Amazon Echo

  • 6 November 2014
  • 85 replies
  • 23642 views


Show first post
This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

85 replies

Userlevel 2
As for Sonos adding voice control, that would be great. However, Amazon has an incredible amount of processing power behind the voice recognition in the Echo. I'm not sure Sonos has the resources to provide that.

Why not just integrate with Google Now? Google isn't short on processing power. The voice recognition works great for me.
Userlevel 2
I saw an email from Amazon about opening the Echo up to folks who want to develop new applications.

I have a feeling they will put limits on what they might allow (especially regarding competing products), but I'm looking forward to seeing what comes up.
Userlevel 2
Badge
I have 5 sonos zones in my home, I'm an amazon prime member so thought "why not" and signed up to get an Echo for $100.. Great the first 5 days, then I mellowed out and understand that it has it's limitations. It's good at a few, it sucks at some also. I dont know if I speak with an accent or am just too softly spoken but I have to repeat myself on occasion. With 7 mic's it should hear me better..on the other hand, with 7-mic's is it hearing 'everything' and feeding the servers and recording, sorting and analyzing my daily goings on back at HQ? (if you are prone to paranoia, it could exacerbate it somewhat)

Must admit that the entire time I was wishing it could be linked with Sonos.

In the meantime the room that has the Echo (office) now exclusively plays my iheart, tune-in radio, and my modest amazon music from the device. It's not a room where I generally 'blast' music from anyway.. Amazon owns audible, I am an audible junkie..the day amazon links audible with Echo...sonos is gonna be in trouble with me.

Echo sucks at using it to find meaningful information. It's okay at basic very general 'stuff'..like wikipedia or google one line search-type stuff and basic math problems.

I suspect that Amazon's primary intent with Echo is information on customers. With Echo, we have gleefully walked into our homes a device that listens to our every word, we just cross our fingers and hope nothing beyond our tolerance is going to develop with this device, it is always connected, it is always listening, it could very easily perpetually record...easily.. if it isnt doing that already. That's my paranoid side talking.

As it stands its awesome to simply say "alexa, play bbc world service", or "alexa- set alarm for 6pm", or "alexa, stop". It would be awesome and threatening if/when Amazon starts connecting it to other music services beyond the three it has now. Already on Echo I used iHeart radio more than I've ever used it on Sonos. Primarily because most of my owned music is via mp3 or iTunes, and what I bought from Amazon is very small in comparison to my rather vast collection, so when I say "alexa, play Rick James", it's not in my amazon collection and plays it from iHeart OR a useless 30-second sample from Amazon music. have not taken the step and copied my music across to amazons music service where I suspect this issue will go away. Not yet..if ever...I dont know. Echo is new and it to me is plainly a version .8 device.

I think Amazon is using it's deployment as an proactive tool to figure out what else to offer and monetize from it's customer base. I think for the fun and coolness Echo brings to the customer right now, I think it's giving the analytics, marketing and services team back at cyberdyne...oops..I mean Amazon HQ a lot more, and after a time and further information gathering, brainstorming and some guessing, it'll decide further what it will do.

I am likely an ideal owner, I shop from Amazon all the time for both work and home. The only items I dont buy online are lumber and food. If Amazon sold whiskey and ammo, I'd buy them there too.. I am and have been using amazons services and devices since they came live. I live a quarter mile from a major mall, I have not stepped foot in it since 2006...easily. No need to, UPS comes to my front door. Bought all my sonos devices from Amazon.

Curious to see what this Echo will flesh out to be, also listening out to hear if there is any misbehaving in this the age of the surveillance state.

There lingers this potential that this device seems like it should integrate into the Sonos system as well. I have spoken to a few people I know that have a sonos system and each and everyone has said something to that effect. Seem's plain to me that lots of folks are thinking the same thing.

I dont know if it will happen...Amazons 'brain' is a hosted cloud service, Echo is just an endpoint device that sends the data back and forth, all the thinking is done elsewhere. Sonos is essentially a stand alone entertainment system, itself and endpoint to third party hosted services and local resources with an onboard indexing capability tethered to the device. I think a voice interface will be welcome but to use someone elses might involve giving up much development control over the device to other parties with their own separate interests and obligations.

We'll see what the future holds..hopefully Sonos will develop another device that is the voice interface control that knows a number of key commands and can reference the index to play music in our collection. That might be a starting point...and later..the cloud. Think Ford Sync....BUT... a fully debugged and working Ford Sync. (or other system that automobiles come with, I just say ford because that's the one I'm familiar with)
Userlevel 6
Badge +8
Just received an email from Amazon.com that contained this:

WeMo and Philips Hue products now work with Amazon Echo.

You can now use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or heater while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger...or even raising your voice.


Let's keep our fingers crossed for SONOS support.
Userlevel 6
Badge +8
Amazon Echo now supports IFTTT.

Sonos?
Userlevel 3
Badge +1
Sonos is never on the frontline of innovation. Get used to it.
Sonos is never on the frontline of innovation.
Utter nonsense.

more than 200 patent filings
Userlevel 3
Badge +1
Disclaimer: I like my Sonos stuff. A lot.

Utter nonsense.

1. Patents are not equal to "innovation". Not at all.

2. Many Sonos patents are years, almost a decade old. Of course they patented their "main innovation" (at that time): multiroom wifi audio (and some stuff around that). Some other patents are for discontinued products, so the relevant number of patents is way smaller.

3. I wrote "never on the frontline of innovation", meaning they do not / want not to / cannot (re)act quickly when new developments come along. They might be cautious to what innovation takes off and what not as they don't want to "burn" man hours. And that is ok.
BUT: in our fast moving world, tech innovation keeps you in the news. News are good for sales. And existing customers expect adaption to new developments.

As far as Amazon Echo is concerned, I am rather pessimistic that it will really take off, therefore Sonos support might not be necessary. Other fields (e.g. wearables, IFTTT) are way more promising. Heck, even Alaska Airlines can do an Apple watch app in time. Why can't Sonos?

That is what I mean with "never on the frontline of innovation". Guests who are always late to a party won't be invited forever...

I don't even want to start talking about https://ask.sonos.com/sonos?topic_list%5Bsettings%5D%5Btype%5D=idea . 3199 ideas and 45 implemented (most of which are added services)? Why do they even have that page?
Userlevel 1
So I have 8 sonos speakers and love it but I have to tell you that I recently acquired an echo for my kitchen and placed it right next to play 5. I'm finding I use the echo more than the sonos as I don't have to locate my iPhone or iPad to select some music. All my iTunes library 3500 songs have been exported to Amazon music. All I have to do is so Alexa play, and she does. I was considering the sonos sound bar but I really think sonos is missing the boat here. They really have not innovated except for some new speakers but are missing the market on voice activation and a gal Friday type of interface. IMHO.
I have a Play:1 in the kitchen. All I have to do is press a button on top, and starts playing instantly. A very large playlist of quality music is always at the ready. One more tap, and it stops playing. What could be simpler than that?
Userlevel 2
I have a Play:1 in the kitchen. All I have to do is press a button on top, and starts playing instantly. A very large playlist of quality music is always at the ready. One more tap, and it stops playing. What could be simpler than that?

Playing exactly what you asked for?

My experience is the opposite of most here, I procured the Amazon Echo 1st. Yesterday I installed a Sonos Connect and hooked it into my current home audio system (wired and wireless). I now have control of the input from my tablet, a fabulous upgrade for me.

However I came to the forums to see if anyone had done a successful Echo/Sonos integration because I found myself wishing for voice command of my sonos play rather than reaching for a volume controller.

After using the Echo I get annoyed by anything that requires me to pick up a device to adjust volume or flip a switch ("Alexa turn off lights" is my favorite command before bed).

I don't have the chops to write an app but I sure hope someone does (Sonos?).
Badge
I think general control of Sonos is unlikely. To select music from our local network, it'd have to preload the metatdata to the cloud to match against. They'd be happy to have you upload your music to their cloud though. It's about lock-in to their services more than shopping. ("Alexa buy me a laptop!" isn't that useful.) As the younger generations move to cloud based music, it's important to capture them.

Then there are the many apps on Sonos that all have different UIs. The apps I've seen for Echo are mostly "pick a channel", not searching large databases unique to each user.

They might let it output something like Bluetooth or AirPlay someday. But the stream is going to start in their cloud.

Also, it gives them data to train voice recognition algorithms against. I read that that was a major benefit (perhaps the primary reason) for Google Voice.
Userlevel 2
Echo is very interesting and certainly integration with Sonos would make sense for many users. We at Netonos.com are very interested in voice recognition control and may look into this after we get Netonos Note released.

Maybe Sonos is considering such control as well. Roku has added it to their streaming device recently. It just has to work well or people will abandon it quickly.

Bob
[FONT="Arial"][SIZE="4"][/size][/font]
Userlevel 3
Badge +7
Amazon Echo now supports IFTTT.

Sonos?


+1 for IFTTT
I just got an Amazon Echo for Christmas and love it. It would be amazing if Sonos and Echo could link up. It would truly be a Star Trek home. In particular I would love to be anywhere in the house where Sonos speakers are located and be able to ask Alexa a question or play music or turn on or off the television using voice command. Most useful would be the ability to use any Sonos speaker as a speaker phone just like I do in my car.

I imagine since the cell phone is connected via wi-fi to the Sonos system this should not be a huge leap in technology. If it can be done easily in the car, why can't this easily be done in the home?

I am sure the Star Trek home will be coming in the near future and Sonos will be behind if they don't jump on this wave sooner than later.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
I just got an Amazon Echo for Christmas and love it. It would be amazing if Sonos and Echo could link up. It would truly be a Star Trek home. In particular I would love to be anywhere in the house where Sonos speakers are located and be able to ask Alexa a question or play music or turn on or off the television using voice command. Most useful would be the ability to use any Sonos speaker as a speaker phone just like I do in my car.

I imagine since the cell phone is connected via wi-fi to the Sonos system this should not be a huge leap in technology. If it can be done easily in the car, why can't this easily be done in the home?

I am sure the Star Trek home will be coming in the near future and Sonos will be behind if they don't jump on this wave sooner than later.


Careful you don't get beamed up.

BTW, I don't believe any of the Sonos units (Apart from the Play 5 Gen 2) have a microphone. And what if you want a private conversation? (Mr Spock, here are your STD test results"!)
I would be surprised if the microphones in a Play5 Gen2 could be used to add voice control very easily. I don't think the Play5 Gen2 has the horsepower needed to support voice control locally nor do I think Sonos has the cloud infrastructure resources to implement an Amazon type solution anytime soon. Unless there is already a private beta or a demo next week at CES I don't think Sonos could ramp up a voice control solution fast enough to be relevant.

Regarding the microphone concerns I would point out that any cell phone microphone can be exploited to monitor everything you say and represents a much greater risk than the microphone on an Amazon Echo. On the other hand, nobody knows what the allegedly dormant microphone on a Play5 Gen2 is really doing... are you certain they aren't already listening?
I just got an echo, I love my sonos system, after one voice command for echo to play something relaxing and it doing it I immediately yearned for it to control my sonos system. I really hope they get this set up, as like other posters, if amazon sets something up like this I'd probably ditch sonos
Userlevel 6
Badge +8
Amazon Echo now supports Spotify.
Another interesting user interface might be the Nucleus voice controlled Wi-Fi intercom:

http://nucleuslife.com/
wow - I bet some wish they could take back their posts on this one

or maybe I have a different view of things - sonos is nice but its no platform to base anything on other than listening to music or maybe a book - if you are willing to pay a ton of money for fake surround sound, add tv to the list

sonos has announced they are happy where they are - no support for surround sound - their target market is simplicity seekers - and its a valid market - simplicity does not offend me until I have to sacrifice function - but that is just me

I won't be expanding my sonos any more - but would like to use what I have with echo - and it can be done, but the process is clunky and less than elegant

seems to be two ways to interface products to echo - with 'skills', you would say 'alexa, tell sonos to...' or 'alexa, ask sonos to...' - it might sound like a small thing, but its the camel's nose under the tent - the goal is to know what to do using a casual speaking style - not formulaic structures to listen to your sonos - I suspect 'skills' are hosted on amazon

my home automation interfaces without using skills - 'alexa turn off the family room lights' does turn off all the lights in the family room without 'alexa tell izzy to turn off the family room lights' - but 'alexa set the den lights to off' works - and many other iterations of the phrase - ecobee has taken this path too for its thermostats

I look at electronics with an eye to their ability to seamlessly integrate with other electronics - I started down the sonos path after learning it could be integrated with my home automation, even though it was somewhat clunky - with echo, my focus has changed from basing life on my home automation controller to echo - some people are satisfied to have several 'apps' on smartphones and tablets - that is not George jetson - fact is, jetson was a nudist and had nowhere to stash devices - and most people don't pick up their phone when going to the kitchen for a beer - so the answer to 'what could be simpler than (walking to the speaker and) pressing a button?' is 'alexa play...'

echo is a very young product - and already has vendors in production and others working on it - one problem for integrating with sonos (or any sound product) is that blasting tunes on sonos might prevent echo from hearing your 'alexa stop' - or change sources - or grouping/ungrouping speakers - or lower the volume - until next week, I only have one echo - not sure how wedded multiple devices will be but if I am speaking to alexa in my bedroom, I'd like her to act on the speakers in my bedroom without saying 'alexa play blahblah in my bedroom' - not sure that is possible yet because echo might not know where she is (oh no - I hope she only responds locally when I talk to her and not on all the echos)

sonos should never install voice recognition into their devices - there are platforms better at it than them and more appropriate - the array of microphones are very good in the echo and no one wants to walk over to their speakers to use them - sonos said they will not dip into video even enough to support functions directly related to their product's purpose; producing sound - if they are wise, they would not venture into areas that are secondary to the purpose of their products - especially when others have invented that wheel and provide an easy interface into it

adding echo integration to their product would be a nice value added feature without requiring them to venture into technology outside their core products - echo is not trying to compete with sonos - any sonos customer would prefer to hear the quality sound sonos produces but might settle for the sound of echo in the kitchen rather than chasing down a phone or ipad to hear a few minutes of tunes while preparing lunch

amazon, google, etc. are big and rich because people want their products and services - and are willing to pay for them - nothing sinister in that - echo is not a device designed to screw you out of money by ordering products from amazon - nor is it an altruistic act designed to raise money for funding cancer research - no one has to hate sonos because they like the echo - I would bet sonos has discussed integration with echo - I would not be surprised to see at least a 'skill' if not closer integration - some people rule out products that don't integrate - I do - wish I found echo before I found sonos

my guess is that we will see sonos integrate with echo with limited functions initially - and expanding into a mature integration over time - there will be problems to solve ('alexa play Pandora...' over sonos or echo?) - but those can be overcome

(vizio has a 5.1 real surround sound soundbar that integrates will with vizio televisions - since vizio tvs DO pass surround over optical - and have for years)
((snicker - my little dig))

(((now we need an I/r blaster with wifi - simple integration to echo with that)))
tl;np;dr.
I'm trying to convince my wife to install speaker wire and multiple channels of sonos into our (already built) house. We just received an Amazon Echo, and now I can control my Insteon lights using it. My wife now no longer uses the sonos in the living room (we have an open floor plan so the system in the living room is basically the system we use for the kitchen) and instead uses the Echo to play music. Without Echo/Sonos integration, there's no way for me to convince her to spend thousands to put in wiring, speakers, and sonos. Even I would rather talk to the Echo than find our iPad, open the Sonos app, find what I want, and play it. I'd much rather say "Alexa, play dinner music playlist on sonos in living room".
I have the same challenges in my house. Echo is easy to use. Sonos is not just harder to use than Echo it is harder to use than it used to be. I am desperately trying to replace the failing CR200s and "family rejected" iPad controllers with used CR100s to try to win people back to Sonos but I don't know if it will work. I will probably end up keeping just a few zones of Sonos for when I want to crank things up but for day-to-day listening even I am drawn to the ease of using the Echo, especially as I get more comfortable using it to manage lights, read books, give me the news, etc. It's just a more natural user experience.

The implementation of an Echo control for Sonos would certainly be well received in my house.
Userlevel 1
Badge
This thread shows another example of Sonos users looking to expanding the possibilities of their speakers by integration with other solutions. Personally I can think of 3 or 4 integrations I would like to see without much thought. Home Automation or IOT is clearly the future direction of technology within our homes. The question is does Sonos realize this and will they be complacent or will they fight to maintain their leadership in the market?