Amazon first announced a phone and messaging service through the echos. It was immediately hit with privacy complaints. In fact, I brought it up on the show a few times. I also did say, you need to look at the device, and what it is doing. If the person is in your address book, then presumably there is an agreement of calling. Anyway, Amazon now allows you to block certain numbers, in fact, I blocked everyone that isn’t my immediate family. I didn’t feel that this feature is really that helpful. People don’t want another inbox to check.
Fast forward two weeks, Amazon announced an intercom feature, where any Echo registered to you, you can “Drop in.” Basically it is a two way intercom between the devices. Again, we can sit here and argue privacy, but I have many other creative uses for it.
First off, all of this is based on trust. I don’t want to militarize what is supposed to be a helpful feature. I’m only advocating the following if you have full trust in the person.
After the kitchen, most people put an echo in their bedroom. Usually one person is waiting for the other, so you can drop in and tell the other person to come to bed, or come down, coffee is ready. I want to extend this idea.
- I can give my son a head’s up that dinner is ready, and to come down
- I can check up on the cats (I don’t have cats), but the idea is there.
Remote Drop In
As long as the echo is registered to your account, it shows up in the drop in list. What happens if you put this at another location? While watching a commercial to help the elderly, I thought, why not put one in their house, and drop in on them every day. I went and tested this out, and it does work.
What I want to do is set up two echos, one at grandmom’s house, and one at a child’s, caretaker’s, or other friend’s house. In this example, let’s just say child’s house. The child would set up an echo in the main area of grandmom’s house. Every day at a designated time, child would drop in on grandmom, looking for an acknolwedgement of being ok. If you have two floors, maybe put one on each floor.
If grandmom is supposed to be in the kitchen at 11am every day, there would be evidence of noise. If no noise, child can try to get her attention. At this point if you suspect a problem, then you procede with other avenues of communication. The microphones are pretty good. You should be able to hear at least some sort of movement in a quiet setting.
What this is not
I understand the privacy implications. This may not be for you. You must have trust.
This is not supposed to be a life saving device. This is more of a piece of mind. I love my parents, and get nervous when I don’t hear from them for a while.
This is not to be used maliciously. I like nice things. Don’t ruin this for me.
If you are more interested in this let me know. If you want an echo, please use my link. It helps pay for the website.