I'm trying to build my own Echo device. I found the GitHub repository here and some YouTube tutorials. I would like to know what are the limitation of this.

Will this allow me similar functions that are available with Echo or Echo Dot available in the market?

If there are known limitations what are they?

  • 1
    While on-topic in its subject matter, this is problematic as questions which seek a list of points don't really fit within the model of the Stack Exchange system, which is designed instead for questions which can have a single answer. Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 19:39

3 Answers 3


There aren't many limitations to what the Alexa Voice Service can provide, when compared to the official Echo units.

One major difference is that Alexa Voice service devices currently do not support Alexa-to-Alexa calling (sending and receiving) as of September 2017. This feature is only available to the official Echo devices (Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show). This includes the 'Drop In' feature (which is often used as an intercom).

Messaging also seems to not be supported.

Some features are region-locked with the AVS. As of writing, the following are not available outside the US (i.e. in the UK and Germany):

  • iHeartRadio
  • Kindle
  • Traffic Reports

Skills and most other interactions are still available as normal with the Echo. In general, I'd expect that your home-build Echo, while losing some features, will still be pretty functional. If you have a display, you can also go beyond the original Echo's features by integrating Display Cards, which would normally only be available for the Echo Show.


Another notable deficiency is that unlike Amazon's official clients, AVS does not (as of early September 2017) support direct local network interaction with smart home devices, but rather only those where the device is in contact with a vendor server which is then in turn in contact with Amazon's servers.

This means local-only devices like the Belkin WeMo sockets cannot be controlled.

It may not be particularly clear to a consumer which devices work locally vs. server-mediated, until a 3rd party Alexa client fails to discover or command them - and when that does happen, it may not be clear why this has failed.

  • There is at least one product that helps in this regard. It is called Automation Bridge. Using a Pi, it sits on your network, and its skill on Alexa allows you to control local stuff. Commented Feb 12 at 5:11

I see at least three different aspects that may be limiting the use:

  1. There is a 120 days limitation of the usage of the library due to the prototype nature of it.

  2. it uses 3rd party voice recognitions, which in production needs cash in table to continue the usage.

  3. the whole library is by rules a prototyping library, you have separate instructions in Readme file notes.

  • 1
    It's worth noting that only the Sensory engine has this time limit; the Snowboy engine (KITT.AI's engine) isn't time limited and is licensed for personal use.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 12:11
  • This addresses mostly the 3rd party wakeword engine, not the core AVS functionality. Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 19:35
  • 1
    Those are the ones mentioned in the Github linked by OP.
    – mico
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 3:06
  • 2
    Cash in table? Will a credit card work instead? Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 13:45

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