Amazon to turn all Echo and Echo Dots into home intercoms by adding Drop-in feature

Now that you can make calls and send messages with the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, users have been wanting to use the devices as home intercom systems. The upcoming Echo Show, which will be released tomorrow, has a Drop-in feature that will facilitate intercom-like communication, but buying a $230 device for every room isn’t feasible for most. Thankfully, Amazon has announced that they’re adding the Drop-in feature to all Echos and Echo Dots, which will turn them into full-fledged intercoms.

The new Drop-in feature will be rolling out in the next few days. Once it’s available, you’ll be able to go into the Alexa app and enable Drop-in for your own profile. That will allow you to start a call from one of your Echo devices to the other, without someone on the receiving end needing to answer the call.

To use the feature, you just say “Alexa, drop in on [device name].” The device name is the one you’ve set for a particular Echo or Echo Dot within the Alexa app. Alexa thankfully seems very flexible with the names. One of my devices is named “E1 – Echo (Living Room)” and saying “drop in on the living room” results in Alexa identifying the correct device. Alexa tends to read back the full name of the device back to you, to verify you’re dropping in on the correct one, so it’s probably best to give all of your devices simple names if you plan to use this feature.

Trying to use the Drop-in feature now results in Alexa instructing you to enable the feature in your profile in the Alexa app, but that option is not available yet. An update to the Alexa should roll out soon with all the options you need. The update will also allow you to drop in on one of your devices through the Alexa app. So, you can be out and about and bark out requests to your loved ones at will.

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18 comments
  1. Cheryl Jones says:

    So are we going to need a smart phone for this like the calling and messaging thing?

    • AFTVnews says:

      To enable it, yes, I believe so. It does not look like alexa.amazon.com has any contact/calling options. Once it’s enabled, you don’t need a phone to use it, so if you don’t have a smart phone, you can barrow anyones smart phone or tablet, login to their Alexa app, enable the feature, and log out of the app.

      • Cheryl Jones says:

        You said smart phone or tablet. Calling messaging does not work on tablet. I am hoping intercom will work on tablet.

        • AFTVnews says:

          I mean you can use a tablet to enable the feature for use on Echo devices.

          • Cheryl Jones says:

            Sorry to be so confused. I have a 2015 kindle tablet. I have an android 4.4 phone. I know calling messaging does not work on the phone because I need 5.0. For the intercom will I be able to set up on tablet alone. The is nothing on the tablet alexa app right now that says drop in.
            I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of echo shows that are going to be returned because the phone aspect is not clearly on the product page as well as all the privacy issues.

          • AFTVnews says:

            The drop-in features are not in any of the apps yet. If the contact list is present in the app now, it should gain the ability to enable drop-in once the feature is released.

  2. smee says:

    Wonder if it will work with the wand.

    • Ray says:

      I don’t know but that’d be sweet. I’m loving the wand I picked up last week. A little limited compared to the Echo/Dot, but the functionality is still pretty dang cool. And to get it for free? Awesome!

    • AFTVnews says:

      No, it does not. Currently, the Dash Wand cannot receive any form of communication. It is completely idle until you press the button, so it cannot just start doing something without you first engaging with it.

      Amazon can theoretically change that with a software update, but I doubt they will since it means the device will need to always be live to some degree, which would surely drain the AAA batteries in no time.

  3. Edgar R. says:

    Do you know if this will work with Alexa on ecobee4? I haven’t received mine yet so I can’t test.

    • carter johnson says:

      Even more interesting if it will work on Ecobee’s Alexa enabled light switches.

    • AFTVnews says:

      The intercom feature is an extension of Alexa’s calling and messaging capabilities. Right now, calling and messaging is only available on the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. Even Amazon’s own Tap speaker does not support the feature yet, so the ecobee4 also does not. I don’t know if either of those ever will.

  4. SC says:

    How about some love for the Echo Tap? Not liking that I’m never seeing that getting these features.

  5. jimberkas says:

    i do like the intercom feature. but I do wish there was a way to control it better, like something on the echo/dot itself, not just the Alexa app.

  6. jimberkas says:

    just checked my Alexa app and Drop In was actually defaulted to ON for all my Echos and Dots. You can set it to On, Off, or Only my household

  7. Mike says:

    I have made simple names for each echo device, set drop in to my household only. When i drop in on “kitchen” for example alexa doesnt repeat the devices name and tells me to go into the alexa app and enable the dtop in feature. It is enabled to household only.

    Why isn’t it working?

  8. Dave Curran says:

    I’m guessing this is still US only at present, not UK/EU?

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