Sonos are extremely popular when it comes to music in the home. Their speakers are at the premium end and when it comes to Wi-Fi connected speakers, they were one of the first. We regularly test speakers from their range however today the news is not about the speakers themselves, but the software behind them – or in front of them. We had a chat with the leaders of Sonos in Australia and the message was clear – “Software has to help hardware get out of the way”. Here are a couple of ways this is happening.
Currently you are only able to manage your music through the Sonos app. The app supports a huge range of music services including Apple Music and Spotify. Spotify however have their own app, a very good music app, and will soon have the capability of managing your Sonos system. This means that anyone with Spotify connected to your home Wi-Fi will be able to play music on your Sonos without the need for another app.
In an interview with Sonos today we were informed that 50% of the music played today on Sonos is from Spotify, so they know they’re going to be pleasing a large portion of their users. When asked about Apple Music control or Google Music, it was certainly not ruled out, just not yet. Other integrations include Crestron, Lutron, Savant, Control4, iPort and Deutsche Telekom’s QIVICON to truly bring your speakers into a custom controlled home.
Some big news here, however it will frustrate Australians for now, is integration for voice control. The good news is that Sonos has developed deep voice controls into the Amazon service called Alexa. The bad news is that Amazon does not ship or support Alexa based products in Australia. Amazon make a number of products running Alexa such as the Echo. The Echo is a small device that listens to your command by simply calling it out, for example, “Hey Alexa, what is the weather today?”. With Sonos integration this will mean a situation such as “Hey Alexa, play some John Farnham in the Man Cave”. This is entirely hands free. Time to start writing letters to Amazon begging for Alexa in Australia.
In an interview with Sonos today we just had to ask about other voice integration partners, we mainly asked about Siri and Google Now, their response was not dismissive. Give it time.