How to use your Amazon Echo as an intercom

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Amazon is officially adding an intercom feature to all its Alexa-enabled devices. Here’s how to use it!

Today, TechCrunch reported that Amazon is finally adding a feature to all its Alexa-enabled devices that will allow you to use them like an intercom. You can call the kiddos for dinner, beckon your spouse without leaving your comfortable chair, and even have your Echo announce your departure or arrival as though you’re a dignified guest attending a very important masquerade ball. It’s like texting someone from a room away, but with more gusto.

The feature is expected to roll out to Alexa-enabled devices in the U.S. and Canada over the course of this week, so if you have multiple Echo speakers and want to be the first to creep your family out by pretending to be the overbearing virtual lady from Smart House, read on (and, if it helps, imagine me as the tiny cartoon demon on your shoulder giving you all these super cool ideas).

How to make Alexa announce things for you

If you’d like Alexa to relay a message for you in its automated voice, all you need to do is say “Alexa, announce [your message here].” So, for instance, if you’d like to let everyone know that you’re popping out to grab the bread you forgot earlier, you can say “Alexa, announce that Tory is going to the store” and it will say “Tory is going to the store” through all the connected Echo speakers in your residence. (Although, you know, say your own name, because unless you’re also called Tory, it’d be weird to say my name.)

Though TechCrunch’s report states that this command causes Alexa to relay the information for you, in our testing it still used our voices.

How to speak through Alexa directly

If you’d prefer to go full ghost-in-the-machine and broadcast your actual voice through your Echo devices, you can say “Alexa, tell everyone [your message here]” or “Alexa, broadcast [your message here].” Honestly, I can’t tell if using your own voice would be more or less unsettling — you’d have to try both methods to be sure.

Sound effects

Maybe the best (or worst?) part of this entire thing is that depending on what you’re asking Alexa to communicate, it may play a relevant sound effect to really emphasize your point. Here’s the full list of effects so far and how to trigger them, according to SlashGear:

  • Wake Up – Sound Effect: Rooster Crow
    Say: “It’s time to wake up”, “rise and shine”

  • Quiet Time – Sound Effect: Shhhh
    Say: “Quiet Down”, “Everyone be quiet”

  • Late/Let’s Go – Sound Effect: Feet running
    Say: “We’re late”, “Let’s go”

  • Bedtime – Sound Effect: Twinkle Twinkle
    Say: “It’s time for bed”, “Time to sleep”

  • Goodnight – Sound Effect: Yawn
    Say: “Goodnight everyone”, “Sleep tight”

  • Meal – Sound Effect: Dinner bell
    Say: “Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner’s ready”, “It’s time to eat”

  • Congratulations – Sound Effect: Cheer
    Say: “Congratulations,” “Way to go”

  • Media time – Sound Effect: Show tune
    Say: “Let’s watch TV”, “The movie is about to start”

  • Love you – Sound Effect: Playful kiss
    Say: “Love you”

I joke a lot, but honestly, this would be pretty handy if you’re up to your elbows in pancake batter while cooking a sweet breakfast for your fam and don’t really have the time or energy to go wrangle everyone individually. And, according to TechCrunch’s piece, it’s a long-promised capability, and is joining well-loved communication features like Alexa Calling, Messaging and Drop In.

Thoughts?

Are you going to utilize Alexa’s new intercom feature? Let us know in the comments!

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Amazon now lets you use your Echo like a one-way intercom

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Amazon is rolling out a new feature to the Echo today called Alexa Announcements. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: you’ll be able to use your Echo to make announcements to other Echos in your household It’s basically a one-way intercom. Say you want to tell your kids dinner is ready. According to Amazon, you’d tell your Kitchen Echo “Alexa, announce that dinner is ready,” and the device would repeat that message to everyone else in your home. The announcement is made in your voice too, so your kids won’t think their devices are spazzing out. You could also…

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Amazon adds long awaited intercom feature to its Alexa-enabled devices

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While Apple’ Siri digital assistant is still pretty limited in its functionality, despite it being the main input for HomePod, Amazon has been experimenting and adding new features at a rapid pace.

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Check out this 1986 home intercom turned into a DIY Google Home

I love seeing DIY projects that retrofit new hardware into old electronics. Some examples include converting an Apple II floppy drive into an external USB hard drive, and shoving a Raspberry Pi into the casing of a Commodore 64. Martin Mander shared his latest project on YouTube and Instructables – a 1986 home intercom with Google Assistant.

As you can see the above video, Mander cleaned up and pained an old “Plug N’ Talk” wireless intercom and installed Google’s AIY kit inside.

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It has been years since the intercom began falling out of style, but thanks to Raspberry Pi and Google – it might be making a comeback… sort of. True to his passion to bring vintage and modern technology together, recreational tinkerer Martin Mander decided to convert an antiquated 1986 Radio Shack intercom he copped for a puny £4 into a legitimate wall-mounted Google voice assistant. To put this quirky smart speaker together, Mander removed the old parts from the box and replaced them with a Raspberry Pi board and a Google AIY (like DIY, but for AI) kit. While the parts did…

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