When will Alexa "Routines" become available?

  • 28 May 2019
  • 6 replies

I love my Sonos Beam w/ Alexa, but it really sucks that a lot of baseline Alexa functionality doesn't work w/ Sonos. For example, I want to set a Routine that shuts off my TV, dims the lights, and plays Jazz music from Pandora at volume 10. I can easily setup this Routine on my iPhone, but Alexa on Sonos doesn't support it at all, which is incredibly annoying.

Does your engineering team have a roadmap or timeline to adopt more of the standard or baseline Alexa functionality, like Routines?

6 replies

Userlevel 2
Badge +3
What happens when you try this on Sonos? If I'm not mistaken, the TV and lights should work fine. I have Alexa routines that do that kind of thing on Sonos. I don't use Pandora so I can't say about that. It's possible that Alexa will be annoying and say “Audio actions in routines are not supported on this device”. Then she might play the music anyway.
When I ask Alexa, "Turn on the TV," she appears to comprehend and replies, "OK," and then I hear the confirmation chime play... but nothing happens. By contrast, when I say, "Turn off the TV," I get the same "OK" response and chime, and then the TV turns off, as expected. Perhaps it's just a defect in the codebase?

Regarding Alexa "Routines," I have a dozen of these on my iPhone, which combine multiple basic Alexa functionalities, such as: news alerts at a specific time, reminders of appointments, raising the audio volume, playing a particular song, and many others. Whenever I attempt any of my Routines, Alexa always replies, "Audio actions and Routines are not supported on this device."

I've read that some Routines will work on Sonos Beam, even when Alexas says they're unsupported, but I haven't found a single one that works.

David K.
Userlevel 2
Badge +3
In my experience, routines that don't include talking or music should work perfectly. For example, controlling TV, lights, thermostats, smart locks etc

Routines that do involve talk/music: ie, news, weather, sports, reminders, songs, etc most of the time they also work, BUT you will always get the annoying "not supported on this device" lecture first.

Not sure why your success rate is so much lower.
Hi Kirk, I don't know either. However, I'm pretty sure it's not me; AI is my profession -- I'm building the next-generation AI Chatbot for Wells Fargo, and we are absolutely focused on the end-user experience (nothing else matters -- if the customer isn't happy, they'll go somewhere else). I love my Sonos Beam, but I'm super unhappy w/ both Alexa and Google Assistant functionality on Sonos.

Basically, I'm really hoping I don't have to buy an Amazon Echo to control my Sonos Beam, which would kind of defeat the purpose. But right now I have no way of replicating the core functionality of an Echo or a Dot on my Sonos.

Based on my experience, this is likely a Sonos engineering problem (defect in the codebase or an API issue). I've been a developer for 30 years, and I know you guys are probably held hostage by whatever interfaces or API calls you've been given by Amazon and Google. I presume you're not representing engineering and I know that customer service and QA are seldom consulted when creating product roadmaps... but if we're having this same discussion on Black Friday later this year, I'll have to jump to another Alexa-supported soundbar (because somebody is going to figure this out... and I really hope it's Sonos).
I’m not sure this will help but I’ll mention it anyway. I wanted to set an Alexa routine that played a Radio station at a specific time on my Sonos speakers in the kitchen. I can’t see the Sonos devices in the list of from devices. In the end I got this to work using the following command in the action Play ‘absolute Radio On Kitchen’, where On Kitchen is the name of the Sonos device. To get the routine to save I also have to use the from Kitchen echo... but it appears to ignore that.

Long story short try adding On... then the Sonos beam device name. I certainly don’t get any messages about unsupported devices... and my routine works fine. Apologies if I’ve missed the point of the issue.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
To further add to @mfowmes comment above. These steps allow for the playing of music at a specific time or via a voice command:

1 Open the Alexa App and click on the menu 3 bars in the top;
2 Select Routines in the Menu;
3 Click the ‘+’ sign in the top right corner of the App;
4 Click ‘When this happens’ and then ‘Voice’;
5 Enter ‘audio test’ – it’s still best to not use capitals;
6 Click ‘Add action’ and then click ‘Play’;
7 Type in ‘Ed Sheeran On [Sonos Room Name]’;
8 Click ‘From’ and then select a source;
9 If you need a ‘Timer’ please click ‘Set Time’;
10 Click ‘Save’

This will now work via the command ‘Alexa, Audio Test’