Echo Show I mention it can be used as an intercom, but all Amazon Echos and Echo Dots can already be used to call each other in the same house thanks to the new calling features. Here’s how it works.

To call someone using an Echo or Echo Dot, you just have to say “Alexa, call [name]” to initiate the call. Their Echo devices, and their mobile devices that have the Alexa app installed, will ring. If you ask to call yourself or someone else in your Amazon household, all of your own Echo devices will ring, even if you are using your own Echo device to initiate the call.

This ability to call yourself could be used as a way to talk to other Echo devices in the same house, but the issue is that the mobile devices that have the Alexa app installed will also ring. This means that, if someone in the house wants to make an internal Echo-to-Echo call while the account owner is not home, the account owner will see the call request on their phone and think they’re being called.

Amazon has thought of this issue and solves it by allowing you to say “Alexa, call home.” If you ask to call “home” instead of yourself, all of the echos associated with your account will ring but mobile devices with the Alexa app installed will not ring. With the other Echos in the house ringing, anyone in the home can answer the call through one of the ringing Echo devices and have an internal Echo-to-Echo conversation.

Green light ring effect when a call comes in.

One way this could be improved is if Amazon allowed you to select a specific Echo to call, so all Echos do not ring. Unfortunately, that option is not yet available. However, it does seem like Amazon is thinking ahead and plans to improve internal communication between Echos. If you ask an Echo to send “home” a message, which is something you can do with contacts, Alexa responds with “you can’t message your home or other homes yet.” Emphasis on “yet.”

The perfect Echo based intercom would allow you to select exactly which Echo you want to speak with and not require someone on the receiving end to accept the call before the caller’s voice is heard. The auto-answering aspect of the drop in feature on the Echo Show has the potential to achieve this behavior, but we’ll have to wait until that device and/or feature is released before knowing exactly how it’ll work in this regard.

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20 comments
  1. Powarun says:

    Thank you for clarifying this. I was kind of confused before on how to use them as an intercom. While I don’t see this as a huge feature, I can think of uses for this.

  2. Freemz says:

    Any idea when calls/messages will launch on UK devices?

  3. Kevin Wyman says:

    And once the have the ability to go from echo dot to echo dot it is not unreasonable to then think you should be able to direct music from one echo dot to the other. The use case would be: kitchen echo tell living-room echo to play Amazon music. If these two use cases (directed play and intercom) I would increase my echo dots from 3 to 10 or more.

    Combine that with VOIP calling and now you are really onto something. Or team up with Ooma. My Jabra 510 can connect to a Bluetooth dongle on the Ooma and send and receive calls. The echo dot is practically the same device. A voice activated option with hands-free dialer would be a killer app.

  4. CompuXpert says:

    I would like the option to call “Home” from the Alexa app on my android phone.

    I currently call my wife via the app and she answer the call on the kitchen Echodot and is like having a stationary phone all over again !!! LOL

    • AFTVnews says:

      Calling it a “stationary phone” is a perfect description. Some have equated it to be a “land line” which implies that the benefit of this feature is having a phone in the house. Most homes have multiple phones in the home, because of cellphones. The real benefit is having a way to contact someone in the house that can’t be left in a purse, forgot in the bedroom, left on silent, etc…

      I honestly didn’t think I’d have much use for the Echo calling feature, but if I pop out of the house for a bit and need to reach a family member who I know is home, calling through the Echo makes so much sense because I know they’ll hear it and answer, whereas if I call their cellphone, chances are they’ll miss the call because they’re too far away or the ringer is too low.

  5. Phil says:

    Hi Elias, have you heard any news about the call and voice messaging coming to the UK. Thanks
    Phil

  6. gn says:

    hmmm. i have re-installed the alexa app on my ipad a couple of times and i never get the setup dialog.

    • Jennifer says:

      It’s because you’re using it on the tablet. The app on an android or iphone will have the set up as it utilizes the contact list as well as texts verification codes etc. Essentially I believe, looking for a phone number for the device the app is on. Ipads and tablets alike don’t usually have phone numbers associated with them. I recently tried to do the same thing on a relatives iPad and ran into the same problem.

  7. Dusten says:

    This has worked great and having picked up the 6 pack at Christmas my kids were loving calling and messaging each other. Especially “after bedtime” this has been a really great new feature, can’t wait for them to start perfecting it.

  8. ENV says:

    I am trying to set up calling the other Dot in the house but it keeps telling me to register on the Alexa app. I am quadriplegic and cannot use a phone so don’t have one. Am I just SOL?

    • AFTVnews says:

      Right now it seems like there is no way to use the calling feature unless you first set it up in the Alexa app. You’ll have to use a friends phone or tablet if you don’t have one yourself.

      • ENV says:

        I had that done and now I can call device-to-device! I just say “Alexa, call ” and it goes right through. Finally got it working Sunday afternoon and have already used it three times.

        Very cool!

  9. Barbie Parker says:

    How do you answer on the other end?? I have it calling through from Echo to my dot…but what does the party in the other room need to do in order to answer the call?

  10. Kim says:

    How do I call my Amazon Echo from my android smartphone?

  11. Lee says:

    I have drop in set up on all of my echo devices. I have four in the house. When one of my contacts uses drop in to contact me which device will they connect to in my house. Is there a way to control which one they drop in on?

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