Amazon Echo Devices Can Now be Used as an Intercom System

Inc. Echo device on display during the companys product reveal launch event in downtown Seattle Sept. 27 2017

Daniel Berman Bloomberg via Getty Images

"Millions of customers already have more than one Echo device in their home", Amazon says, and given that Echo devices have have been able to function as two-way intercoms and make phone calls since a year ago, this feature seems like a logical step.

Echo users already benefit from a room-to-room style intercom service, but this feature will help when only one voice needs to be heard.

According to Amazon, "millions of customers" have multiple Echo speakers in their homes. That's the caveat. If your tablet is plugged in, you'll be able to talk to Alexa while the tablet is asleep but as soon as you remove the USB power, the tablet will have to be awake in order to use Alexa.

A recent report from NPR and Edison Research claims 16 percent of USA adults have a smart speaker in their house.

The pitch is simple - just start a command with "Alexa, announce that", "Alexa, tell everyone" or "Alexa, broadcast", then tack on your message.

Say "Alexa, announce that it's time to get up", for instance, and "It's time to get up" will be broadcast to all the other Echo devices in the household.

Until now, only Fire HD 10 users could wake Alexa with a voice prompt, with other Amazon tablet users required to hold down the home button to call her up.

Note that this restriction is only for the Fire 7 and HD 8. However, perhaps Amazon could introduce an expanded feature set like that in the future.

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