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Smart Home

Bug your family with Amazon Echo's new intercom feature

Amazon will roll out the new feature for its Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show smart speakers in the next few days.

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Miss having an intercom in your house? Amazon has a new take on the in-home communication system with its popular Echo smart speakers. 

The company has added a feature to its Echo line of smart speakers that will turn the devices into hands-free intercoms. The online retailer will roll out the update in the next few days through an updated Alexa app on iOS and Android, and it will be available on all Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show speakers.

The update is designed to work in a household with multiple Echo speakers. First, you use the Alexa app to name your Echo devices by room ("Rob's office," "Kitchen," and so on). Then, you make sure that you've enabled the drop-in functionality in the Alexa app. From there, you can say commands such as "Alexa, call the kitchen," and chat to whoever's in the room.

You can also use the intercom when you're outside your home through the Alexa app on your phone. Open the app and say, "Alexa, drop in on the baby's room," and you can communicate through the Echo device in that room.

There are a couple of limitations with the new intercom capability. Amazon's Echo Look, the photo and video camera with built-in Alexa, won't have the intercom feature. And you can't see the video feed from the Echo Show through your Alexa app, though an Amazon rep said that's something on which the company is working.