Sonos as Intercom / PA system

  • 19 November 2012
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78 replies

Jeff - that is not an app developed by Sonos ... it is a third party app.
PAUL:   AMEN and AMEN!!  I have this exact same need!!!    I do home automated voice announces via the Line-In on one zone - -but use very funky ways to group zones to do this.   AND - - I have a near-impossible time to do any kind of "RESUME".  
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There is an update to the iphone app for Sonos Voice. It came out 11/12/2013.  It is working much better.  Somehow they've got it so it will resume music play after being interrupted with a page from Sonos Voice.  You have to leave the Sonos Voice app on the screen until it completely stops, then it goes back to the music playing in the app.  It appears to have paused the music, then resumed it.  It's getting closer to what I wanted.  Sonos needs to buy this app and incorporate it into their system.

Mark
I just spent the $0.99 to try out the Sonos Voice app and here is my feedback:

  1. Although it works, it is buggy and crashes regularly.
  2. It does not seem to allow you to pause music from the app, make an announcement, and then resume the music; it just switches the source for the speakers you select to Sonosvoice.wav and then you have to go back into your Sonos controller and reselect your music source.
  3. No documentation.
  4. There is an echo/ffedback on the broadcasted voice that is sent to the speakers.
  5. All said, kudos to the app developer for making the app though; it shows it is possible and there are ways to improve it... Sonos?

I agree with Mark below, integrating this into the standard Sonos controller apps would be very nice.
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Actually, if you have the latest version of the app, after you use the page app, hit the stop button.  It takes a few seconds, and says "stopping...".  Let it finish, and then the music will come back on.  Works every time for me.  It was a big improvement over the first version.  Looking forward to them coming out with another version.

Mark
It would be great to be able to speak in a mic of a computer / phone / tablet either through a separate app or, better, through the controller, to send some announcement to a  player. That would bring a whole new usage to the Sonos system and potential drive buying more players. 

I could not test the iphone app as I am using android, but it looks like an interesting first step.

I strongly support this idea.
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Developer of the app here. I've programmed it so that it will resume audio playback, as long as it's an audio track (such as a Spotify track or something from your Sonos library) and not a dynamically generated audio stream. (i.e. Pandora or SirusXM). That is due to a technical limitation imposed on me from Sonos I haven't been able to find a work around. So, as long as it's not a radio stream it should pick up playback right where you left off just fine.

I have another version coming out soon that will be a lot less stable and less crashes. There will still be a delay (Can't find away around that. Sonos seems to force a buffer of all audio streams.). The feedback echo loop you get is because of that streaming buffering delay, it can usually be fixed by lowering the volume. I'm experimenting with some echo cancellation logic but haven't been able to find anything that works as smoothly as I'd like.

You guy are always welcome to reach out to me (you can e-mail me through the "Info" button in the app) if you guys have any suggestions or questions on how I can help make the app better for you!

Best,

Drew
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Developer of the app here. I've programmed it so that it will resume audio playback, as long as it's an audio track (such as a Spotify track or something from your Sonos library) and not a dynamically generated audio stream. (i.e. Pandora or SirusXM). That is due to a technical limitation imposed on me from Sonos I haven't been able to find a work around. So, as long as it's not a radio stream it should pick up playback right where you left off just fine.

I have another version coming out soon that will be a lot more stable and less crashes. There will still be a delay (Can't find away around that. Sonos seems to force a buffer of all audio streams.). The feedback echo loop you get is because of that streaming buffering delay, it can usually be fixed by lowering the volume. I'm experimenting with some echo cancellation logic but haven't been able to find anything that works as smoothly as I'd like.

You guy are always welcome to reach out to me (you can e-mail me through the "Info" button in the app) if you guys have any suggestions or questions on how I can help make the app better for you!

Best,

Drew
There is a new iphone app called sonos voice that actually does what we are asking here. It's a little buggy.
Is your app available for Android?  I am not finding it in the Play Store.
Today i asked support for a compareable question. In my case it is to simulate my door bell.
But i need an easy to use interface/api which can called from some other embedded devices (and not high level devices running android/windows etc.).
I'm prefering having a REST-API. where i can stream/send file which are played in a group or all devices. Also possible: Call an API where a file (recorded door bell) in network will be accepted. this will played and sonos returns into their prev. states,
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Sonos to utility as the Intercom System. Can Sonos integrate or create new app so we can use your system as the Intercom system? This is going to attract more customer? I can development this app if Sonos agree on the contract?
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Speaker functions. Is there a sonos app that allows you to talk through the speakers? I currently have 2 sonos speakers in my gym for music and it works wonderfully. I was wondering if I could hook up a wireless mic to be able to speak through the speakers?
Drew, i bought your app.  I have to say I like it.  Ditto on the android version.  Any thoughts on developing something for that platform?

Also, I tried connecting through a VPN, and while I see the Sonos players using the app, I can't actually connect to it.  I realize this is a limitation of Sonos and multicasting through a VPN (I spent hours trying figure out how to make it work).  I was hoping to use the app to talk to would be burglars in case of a break in, but I guess no dice. You might want to put a VPN disclaimer for people like me don't complain 😉
would this help, maybe this community can tweak further more to this cause. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORjYg03GCNQ
I totally agree and am glad there are others requesting this feature. We just finished custom installing 7 zones of Sonos equipment in a large home when the client asked if it was possible to use the Sonos to call the kids down for dinner. We thought it was a great idea and realized it could be a feature implemented in all of our large installations. This would tap into a whole other market that we currently have to use a separate system for.

That being said, it has to be made simple. The feature would need to be accessed from directly in the Sonos app and within just a few clicks. For example Click on Sonos > Intercom > Pick the rooms > Talk into the phone.

Coming from a custom AV integration company, this would be a great selling feature for some of our large venue clients.
I totally agree and am glad there are others requesting this feature. We just finished custom installing 7 zones of Sonos equipment in a large home when the client asked if it was possible to use the Sonos to call the kids down for dinner. We thought it was a great idea and realized it could be a feature implemented in all of our large installations. This would tap into a whole other market that we currently have to use a separate system for.

That being said, it has to be made simple. The feature would need to be accessed from directly in the Sonos app and within just a few clicks. For example Click on Sonos > Intercom > Pick the rooms > Talk into the phone.

Coming from a custom AV integration company, this would be a great selling feature for some of our large venue clients.

This is the down side to sonos being a proprietary closed system. Sonos please seriously consider opening up some api's for develops to write apps too. This is a use case specifically tailored to the customer who buys your equipment. I have been a sonos customer for three or four years. Love it. I moved and have been renovating a home. I nearly bought your sound bar and amp but others are catching up dennon as an example and others.

I bought a traditional surround system and Repurposed a sonos connect instead. Why? Flexibility. Sonos would have got the sale of you had open Eco system of others writing to your PLATFORM. My opinion and I am only the consumer with connects, amp, play 1s 3s and 5s, is that I would invest (that's what consumers of your product do) more in sonos if you even pretended a little bit more that you wanted to leverage an apple and android Eco system of apps.

If you had say a voxer app or similar that enabled intercom and other things like integrating nest devices into your single management Gui.

Sonos you guys are awesome but the same thing that got you into our homes can be your undoing by an upstart who embraces open api's and views their devices as a platform to be leveraged by an Eco system including us the users to utilize in ways that make life easier and better and. Leverages our investments. Sonos isn't cheap. If you want to command a premium you should begin to look at being able to do it long term. Open your systems to innovation. Don't be the Microsoft or Cisco of sound. Be the apple or Arista networks of sound.
I also strongly support this feature.  I have four zones in my home and would love to be able make announcements to my family summoning them to dinner or making announcement to guests who are outside.
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Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?
Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?


I saw the posts in this conversation about it, but I hesitated to try it because the current reviews are reporting issues, namely echo.  It seems promising so I'll wait until there is more evidence it is working well.
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Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?


SonosVoice developer here.

If you turn your volume up really high, there IS an echo. And there isn't much I can do about it. 

But as long as you keep the Sonos volume to a reasonable volume you shouldn't hear any echo.

But hey, it's only a buck. Try it out. If you don't like it just send me an e-mail and I'm more than happy to refund you.

Drew
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Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?


It has come a long way since first introduced and works very well now.

Echo - if you call it echo there is a slight delay from when you speak and when it comes out the speakers.  Just say what you want and don't listen for your voice and you are fine.
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Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?


Thanks Chris. 🙂

That delay is Sonos buffering the audio stream. Sonos always delays playback by at least 0.5 second to buffer the stream. For music it doesn't matter and isn't even noticeable, but for real time audio it definitely becomes a bummer.

P.S. If you like the app you should totally go and leave a good review. :)

Drew
Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?


OK. I'll give it a try soon, and report back how I find it.  Thanks!
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Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?


Added review for the app.  Drew - great work on all the improvements you have made since the first version (I have had since it first came out).  The original had a lot of good intentions and the newest version has become a very solid and useful tool.
Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?


OK.  I purchased the app and find that it works pretty well.  The "echo" associated with the delay is understandable given the buffering.  Most of the time I'll be using this to communicate with rooms out of earshot so it won't be an issue. Overall the app functions as promised and seems stable.  I'd recommend it to others especially given that it seems like Drew has been responsive to improvements.

Minor Suggestions:  
 I was a little confused in the startup phase when the app is connecting with the designated speakers because the button says "Starting..." so I thought I could start speaking.  I think "Please Wait..." would  be a little more intuitive.   But I liked how it seems to make sure the zone was ready to receive audio before you started.  I have my zones connected through a distribution amplifier to in-ceiling speakers and if they are in low-power idle mode they take a few seconds to wake up.

Sonos terminology uses "Zones"  so it would be a little more consistent to refer to Zones in the app vs. "Speakers". This is just a minor point.

Another idea is to have an option to play a tone at the start of a broadcast which could be fun to catch people's attention.

Thanks.
Have you tried the Sonos Voice ios App?


I agree with Rob. Very good suggestions.