After Amazon introduced the low-priced Echo Dot, suddenly many of its users had multiple Alexa-enabled devices in the household. Voicebot estimated that by the end of 2016, the average Echo-owning household had 1.18 devices based on sales and survey data.
A recent Edison Research survey suggests that 42% of households with smart speakers now have multiple devices. That would suggest an average device count per household over 1.5. All of these multi-Echo households have led to a common feature request: an intercom. The wait is over.
Call the Kids or Your Friends
Our vocal chords will be thankful that we no longer need to yell upstairs to the kids that dinner is ready. We can now simply say, “Alexa, drop in on the kids’ room,” and then ask them to come downstairs in a normal speaking voice. This will be a boon for denizens of sprawling homes in American suburbs. As homes have become larger, easy connectivity to people in the same household has dwindled. Crestron will be mortified that its high-end custom intercom systems are now obsolete.
The intercom also enables you to call your connections outside the home. However, there doesn’t appear to be a way today to use this feature through the Alexa mobile app. You will need to rely on the calling and messaging feature.
Configuring your Echo Intercom
Configuring your Amazon Echo intercom is easy. In fact, it is set to “on” by default. This is similar to the calling and messaging features being set to “on” automatically for your contacts. Go into settings in your Alexa app and select any of your Echo devices. When you scroll down to the “General” section, “Drop In” is the first category.
You can also restrict usage to only devices in your household or turn it off entirely. In fact, if you don’t want people outside of your home contacting you, a settings change will be necessary. Some people will no doubt be concerned about privacy, but this is yet another convenience that many users are bound to appreciate.
Big Week for Amazon
Amazon faced its first real competitive challenge in the smart speaker market yesterday when Google Home became the first device available in Canada. However, this week Amazon has been pushing discounts of the Echo, introduced the intercom feature and Echo Shows will be shipping today for delivery across the country tomorrow. Business Insider reported earlier that there were 300,000 pre-orders for Echo Show and early reviews are positive started appears yesterday. Despite the set-back of not being first in Canada, Amazon will continue to press its advantage in the US and elsewhere. The beneficiaries will be consumers.