How To Use Drop In with Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo is a remarkable device. What was initially a vanity item for early adopters has grown into a truly useful smart home device with a ton of features. As part of our Amazon Echo coverage, we here at TechJunkie want everyone to know about two features that don’t get a lot of publicity, Drop In and Alexa Announcements.
Drop In is like an intercom for Alexa. If you have multiple Echo devices and want to talk to someone in a different part of the house, you can. Alexa Announcements uses the Echo as a tannoy system to broadcast your messages through Alexa speakers. More fun than useful, it’s a cool feature that not a lot of people know much about.
If you have an Amazon Echo 1st and 2nd generation, Amazon Echo Dot 2nd generation, Amazon Echo Show, Amazon Echo Plus or Amazon Echo Spot, you can use these features.
How to use Drop In with Amazon Echo
What makes Drop In useful is that you can use the Echo as an intercom anywhere in your home. You can also use it to communicate with other Echo users elsewhere too. It’s a bit like push to talk, where you use the internet to communicate with other users for free. Setting it up can be a pain though.
To set up Drop In, you will need your Amazon Echo and Alexa app fully configured and connected to WiFi. You will also need to have Alexa set up for calling. If it isn’t, do this first:
- Open the Alexa app on your phone.
- Select the Conversations icon at the bottom.
- Follow the wizard to set it up and give Alexa permissions to access your phone.
- Add your phone number and allow Alexa access to it. Respond to the verification code in order for it to work.
- Select the Conversations icon within Alexa.
- Select Contacts and open a contact.
- Toggle Allow Drop In to on.
This doesn’t actually make a Drop In on that contact, it just enables it when you want to use it. For Drop In to work, the contact must also allow the feature on their own Alexa app.
Once you have set everything up you can use Drop In verbally with your Echo by saying ‘Alexa, drop in home’ or ‘Alexa, drop in Dave’. As long as you have home or Dave set up for it, they should hear your voice through the Echo speaker and be able to respond.
You can Drop In using video too if you have an Echo Show or Spot. You can select to turn the video off by saying ‘Alexa, video off’ or by hitting the video button.
If you keep being bothered by Drop In calls you can disable them or invoke Do Not Disturb. Say ‘Alexa, disable Drop In for my office’ or whatever you have called a specific Echo device to stop the interruptions. Alternatively, you can say ‘Alexa, do not disturb’ to set a temporary hold on any interruptions.
How to use Alexa Announcements with Amazon Echo
Alexa Announcements is a relatively recent addition to the system and has a few uses but is more fun than anything. Like Drop In, Announcements is compatible with most newer Echo devices. At the time of writing, it is still being rolled out across the globe but most of you should be able to access it by now.
Alexa Announcements is a tannoy system that broadcasts your message through the Echo speaker. It’s a one way announcement with no ability to reply. Other Echo users can make their own announcements once you have finished though.
If you have calling and Drop In configured on Alexa, Announcements should work without any further configuration. Just say ‘Alexa, announce MESSAGE’. For example, ‘Alexa, announce that dinner is ready’ will tell the family that dinner is ready from their Echo speaker.
When you broadcast a message, the Echo is chime and will then play your announcement in your own voice.
If you don’t want to hear announcements on a particular device you will need to invoke Do Not Disturb on that device. The person making the announcement cannot exclude Echo devices when making the announcement. So if you’re neck deep in homework or are having a nap, you need to invoke Do Not Disturb beforehand to avoid hearing them.
Both Drop In and Alexa Announcements are neat features that can add a bit of fun or a genuinely useful function to what is becoming an invaluable smart home device. I wonder what’s next?