Amazon Echo

  • 6 November 2014
  • 85 replies
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Amazon Echo sounds interesting. It would be great if this could be used as a controller for Sonos.

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85 replies

Josh.ai will let users control Sonos using the Amazon Echo. It accepts commands like a song title. I attached a video below that shows the voice commands.



The Sonos part is at 1 minute and 43 seconds


That's sound great video Josh.ai!

There are plenty of Amazon Alexa commands those make easier to use Echo or Echo Dot devices. Just say “Alexa – and command” to act. Check out some command here https://www.megebyte.com/list-of-alexa-commands-for-amazon-echo/
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Josh.ai will let users control Sonos using the Amazon Echo. It accepts commands like a song title. I attached a video below that shows the voice commands.



The Sonos part is at 1 minute and 43 seconds
Userlevel 1
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I just got the ECHO and am enchanted. While I love the ability to tell Alexa what I'd like to hear, the sound quality is not even close to that of my 2 Play 5s and sound woofer. Actually, in comparison it is not tolerable. Alexa is good for other things but not as a music speaker.

I URGE Sonos to take advantage of the free API and let Sonos interact with Alexa! It would make my Sonos experience even more awesome than it already is.
Yes, Anymote and Yonomi both allow very limited on/off control of Sonos devices from Alexa. Existing playlists, volume control too, at least via Yonomi.

No ability to search, though, which the Sonos voice control will no doubt include.
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Download AnyMote (Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.remotefairy4 or iOS -https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/anymote-smart-remote/id881829455?mt=8), select pair with Wi-Fi device, and pair it with your Sonos. Then, connect the AnyMote skill to Alexa. It will allow you to control Sonos speakers with Alexa.
Userlevel 7
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Interesting to see a licensed third part product...

http://www.invoxia.com/triby/


I think they might regret naming this thing after one of the most infamously annoying Star Trek creatures (Tribble for those under 35!)
That's interesting.
More tick box pain for sonos, makes sonos look like a 10 year old product....


Why? Sonos has announced it is working on voice control. No other multi-room system has even announced this functionality, Sonos is the first. In what way could these facts make Sonos "look like a 10 year old product"? Seems to me they are ahead of the game, not behind.
Userlevel 7
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That's interesting.
More tick box pain for sonos, makes sonos look like a 10 year old product....
Interesting to see a licensed third part product...

http://www.invoxia.com/triby/
Consumer Reports, one of the very few magazines that still reviews equipment objectively, gives the Echo a "good" for sound quality, while Tap gets a "Fair".

http://www.consumerreports.org/wireless-speakers/amazon-tap-sound-quality/

Want the very best SQ a wireless speaker can deliver? Get a Play:5. Better, get a stereo pair.

http://www.consumerreports.org/wireless-speakers/best-wireless-speakers-right-now/
Had enough Best Buy points to pick up an Echo for $5 this morning.

Addressing the sound quality first: it's about on part with my Squeezebox Radio, which is to say far below a room-corrected Play:1. About as expected.

Went through a couple of voice training sessions from across the room. I listen to a lot of French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc music, so Alexa has a tough time understanding artist names, but when she finally does, this can be affirmed in the app. Will take some time.

I don't have Spotify account, so am currently limited to Tunein or Pandora, and a few Amazon albums, on Echo. Annoyingly, Alexa seems to want to search I Heart Radio, which I've never used, by default, even though I haven't enabled an account there. I have to specifically mention Pandora or Tunein to play from either. Maybe there's a way to change the default, but I don't see how. No Apple Music, Google Music, SoundCloud, MixCloud, or most other places where I have accounts and can access via Sonos.

Hooked it up with Yonomi to control my Sonos devices. Let's just say that this process isn't up to Sonos levels of simplicity.

Looking forward to Sonos adding voice control, which will no doubt "just work", certainly better than Alexa +Yonomi.

For things like weather and traffic, pretty cool. For music, meh, very limited do far. I'll continue using the Sonos app for music until Alexa is smarter, or Sonos does voice control much better, as I expect they will.
Since Amazon famously never releases sales figures on anything it manufactures, take that chart with a grain of salt. I've seen market analysis that had Amazon Fire tablets outselling iPads, and other market analysis where they were trailing Chinese tablet manufacturers. Not coincidentally, the premise behind each article (pretty much "Amazon takes over tablet industry" vs. "Amazon tablet division in big trouble") exactly matched the market "analysis".
Well, Amazon has certainly entered the wireless speaker market with a bang.

http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-echo-speaker-sales-beats-bose-and-logitech-2016-1

https://www.1010data.com/company/blog/can-you-hear-me-now-the-surprising-success-of-the-amazon-echo/

Do we even know if they are going to add Alexa to the Sonos (using internal mic), or create a skill? I'm crossing my fingers for a skill, I don't see Sonos catching up with Echo's special mics in time to catch this falling knife.

The way the CEO worded it a while back, it gave me the feeling that decision to adopt Echo was fairly recent. Just my interpretation of his words.

I agree, 2 months is ridiculously short for anything. But if they are only developing a skill, it should be fairly straightforward. A couple people have already created json custom skills, doesn't seem to be that tough, but needs a server.

One big issue I see, and maybe I am completely missing something here, is that I think for an Echo Skill to work with Sonos, they will need some kind of hub on the local network (or software running on local computer). Sonos speakers, unlike many other IoT devices, are not accessible from the internet (a good and bad thing). They do not maintain a connection with 'home base', and are only accessible when the app scans the local network to see what it finds. I'm pretty sure Alexa skills needs a combination of the cloud, plus an IoT devices reachable from the cloud to send commands to. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Amazon only just announced availability of AVS to third party devices on March 23rd of this year. Two months ago. Assuming Sonos uses it, they've barely had time to assess the offering, start talks with Amazon, and maybe get a few developers trained on its use. A long, long road ahead...
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its been two months, any update Sonos on when official sonos/echo integration is coming?

1) Sonos never gives timelines, release dates, or detailed roadmaps. The next time you hear about this will be the public beta.

2) Even if Sonos did do #1, you should familiarize yourself with the average software development cycle. A large scale revamp such as this is at the very least a 6 month development course, preceded by at least that number of months planning (which may or may not have taken place already). Nothing major gets done in 2 months in the software world. Matter of fact, the vast majority of the time, nothing minor gets done in 2 months; if you actually want it to be tested and release worthy.

Patience grasshopper. Patience.


thats funny you mention SDLC. i actually have been developing software for the better part of 25 years so i get timelines, patience, etc.
i would hope sonos was well along the path of a release before their CEO's public blog post and the revamping of the organization.
they have already said its coming, they should have a timeline, a plan, a schedule.

i will take your point though of patience and hope that sonos does a really nice integration with echo and its worth the wait.
its been two months, any update Sonos on when official sonos/echo integration is coming?

1) Sonos never gives timelines, release dates, or detailed roadmaps. The next time you hear about this will be the public beta.

2) Even if Sonos did do #1, you should familiarize yourself with the average software development cycle. A large scale revamp such as this is at the very least a 6 month development course, preceded by at least that number of months planning (which may or may not have taken place already). Nothing major gets done in 2 months in the software world. Matter of fact, the vast majority of the time, nothing minor gets done in 2 months; if you actually want it to be tested and release worthy.

Patience grasshopper. Patience.
Sonos CEO's response - http://blog.sonos.com/news/industry-in-transition-invest-in-future

its been two months, any update Sonos on when official sonos/echo integration is coming?


You must be joking! Do you have ANY idea how long it takes just to ramp up an integration project of this scope, much less get it funded, designed, developed, tested, documented, deployed, etc? I don't think so... Maybe six months from now.
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Sonos CEO's response - http://blog.sonos.com/news/industry-in-transition-invest-in-future

its been two months, any update Sonos on when official sonos/echo integration is coming?
Download the Yonomi app. Echo now controls Sonos.
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Very good news to hear! So the new microphones added to Play:5 gen 2 can mean an Alexa in every room with a sonos. Also, I think with true play, the mics might help tune themselves like I believe Bose does with home theater.
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Sonos CEO's response - http://blog.sonos.com/news/industry-in-transition-invest-in-future
BoredofBalham I see your point, and agree that there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the Echo. Amazon does have a VERY spotty track record with hardware, with Echo being their only success after the Kindle. I also don't think it would be very hard for Google or Apple to create a competing device, and I often wonder why they haven't yet. Regarding international expansion, I think it is only a mater of time before they expand it to the rest of the English speaking world. I use mine in Asia and it works great (minus the Prime features, and Uber). They haven't given any indication they are working on other languages, but I'm sure it is already in the works. If Amazon is willing to pay millions of dollar for Superbowl ad, they are in this for the long run.

Cheap phone controller, primary mobile controllers,etc will not work for the masses. People do not want to take 10-30 sec just start music, turn on the lights. I had Hue lights for 2 years and my family used them as 'dumb' bulbs because nobody wanted to go through the hassle of using the app. Now with Echo and a couple Hue switches on the wall, we are finally using the full functionality of the lights. Like upstatemike said, nobody wants 'mobile' in home automation (although mobile will always play a roll). In your house, you should be able to walk around in your birthday suit, with your hands busy, and control everything, quickly, the same way, every time, no matter what has been moved around. With that you can focus on more important things 😛 . Nobody wants a 'smart' house, if controlling it takes more effort than a 'dumb' house.

The first time you walk in the front door with your hands full, and you can turn on the lights, play the news, ask for the weather forecast, start a Spotify playlist, all while taking off your jacket, you will see that an Echo like, always on device, is the future. Sitting on the couch and want to dim the lights? Alexa to the rescue. Cooking and want to convert 10oz into liters? Alexa. Timer? Tomorrow's calendar? Going to bed and want to run off AC, TV, lights, and lock front door? Alexa does all that while you are bringing your glass to the kitchen. Much to my chagrin, after only 3 weeks, my wife now uses Echo exclusively, and never open the Sonos app anymore. She lets me do that if I insist on better sound, multi room.

Back to your other point, should Sonos hop 100% on the Echo boat now? Probably not, but for me to continue investing in Sonos, I will need to see indications that they are starting to lay the groundwork for full iot integration. Logitech Harmony, Smartthings, Hue, smart switches, door locks, various sensors, Echo, IFTTT can all work together. Sonos was ahead of its time by removing the need for a central audio system, and implementing still unrivaled sync technology. now they need to get their act together and show they can keep up with the next revolution. Improve the API, add some way for Sonos to be controlled from the cloud, add third party casting. That might mean giving up support of all features on legacy devices, or coming out with a hub type device that can add a little cpu horsepower to the Sonos echosystem. But things are changing very quickly, and Sonos is losing its edge very quickly.
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The other side of that is having to have a static device in every room. Tablets, phones and you name it can have a Sonos controller. I use an old phone and a cheap tablet as remote controls in addition to apps on everything else.
Your primary controller can be any device. That a static voice control may be a preferred method does not by its nature make it ideal and/or robust (especially if it relies on internet access) until it can control everything you want it to control. That does not mean that the desire is not a valid wish list item.

Echo is currently a restricted device which has spawned two further devices. Which of these will be dominant. Will it create any "standards". Does Amazon support its own devices? When will it, and what, roll out globally. These are the crucial questions and actions to see any "pie in the sky" wish become more firmly grounded. What mobile developments are there for automation? What other devices are there? The big manufacturers haven't joined the party yet who will have devices to sell rather than content.

That Echo has, on its home turf, been very succesful and no doubt it will repeat that elsewhere. Whilst there is the element that Sonos needs to keep up with developments rather ignores the opposite premise that Echo not only needs to keep up with itself but to continue to lead - an area Amazon has not shown itself to be very good at, after all it only wants to sell you content - and drive automation. But that has not yet been found in any Amazon product. Content vs devices. Meanwhile the competition looms. Even in the face of competition does Amazon really care provided you continue to buy music etc that will integrate with whatever you buy.
. Why is a static voice controlled device better than a mobile voice controlled device? What integration should Sonos pursue. A static device in one room or a mobile one.

Short answer is if you are controlling something attached to your house then the controller should be attached as well... or at least in close proximity. The last thing you want is to not be able to control something because somebody grabbed the primary controller and took it with them to the grocery store or whatever.

For people who always carry a smart device on their person (no not everybody does) then having that as an option to act as a secondary controller can be very handy but there always needs to be a primary controller that stays close to the thing being controlled. Ideally that primary controller will be voice activated.