Patiently waiting for Alexa Integration


Anyone else? I am using Yonomi to connect to SONOS, but it is quite buggy... especially if I have my zones grouped, etc. I am PATIENTLY waiting for full integration from SONOS...... hoping it is soon!:D

30 replies

Given the rather large number of new threads that occur every week in these boards, in multiple areas, I'd suggest that you're not the only one.
Given how long this is taking, I am now at the cusp of deciding to replace sonos.
No idea why they wont tell us anything :(
It's their big failure. Had they just let us get with them on development, test with them and be a part of the process, we would all be ok with the wait. The dead air is making me shop for other products now honestly. I feel slighted by the lack of perceived progress.
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Development on this one is definitely moving forward well, but speaking from experience, the team hates showing their work before it's just about done. We'll be sure to let everyone know when there are opportunities to beta test the software, and of course, we'll shout it from the rooftops when it's ready to go.

It will be available this year. And the team isn't going to rush it out the door just so we can say we have it. They'll be taking the time to do it right.
Ryan S wrote:

Development on this one is definitely moving forward well, but speaking from experience, the team hates showing their work before it's just about done. We'll be sure to let everyone know when there are opportunities to beta test the software, and of course, we'll shout it from the rooftops when it's ready to go.

It will be available this year. And the team isn't going to rush it out the door just so we can say we have it. They'll be taking the time to do it right.




Thanks for the reply. By this year is the problem with the statement for me. I run agile teams. I get no dates, but you've got to have a general idea on progress for a quarter. As customers, hearing "this year" could very well mean we will have gone 17 months with the promise of integration before first seeing a beta. This conversation began in July of 2016. A bit more transparency is what those of us who heavily reinvested in the Sonos line would like to make sure we didn't make purchasing fools of ourselves along the way. I promise that if I had a play 5 with a line in, I'd probably complain less but, c'est la vie!
Jackdforme wrote:

It's their big failure. Had they just let us get with them on development, test with them and be a part of the process, we would all be ok with the wait. The dead air is making me shop for other products now honestly. I feel slighted by the lack of perceived progress.



Sonos has a long established software development/release methodology, which includes private testing followed by public beta testing, followed by a general release. They announced last year that a private beta test will be followed by a public release in 2017. We are not even half way through 2017, why in the world would you feel slighted?
jgatie wrote:

Jackdforme wrote:

It's their big failure. Had they just let us get with them on development, test with them and be a part of the process, we would all be ok with the wait. The dead air is making me shop for other products now honestly. I feel slighted by the lack of perceived progress.



Sonos has a long established software development/release methodology, which includes private testing followed by public beta testing, followed by a general release. They announced last year that a private beta test will be followed by a public release in 2017. We are not even half way through 2017, why in the world would you feel slighted?




I feel that way because of the lack of comms around the timing, not the timing itself. Its just been a lack of info on progress or detail to satiate those who've spent tons of cash and want to see the value of their investment. My priority one was making sure Echo worked with my setup. For you, it might not be. But for me it is.

Secondly, it's in their best interest to prioritize this over niche features like tuning that is hit or miss typically. The competition is getting fierce, many other brands are either releasing or about to release direct competition to Sonos etc.
Jackdforme wrote:


I feel that way because of the lack of comms around the timing, not the timing itself. Its just been a lack of info on progress or detail to satiate those who've spent tons of cash and want to see the value of their investment. My priority one was making sure Echo worked with my setup. For you, it might not be. But for me it is.

Secondly, it's in their best interest to prioritize this over niche features like tuning that is hit or miss typically. The competition is getting fierce, many other brands are either releasing or about to release direct competition to Sonos etc.



Assuming the implementation is now in private beta as previously announced, it is understandable that no communication would be happening. Private beta is just that, private. Sonos has always been notoriously silent about private betas in the past. Matter of fact, some of us here have joked that you can tell when something big is coming because everyone in the know gets real quiet.

As to your priority of making sure Echo works with your investment, Sonos has explicitly stated the following:

These new voice capabilities will be delivered in a software update that will work with new and previously purchased Sonos and Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Amazon Fire TV.



I'm not really sure how a progress report on their private beta testing is going to give you any more assurance that your investment is warranted. They have stated in no uncertain terms that the voice control capabilities will work with all Sonos and Alexa devices sold, present and past. Asking honestly, what more reassurance do you need?

I understand the impatience. I'm impatient myself. But to imply that impatience is due to Sonos "slighting" its customers in some way is quite disingenuous. They appear to be right on schedule, and their silence on this implementation, which we can assume to be in private beta, is quite understandable given the history of their development cycles in the past.
Ryan S wrote:

Development on this one is definitely moving forward well, but speaking from experience, the team hates showing their work before it's just about done. We'll be sure to let everyone know when there are opportunities to beta test the software, and of course, we'll shout it from the rooftops when it's ready to go.

It will be available this year. And the team isn't going to rush it out the door just so we can say we have it. They'll be taking the time to do it right.

Ryan, thank you for this reply. I have worked directly with SONOS staff in the past and understand that only the very best product will be released when it is ready. I look forward to a public Beta!!
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I'm still wondering what speaker system people are jumping off Sonos (who is in active development implementing) to ..... what competitor that has Echo support (other than your basic Bluetooth speaker which isn't a jumping off point).

I guess you could try Denon - who as far as I know hasn't said a peep about Echo integration since they said "me too" last year when Sonos announced their active development.
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There is a very active skill development underway for Logitech Media Server - working for Logitech players and other soft LMS players, even including Sonos devices as upnp players.
Between the new server version released in February plus active Echo development, Squeezebox players are suddenly getting a lot of attention again.
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Hopefully it's much more stable then when I ditched it for Sonos. Always been pretty powerful software with the user base developing about anything and everything for it. Just catch 22 when it came to stability.
Ryan S wrote:


It will be available this year. And the team isn't going to rush it out the door just so we can say we have it. They'll be taking the time to do it right.


Good. But you do realise that with this statement you have raised expectations of what the integration will mean; that it will be more than just "start music/stop music" commands, for example.
It's no win job, Ryan!
I really don't understand why people are getting themselves so wound up about not being 'informed' or that it's slow to come out. Sonos have said it's coming. It's going to happen. It could be worse. They could be saying sorry not gonna integrate it, or our systems aren't compatible, or like some product manufacturers they just don't update their systems. Guys; your going to get new functionality for free. Relax, put some music on the old fashioned way (by using your app), sit back and enjoy it.
I agree with the previous post from Preveo...just use the dang app. I have an Echo Dot and don't really use it that often in the first place. It was fun at first but that "new toy" feeling has passed. It'll be a nice option to have Alexa control Sonos but it's not a must have. What I would love to see is an improved interface with Amazon Music. I personally think that should be a higher priority!
Hawk_1, interesting you say that about it being 'new toy'. I've got alexa and it's great to start off playing some music by walking into the room and speaking to it, but if there's any-one in the room you can't really use it after that. If you're with friends or family it's far less intrusive to use a remote or app to change volume or tracks than keep talking to Alexa. It's a fun gimmick and maybe a bit of fun if you are all choosing tracks, but it's not a game changer by any stretch of the imagination.
preveo wrote:

Hawk_1, interesting you say that about it being 'new toy'. I've got alexa and it's great to start off playing some music by walking into the room and speaking to it, but if there's any-one in the room you can't really use it after that. If you're with friends or family it's far less intrusive to use a remote or app to change volume or tracks than keep talking to Alexa. It's a fun gimmick and maybe a bit of fun if you are all choosing tracks, but it's not a game changer by any stretch of the imagination.



Amazon is aware of this. That is why an Echo can also be controlled with a dedicated hard button remote or the Alexa app. They are even putting a touchscreen on their next Alexa based product. I'm sure Sonos is also aware of this and will maintain hard button and app based control options in addition to voice control for Sonos players.

The key is what is going to provide the "minimum time to music" when you decide you want to listen to something. In most cases you will be able to speak a command and have the music start in less time than it takes to fish a phone out of your pocket and wake up the Sonos app let alone actually browse to something and get it started playing. After that the best option for accomplishing additional tasks will vary according to the task and situation. Nothing beats hard buttons for quick muting or volume changes. Nothing beats a screen for editing a playlist or just browsing your music collection.

I don't think many people will end up using a single control strategy exclusively and I don't think products that don't offer all 3 options are likely to do well in the future.
Totally agree upstatemike. Alexa is awesome for starting the music and it just depends on the mood/situation. If you're on your own Alexa's great. If it's a chilled evening with friends around dinner then the last thing you want to keep doing is saying "Alexa, Volume 3" "Alexa, next track". If it's a party then using Alexa is fun. Great to have both alternatives but if you gave me a choice between voice integration and app, then it's app all the way. However in the future we'll have both!
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I don't mind the wait primarily because I can imagine so many ways that the integration can be done wrong. First, Sonos must negotiate with Amazon to figure out who is going to responsible for which part of the integrations. As well, Amazon (and maybe Sonos) how much information to share about how their stuff works and what their future plans are. Sonos also has to make sure their plan will be compatible with Google Home and others, if the need to go that direction. Not to mention future enhancements. Echo isn't a finished product, so as they add features Sonos will need to now whether they can or want to leverage those features. The integration absolutely is something they should do, but it's not an easy task at all.

Some of the things I want to know.
- How much effort will be put into zone control. Will you be able to group zones on the fly by voice or will they need to setup named zones?
- Can you tie a specific zone to a specific echo. In that way, if you ask echo/alexa to play a song, it automatically plays in the default zone.
- If a zone is tied to a specific echo, can you set it so only music plays on your sonos, not the voice feedback? I'd like to talk to the echo without pausing music or the tv sound.
- Will the integration only work when Echo is the source? For example, can I tell echo to source music from 'line in'?
- Will you be able to search a local music library by voice?
- Since Amazon is now integrating video with the Echo Show, will Sonos leverage any of those features? Say the ability to select zones with the Show's touchscreen? If not now, is that a possible future feature?
- Since Echo's will now have voice calling, will Echo automatically mute Sonos when you receive a call?
- Will you be able to setup a schedule or alarm features through Echo?
- Will you be able to group Sonos commands with other smart home devices, so that you can do things like dim lights when you play music and so on. (You can do this with a smart hub integration already, but it is limited)

These are all things that don't work that great when trying to integrate through Yanomi, Smartthings, or Lutron's hub (all things I've tried). If the direct integration doesn't do much better, it's not going to be that useful. I'd much rather it be done right, then done quickly.
Good list of questions. I don't expect we'll find out any of those specific until such time as they release the software (or someone breaks the NDA in any beta that may or may not be going on).

My hope is that the answer to most of them will be "Yes", due to the length of time that it's taking to work on this. My hope is that they're trying to do it "right", rather than just a "simple" integration.
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Jackdforme wrote:

Ryan S wrote:

Development on this one is definitely moving forward well, but speaking from experience, the team hates showing their work before it's just about done. We'll be sure to let everyone know when there are opportunities to beta test the software, and of course, we'll shout it from the rooftops when it's ready to go.

It will be available this year. And the team isn't going to rush it out the door just so we can say we have it. They'll be taking the time to do it right.




Thanks for the reply. By this year is the problem with the statement for me. I run agile teams. I get no dates, but you've got to have a general idea on progress for a quarter. As customers, hearing "this year" could very well mean we will have gone 17 months with the promise of integration before first seeing a beta. This conversation began in July of 2016. A bit more transparency is what those of us who heavily reinvested in the Sonos line would like to make sure we didn't make purchasing fools of ourselves along the way. I promise that if I had a play 5 with a line in, I'd probably complain less but, c'est la vie!



We were promised this would be fully integrated by the first quarter of 2017. This original date even seemed a little unreasonable although Sonos insisted that it had to be 100% right before they were willing to release anything. Now I'm hearing by the end of 2017, this is completely unreasonable. Had I known last year that this was gonna be at least another year I would have explored other technologies. I'm now thinking about replacing my Sonos systems
KenRosie wrote:


We were promised this would be fully integrated by the first quarter of 2017. This original date even seemed a little unreasonable although Sonos insisted that it had to be 100% right before they were willing to release anything. Now I'm hearing by the end of 2017, this is completely unreasonable. Had I known last year that this was gonna be at least another year I would have explored other technologies. I'm now thinking about replacing my Sonos systems



No you were not promised by first quarter 2017. The statement in the official press release was:

These new voice capabilities will be delivered in a software update that will work with new and previously purchased Sonos and Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Amazon Fire TV. The companies will begin rolling out the experience through an invite-only beta test later this year, with general availability in 2017.



http://press-us.sonos.com/134980-sonos-with-partners-and-industry-leaders-ushers-in-new-era-of-connected-home-listening

Any mention of early 2017 was an assumption by the press, an assumption which ignored the official statement above.
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For me the issue is this: I'm really unhappy with the usability of my Sonos speakers. They're beautiful speakers and I love the idea of them. I just hate that I can't play what I want to play (Audible, continuity of Podcasts, etc). I would rather know sooner rather than later if the Echo integration is going to fix the issues I have.

My hope is that it will be a full integration and I'll be able to play Echo through my Sonos Speakers -- that way I can connect my phone to the Echo via bluetooth and play anything/everything from my iphone through my Sonos.

But I don't want to wait a year only to find out that's not going to be possible. THAT is why I would like a little more information on how this integration will work. If I'm still suck using the Sonos App and just voicing my commands rather than pressing buttons on my phone, that doesn't add usability for me. It just changes how I do what I already do. So I'd rather know now if continuing to wait it out with Sonos is going to be a waste of time.

The reason I'm concerned it's taking so long (both to get more information and for the actual integration to roll out) is that I've been waiting well over a year for the promised Audible integration. I'm used to promises from Sonos that drag out and don't manifest.

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