The final weeks of 2020 are here, and we’re thinking about those who matter to us most. In particular, the loved ones we may not be able to travel to or gather with this holiday season. Although it’s been a difficult year, we’re humbled by the many stories we’ve received from customers about how Alexa features, like video calling and Drop In, have helped them stay connected with their loved ones—no matter the distance apart. It’s these stories that have motivated our teams to do more.
Starting today in the U.S., we’re launching a series of new calling features to help families and friends connect for holiday celebrations and beyond. With a few easy steps, you’ll be able to say, “Alexa, call my family” or “Alexa, join my Zoom meeting” to join your family for a remote holiday get together, or catch up with friends for a virtual happy hour.
Video calling with Alexa has been more popular this year than ever before. Now, up to seven friends or family members can join a hands-free video or audio call. Simply say, “Alexa, call my family,” for example, to connect from supported Echo devices, such as an Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show. Only one customer needs to create and name a group in their Alexa app, and then any member of that group can start a group call by saying, “Alexa, call my [group name].”
Zoom and Amazon Chime on Echo Show 8
2020 has been the year of video meetings, with many using video to connect for both work and personal life more than ever before. Customers can now join a video conference call with Alexa through Zoom and Amazon Chime on Echo Show 8 devices. Just say, “Alexa, join my meeting,” “Alexa, join my Zoom meeting,” or “Alexa, join my Amazon Chime meeting” to join a video meeting with coworkers or friends and family.
With the newly launched Call Captioning feature, Alexa can display text of what the other party is saying in near real-time during one-on-one Alexa video and audio calls and Drop In calls, helping customers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or in loud or noisy environments. Call Captioning supports U.S. English and is available today on all Echo Show devices. To learn more, visit the Alexa Accessibility hub.
Kids calling on Fire tablets
It’s now even easier for kids to connect with their friends and loved ones, like grandma or uncles and aunts who live on the other side of the country. Kids have already been using Amazon Kids on Echo devices to stay in touch with family and friends. Now, they can use their Fire Kids Edition tablet or Fire tablet using the Amazon Kids app to make outbound Alexa-to-Alexa voice or video calls to approved contacts who have an Echo device or the Alexa app on mobile devices.* Parents can have peace of mind and easily add and manage approved contacts in the Alexa app. Kids will be able to receive incoming calls from approved contacts in the coming months.
*Kids must have parental consent before calling can be enabled on Fire Kids Edition tablets and Fire tablets using the Amazon Kids app. Unless a parent has previously granted permission, they’ll need to provide parental consent via the Parent Dashboard before calling can be turned on for Fire Kids Edition tablets and Fire tablets using the Amazon Kids app. Additionally, parents of kids younger than 8 years old must toggle this feature on in the Parent Dashboard. If you have enabled features that allow calls to emergency numbers, your child may be able to place emergency calls while using Amazon Kids on their Echo device. Emergency calling features are not supported on tablets from the Amazon Kids app. Learn more.