An incredibly useful feature once locked to Amazon Echo devices is now available to all third-party ones, provided they're powered by Alexa.
Announcements, as it's called, is a featured rolled out last year that allows users to turn their Echo devices into an intercom system. Amazon initially pushed it to the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Spot. The way it works is a user sends out an announcement by saying, "Alexa, announce that" followed by a message, which then gets pushed out to all of the device in their home network at the same time. To put it more simply, Announcements is exactly similar to conventional intercom systems — just one-way, though.
Amazon later expanded the feature to Alexa-compatible Sonos speakers, but now it's coming to all devices just as long they support Alexa. As such, Announcements can now broadcast to any Alexa-compatible device a user might have in their home, including speakers, thermostats, and even Facebook Portal.
"Alexa Announcements is great for quick, broad communications you want to share with your whole family. This allows customers to announce on their device from the kitchen that 'dinner is ready,' or that 'it's time to wake up,' or from their Fire TV Cube that 'the movie is starting,'" Amazon announces in a developer blog post.
Almost All Devices
The company says Announcements is now on "certified Alexa built-in products to implement and new ones that pass the provided self-tests and certification." That means device manufacturers must first implement the feature before it can work. Plus, not every product will necessarily qualify even if Alexa is supported. They'll have to able to convert sound files that are 45 seconds or longer to an Alexa-ready format, for starters.
As such, there could still be gaps in Announcements even if one's home is chock-full of Alexa-enabled gadgets. Even still, Amazon rolling it out widely stands to make the feature a lot more robust, useful, and dynamic. Not everyone has a dedicated intercom system in their home, but if they have several Alexa devices lying around, this could be the next best thing.
Amazon says it will continuously improve Announcements to create better customer experiences and ensure consistency across all devices with Alexa built-in.
Have you tried using Announcements? Is it as useful as Amazon is making it out to be? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!