Question

When will Alexa "Routines" become available?


Userlevel 2
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?

49 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +5
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.
Userlevel 2
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.

Thanks,
David K.
Userlevel 4
Badge +5
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.
Userlevel 2
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’
Userlevel 1
This is NOT a limitation of Alexa or the API provided by Amazon for third parties. This is something that Sonos CAN fix.

When I had the Bose Soundbar 700, it had this exact same problem, and it was simply because Bose had not implemented the new "InteractionModel interface for the Alexa Voice Service". Amazon announced this new interface in August 2018 on their developer blog here:-

https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/a1470f4c-8aaf-4d12-b3bc-5cf38820ff82/alexa-it-s-bedtime-routines-for-avs

I informed Bose about this information, both on their forum and via their telephone support around 25th October 2018. They fixed it in their firmware released on 28th Feb 2019.

I've had my Sonos system over six months now, and I informed Sonos about this interface pretty much as soon as I got the system. I assumed Sonos would be able to address the issue in a similar time frame as Bose managed to. But I'm still waiting.

So if this issue affects you, please call your Sonos support center and let them know about this.
This is NOT a limitation of Alexa or the API provided by Amazon for third parties. This is something that Sonos CAN fix.

When I had the Bose Soundbar 700, it had this exact same problem, and it was simply because Bose had not implemented the new "InteractionModel interface for the Alexa Voice Service". Amazon announced this new interface in August 2018 on their developer blog here:-

https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/a1470f4c-8aaf-4d12-b3bc-5cf38820ff82/alexa-it-s-bedtime-routines-for-avs
I informed Bose about this information, both on their forum and via their telephone support around 25th October 2018. They fixed it in their firmware released on 28th Feb 2019.

I've had my Sonos system over six months now, and I informed Sonos about this interface pretty much as soon as I got the system. I assumed Sonos would be able to address the issue in a similar time frame as Bose managed to. But I'm still waiting.

So if this issue affects you, please call your Sonos support center and let them know about this.

I really thought it was Amazon! had no clue it’s Sonos being super slow Which is surprising expect more from them tbh,do you know if it’s Amazon that restricts the Amazon also restricts the ability to make phone calls, As I have seen quite a few third-party devices haveing that ability now
Userlevel 1

I really thought it was Amazon! had no clue it’s Sonos being super slow Which is surprising expect more from them tbh,do you know if it’s Amazon that restricts the Amazon also restricts the ability to make phone calls, As I have seen quite a few third-party devices haveing that ability now


I can't find anything relating to voice calls in the Alexa Voice Service API, but I've only had a quick look here https://developer.amazon.com/docs/acm/announcements-acm.html

I found this blog stating that Voice calls are coming in the future, but this was from April 2018

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/-alexa-gadgets-voice-calls,news-27036.html
This is NOT a limitation of Alexa or the API provided by Amazon for third parties. This is something that Sonos CAN fix.

When I had the Bose Soundbar 700, it had this exact same problem, and it was simply because Bose had not implemented the new "InteractionModel interface for the Alexa Voice Service". Amazon announced this new interface in August 2018 on their developer blog here:-

https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/a1470f4c-8aaf-4d12-b3bc-5cf38820ff82/alexa-it-s-bedtime-routines-for-avs
I informed Bose about this information, both on their forum and via their telephone support around 25th October 2018. They fixed it in their firmware released on 28th Feb 2019.

I've had my Sonos system over six months now, and I informed Sonos about this interface pretty much as soon as I got the system. I assumed Sonos would be able to address the issue in a similar time frame as Bose managed to. But I'm still waiting.

So if this issue affects you, please call your Sonos support center and let them know about this.



What's the best way to report this? Just to support or is there an enhancement request area? It's a pretty annoying limitation.
Userlevel 1
I would say to call their support center directly and just ask them for a reference number so you know it has been logged as an issue.

https://www.sonos.com/contact/contact-options

Has his been logged as an issue yet?

 

Very frustrating that the features kind of work but then as @Kirk33 says you always get the lecture first. 

Userlevel 1

Until this is resolved I’ll keep telling my friends to avoid Sonos. Two friends have gone elsewhere so far and I’ll keep telling others. 
 

the product is hobbled because they don’t prioritis defect fixing. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

Until this is resolved I’ll keep telling my friends to avoid Sonos. Two friends have gone elsewhere so far and I’ll keep telling others. 
 

the product is hobbled because they don’t prioritis defect fixing. 

This isn’t a true defect if Sonos didn’t design the product to have this functionality, more of a design limitation.  However, what is the functionality you are looking for?  As per my post earlier my Routines output Audio to Sonos devices without issue.

Userlevel 1

Until this is resolved I’ll keep telling my friends to avoid Sonos. Two friends have gone elsewhere so far and I’ll keep telling others. 
 

the product is hobbled because they don’t prioritis defect fixing. 

This isn’t a true defect if Sonos didn’t design the product to have this functionality, more of a design limitation.  However, what is the functionality you are looking for?  As per my post earlier my Routines output Audio to Sonos devices without issue.

 

The beam does not operate as an Alexa enabled device should and as other non-Amazon Alexa enabled devices do. You might want to get into a semantic debate about whether it’s a defect or not, but that’s what I am calling it and as someone in Product Management, I’d accept that terminology if it was my product. 

I certainly won’t be recommending anybody else buys Sonos.

I want to run a routine without it telling me it can’t do it. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

I’m just trying to help people on the forum, I’ve no axe to grind one way or the other.

And I’m not going to get into a competition on who has the most relevant experience with relation to IT or Product Management after 35 years in the business.

Most people buy Sonos products because of the ability to play great music in a multi-room environment. I do find it strange that such a minor issue within a very narrow focused use case can generate such emotion but this obviously is a make or break issue for you.  Sorry I couldn’t help.

Userlevel 1

I’m just trying to help people on the forum, I’ve no axe to grind one way or the other.

And I’m not going to get into a competition on who has the most relevant experience with relation to IT or Product Management after 35 years in the business.

Most people buy Sonos products because of the ability to play great music in a multi-room environment. I do find it strange that such a minor issue within a very narrow focused use case can generate such emotion but this obviously is a make or break issue for you.  Sorry I couldn’t help.

 

Who defines what constitutes a minor issue or a very narrow focus? Routines are becoming a core service in smart speakers. 

I appreciate you may feel you are trying to help, but by downplaying the importance of the issue on a Sonus forum you are doing exactly the opposite. 

Userlevel 1

Exactly this. It is false advertising to state that these sonos devices are certified for use with Alexa.

 

They cannot do routines nor drop in - two of the main benefits of owning an alexa based system. Ridiculous and i wish i had never purchased my sonos enable devies especially now you could have a simple Amazon Echo and set the default outputted speaker to one of your sonos’!!!

Userlevel 3
Badge +1

Sonos, any update? 

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’

 

 

 

This worked perfect for me!

Userlevel 1

I have called Sonos UK support today to see if there is any progress for Alexa Routines, they were very polite and apologetic, but unfortunately they still have no development plan to support this.

Just a reminder that Bose implemented support for Alexa routines in their Feb 2019 firmware, after being notified about the issue in October 2018.

I have called Sonos UK support today to see if there is any progress for Alexa Routines, they were very polite and apologetic, but unfortunately they still have no development plan to support this.

Just a reminder that Bose implemented support for Alexa routines in their Feb 2019 firmware, after being notified about the issue in October 2018.

If you read the post right above yours, you’ll see there’s a work around.

Userlevel 1

I have called Sonos UK support today to see if there is any progress for Alexa Routines, they were very polite and apologetic, but unfortunately they still have no development plan to support this.

Just a reminder that Bose implemented support for Alexa routines in their Feb 2019 firmware, after being notified about the issue in October 2018.

If you read the post right above yours, you’ll see there’s a work around.

Thank you, but I’m still expecting Sonos to implement full support for Alexa routines.   As these are voice enabled devices, I expect Sonos to be on top of the latest developments in this field, and on this issue they are extremely slow.   Remember its not that it can’t be done, as Bose implemented this relatively quickly.

Badge +2

Can't get any routines that I've made myself.

Routines that are available in the alexa app do work.

Strange...

Badge +2

I have called Sonos UK support today to see if there is any progress for Alexa Routines, they were very polite and apologetic, but unfortunately they still have no development plan to support this.

Just a reminder that Bose implemented support for Alexa routines in their Feb 2019 firmware, after being notified about the issue in October 2018.

If you read the post right above yours, you’ll see there’s a work around.

Thank you, but I’m still expecting Sonos to implement full support for Alexa routines.   As these are voice enabled devices, I expect Sonos to be on top of the latest developments in this field, and on this issue they are extremely slow.   Remember its not that it can’t be done, as Bose implemented this relatively quickly.

So you’re saying Alexa routines don’t work with Sonos ?
How come the standard routines do work ?
e.g. Alexa, good morning”, gives me exactly what the routine describes it does.

Although now it doesn’t work anymore, I’ve tested the google assistant yesterday, then reverted back to Alexa, but now the standard routines don’t work anymore, Also the Radio 2 skill, works only with “open radio 2” or “start radio 2” and gives me the right station ( VRT Radio 2 Antwerpen ),
“play radio 2” gives me BBC Radio 2, before Google assistant that also worked fine.
:(  :(

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