Amazon has a new Alexa feature that will turn your Echo smart speakers into intercoms for your home.
The online retail giant said Thursday that customers using its new Alexa Announcements feature will be able to broadcast messages from one Echo speaker to others they may own.
It’s sort of a modern-day take on the old-school intercom device, used by apartment dwellers to remotely talk to guests or delivery people waiting outside the building premises.
The catch is that new feature currently only works for “one-way announcements,” meaning someone can use an Echo speaker to relay a message like “Dinner is ready” to other speakers, but no one else will be able to respond from the other Echo devices.
Customers can simply say to their Echo device, “Alexa, announce that dinner is ready,” and “Dinner is ready” will then be announced in your voice to all other compatible Echo devices in your household. Customers can also say, “Alexa, tell everyone…” and “Alexa, broadcast…” to make an announcement.
Amazon (AMZN) has been steadily releasing new Alexa features intended to be used across multiple Echo devices.
In August, for example, it released a feature that lets people assign their Echo speakers into certain “groups” intended to represent different places in their home, like the kitchen. From there, people can ask Alexa to play specific songs from different locations in their homes.
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The company also debuted in March a feature that lets people use the Alexa digital assistant to send text messages or make video or audio calls across different devices like Android tablets or iPads, as long as they have the Alexa app installed.