Is it possible to change the Amazon's Echo wake word from "Alexa" to something else? If so, how can I do that?

Currently, Alexa supports very limited customisation of the wake word:

Currently, you can use these wake words:

  • Alexa
  • Echo
  • Amazon
  • Computer

The documentation also provides instructions for how to select the wake word:

  1. Open the Alexa app.
  2. Open the left navigation panel and then select Settings.
  3. Select your device from the menu.
  4. Scroll down and select Wake Word.
  5. Use the drop-down menu to select a wake word and then select Save. When you change the wake word, the light ring on your device flashes orange briefly.

This is supported for any Alexa device activated by the wake word, and can be highly useful in situations where you are in range of multiple Echos. For example, if your kitchen and bedroom are close, your bedroom Echo might be activated when you intended to activate your kitchen device. By changing the wake word for one of these devices, you can avoid this problem.

However, as I implied at the start of my answer, you can't choose any wake word you like; an article by The Register suggests why:

And here's where you get to the nuts and bolts of it: choosing a wake word is a little bit of an art: it needs to be short, but a minimum of three syllables; it needs to be easy to say; it needs to have a fairly consistent pronunciation across all different types of people; and it needs to be uncommonly used.

You need at least three syllables so the software can catch on that you're explicitly speaking to it and that it's not just picking up the start of an unrelated word or random noise. Imagine if you made the wake-up word "Tom" and said "tomato" next to your gadget – you may confuse the heck out of it.

Giving consumers the ability to choose their own wake words is a potentially huge headache. Companies would have to effectively guide the choice of a wake word, in a similar way to how we are now constantly told the parameters of the password we must choose: no fewer than six characters; must include a number; can't include the following characters.

Hence, you get some customisation from Alexa, but you are (wisely) not allowed to choose any wake word, because it's likely to lead to poorer voice recognition and a worse experience overall.

If you are calling Alexa through another device, for example an attached Raspberry device, you may have more options.

This open-source RPI library has xml config for changing the word to what ever you like (maybe inside English grammar, but still quite what ever).

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