Free alternative to wireless intercom system for home

Sure, you could always keep up the regular shouting matches required to gather the family around the dinner table.

Or you could give your vocal chords a rest with an intercom system. (Or do as my mom always did, and ring a dinner bell to summon the troops.)

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But a traditional wired intercom system is a pain to install and smart, interconnected systems are pre-order only.

A quick-solve solution is installing Zello, a free walkie-talkie app, onto smart devices you already have to establish a wireless intercom system.

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As long as you have it running in the background, you can send and receive voice, text, and photo messages to individual users or broadcast to a channel. The app also records your history and acts as a voicemail if you miss a message.

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It’s not perfect. Unlike a traditional intercom that’s always on standby, it’s easy to close or log out of the app, disabling the system. It also has an emulated walkie-talkie beep. And if you want a device to serve as a dedicated intercom, you’ll need to mount one to the wall.

We’ll be testing out a wall mount soon. Here’s why we think we’ll like it:

  • Black brackets (sleek)
  • Reliable screw-in (instead of faulty adhesive strips)
  • Adjustable before set (so you can choose landscape or portrait depending on your preference)
  • Easy to dock and undock (this we’d need to test to confirm)

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The cons are that it won’t hide the wire (but we don’t plan to permanently wire the tablet we use anyway) and it’s not available for Amazon Prime so we’ll have to evoke patience.

Ideally, we’ll have one tablet per floor which will be especially helpful in a house with four-stories including the basement.

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