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.

36 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.

    • Eric Roberts says:

      Given that each Echo device has a unique IP and MAC Address on your network, do this would be pretty simple. It’s just a matter of adding VOIP software or making an app that can be set up to work with individual VOIP providers. I am really surprised that they didn’t include this in the first release. It would be cool too if you could pair it with a VOIP serviced. Back when they let us use the Dot of US calls, my son and I used it all of the time to talk to my mother, who lives in Florida. It was like a really nice speakerphone setup.

  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.

    • Britany says:

      How did you set them all up for calling?? My kids don’t have phones and it won’t work!

      • Britany says:

        I tried to set them up with my number but that won’t work either- it says my number is already registered to a different account (which it is- my amazon account)

        • JKLarder says:

          When I ask Alexa to speak to echo in bedroom she says you need to register an account when they are already registered

    • Eric Roberts says:

      The “calling feature: really isn’t calling completely. Yes it does have that function. If you have a cell account, you can tie to that and make phone calls…as long as all of the dots are registered to the same account, they can all share that feature. If you are registering them individually to separate accounts, then it wont work unless they are child’s accounts, if I remember correctly as those are still tied to the parent account. My son and I used this a lot to call my mother, who lives in Florida. Now the calling internally doesn’t require a cell phone. One of the things that gets asked by your dot at a certain interval (that I wish I could just set and shut it off so it doesn’t keep asking) is whether you want to call their phone or their Alexa Devices. Calling a phone requires an active cell account tied to the device. It should just work. So lets say you have 2 kids, Joe and Tim. If you want to call Joe’s dot, you say “Alexa, call Joe” The problem lies in that, what was discussed in the article, that all of your dots will ring. So if you have the 2 in your kids room, the one in your office, the kitchen, the bathroom…etc…they will all ring and say “Call from Dad (or whatever you named your device)”. So Tim, your wife, your cousin in the bathroom, etc, could answer it. Once someone does answer it…it isn’t a conference call…you are just talking to that person. It kinda works like the multiline phones you see in businesses where the common line and other line may ring on everyone phone.

  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?

    • ENV says:

      Each device has a name so you just say “Alexa, call [name]”.

      • Nat says:

        Trying to connect one echo to the other. What should I do?

      • Eric Roberts says:

        Sorta…they will all ring as they haven’t programmed them to act completely like individual network devices. It still will act like your home phone where all phones ring when someone calls. I don’t get why they didn’t take this into account as that would be an awesome feature. When I call my son, I say “Alexa, call Ryland” and his dot and the one in the bathroom ring saying “Call from Dad”

  12. Kim says:

    I’m contemplating buying an Echo Dot. A couple of questions: 1) If each Echo has a primary owner (like my daughter is a primary for hers and I’m a primary for mine), can they still be linked and what’s the advantage or disadvantage for me, as the mother, versus me having my Echo as primary and her Echo part of my account? Also, 2) On the commercial I saw, the family was sitting at the table and told the Echo to activate music in Tina’s room to wake her up. I leave for work in the mornings before my daughter gets up for school. She has trouble getting up and hearing the alarm. I’d really like to be able to call and either activate some loud music on her Echo or intercom my voice telling her to get out of bed. I’d be driving to work or at work (30 min from home) when I did this. Is this possible? How? And if she hears my voice, can I hear her respond to me somehow like a phone. I don’t want to buy it if I can’t bc her inability to get up before school has been a HUGE issue so I’m looking for a solution. TIA!!

  13. Jessie Livermore says:

    Why not just trade up to a google home. They can all communicate with each other and each can play the same music or different music in each room.

    The google home can carry on a continuing conversation and play completely free no commercial music. It can also verbally translate.

    Echo sends everything it hears to Amazon while the Google home only sends info to google after it hears the words hey google or ok google. Anything prior to this stays resident on the device and is then deleted

    Spend time with both Echo & google home and you’ll see the google is far superior

  14. Karl hageman says:

    Using echos as intercom. Set up household. Tell Alexa to call “home”. All devices ring and green circle on devices go on. Now I want to answer but when I say “Alexa answer” she says “there’s no incoming call”. What’s wrong?

  15. Nicole says:

    I have the two Echos working and connecting to each other perfectly, but when we use it as an intercom, Alexa says, “It’s home” repeatedly while sending the alert. Is there a way to change what this says?

  16. Nicole says:

    I have the two Echos working and connecting to each other perfectly, but when we use it as an intercom, Alexa says, “It’s home” repeatedly while sending the alert. Is there a way to change what this says?

    • AFTVnews says:

      No, there currently is no way to get it to say anything different when calling from one Echo to another Echo under the same account. If you registered each Echo under its own Amazon account, then it would announce the caller by name, but that would lead to other issues.

  17. Eric Roberts says:

    I use this feature a lot. I am disabled and can’t climb stairs, so when I need my son to come help me, instead of screaming for him, I can call him on his Dot. While t5he way the current feature works isn’t a huge deal…we do have 3…one in my room, one in my bathroom and one in my son’s room…it would be nice to just call an individual dot instead of it being a broadcast message to all of the dots in the group. This would also apply to notifications from Amazon. When I order something, I don’t necessarily want this to be broadcast to everyone in my group. It could be a gift for my son and that would ruin the surprise. He also gets notifications of orders that I make on my account on his account since our accounts are linked. I am not sure why they don’t have that separated. I can see the adult account getting notifications of orders from the teen’s account, but not the other way around. A lot of the time, IO don’t get the notification because he checked it, so I don’t know what the notifications was or even that there was one. This would apply to the addressing an individual dot issue. It is kinda tied into that. These are just queries to a database and if it is specified as a sub account, you should be able to specify who can see what. I am a former web developer and did stuff like this on e-commerce sites all of the time. Thanks for this info though. I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out if I configured them right or not. given that all echo’s on your network would have a unique IP and a unique MAC address, you would think that this would be a no-brainer. I mean the phone company solved this issue well over a century ago LOL.

  18. Linda says:

    if someone has 2 alexas in the same house will they both ring with incoming call?

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