Amazon Echo 2

  • 12 September 2017
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Internet connectivity is required for the Alexa voice recognition, I (strongly) suspect Internet connectivity will be required for the Sonos units as well.

There are Alexa design scenarios where there is no direct communication between the echo units and the devices being controlled. Echo -> Alexa cloud -> device cloud -> device Example, i can control my TP-Link smart outlets from the Amazon app on my phone even when I'm not at home because there's an Alexa agent built in. "Alexa turn on reading light." works over mobile data, or any wifi because the command goes from the phone to the Alexa cloud which sends the data to my account on the TP-Link cloud which the smart outlets are connected to.

We don't know (yet) if Sonos will implement a requirement to be on the same local network or not, but there are plenty of real world examples that they don't *need* to. They certainly could, but don't need to.

It's the Alexa "client" -- whether an Echo device, 3rd party device like Eufy, Amazon app on your phone, FireTV, whatever -- is just a remote agent for your Alexa account.
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I have Echo Dot (and Sonos) setups in two homes, one in Brasil and the other in Canada. I can, for example, control Philips Hue lights in one house through spoken commands to an Echo Dot in the other country. I can do the same with my August door locks. So that multi-wifi-network capability exists. I’m not sure why I would want to turn on or control Sonos from another country, but I will be interested to see whether it is possible.
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I can do the same with my August door locks... I’m not sure why I would want to turn on or control Sonos from another country, but I will be interested to see whether it is possible.
The upside of remote music is limited. We do sometimes put some "soothing" music on for the animals remotely.

Let's talk more about how I can unlock your doors when you're in another country though... 😃
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I can do the same with my August door locks... I’m not sure why I would want to turn on or control Sonos from another country, but I will be interested to see whether it is possible.
The upside of remote music is limited. We do sometimes put some "soothing" music on for the animals remotely.

Let's talk more about how I can unlock your doors when you're in another country though... :D


Lol. You also must speak the “secret code” to unlock the door. Good point, though, otherwise a thief could say “Alexa, open the door” from the window and he’d be in. I can lock it without the code.
Heh. One reason I've not hooked up my August locks to voice control.

It would be really nice (and I suspect very hard) if Amazon were to create a way for voice control to be locked down to a specific voice(s). Not foolproof, I could tape someone, but it sure would stop the damn system from responding to the TV all the time. 🙂
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Heh. One reason I've not hooked up my August locks to voice control.

It would be really nice (and I suspect very hard) if Amazon were to create a way for voice control to be locked down to a specific voice(s). Not foolproof, I could tape someone, but it sure would stop the damn system from responding to the TV all the time. :)


The need for a four digit code to unlock with Alexa should make it as secure as the August keypad. To be honest, I disable this if I’m going to be absent for some time. I can always use the August app to let someone in. I also remove the keypad accessory, which easily snaps off its base. I don’t want to tempt fate. The ability to make Sonos “bark” remotely might be nice.
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I do have my garage door open close setup with Alexa. Instead of giving Alexa control directly of the switch I have Smartthings virtual switch setup. You can name the switch whatever you want to make it activate. So instead of Open Garage Door ... I make the switch name like 12457 Garage Open. So you would have to know the code number to activate the switch.
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Excellent idea. I’ll keep that in mind.
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Regarding the question of whether the sonos integration will work with echos only, or all alexa enabled devices, I think it's hard to say. Amazon's own mulitroom functionality only works on echo devices, not fire devices. I can only speculate on whether that's due to hardware restrictions or a functional design choice. Regardless, if the sonos integration is leveraging this functionality, then it's quite possible that it only works on echos. It may be that a local echo needs to communicate directly with a sonos device, and therefore fire devices don't have this communication ability (I'm guessing).

Then again, it's also quite possible that it works by an Alexa device talking to Amazon servers, which talk to Sonos servers, which then talk to your local sonos system. I think I'd prefer this setup, but I can see some potential issues with it as well.

Really, I think I'll be happy with whatever it is...as long as it works.
As stated previously, Sonos has stated in no uncertain terms the Alexa/Sonos implementation will work with any Alexa enabled device.
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I see that Amazon have now added voice control to their mobile music app:

http://www.musicweek.com/digital/read/alexa-goes-mobile-for-amazon-music-app/069908

"Amazon has today (September 26) added the Alexa voice control system to the Amazon Music app on iOS and Android in the UK, US, Germany and Austria.

The app allows listeners to either browse the interface as usual, or ask Alexa to play the music the want using the push-to-talk function. Music Week has witnessed a demo of the new service, which responds to a range of voice commands including requests for an artist’s new song without specifying the track’s name.

Customers can ask for music based on genre, decade, mood, tempo, activity or even the lyrics if they are unable to remember the name of a song.

While Alexa has becoming an increasingly popular method of accessing Amazon’s streaming service in the home, the mobile option means voice activation and music can be combined on the move, whether in the car, running or commuting.

“We felt that the future of music streaming growth would be driven by the home and then probably after that the car – both environments where voice control is really important,” Paul Firth, Amazon UK’s head of Amazon Music, told Music Week.

The extension of Alexa to the Amazon Music app also enables users to make voice activation requests beyond music, such as asking about the day’s weather.

“Amazon Music customers already know and love Alexa from listening on Echo devices,” said Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music. “Now our mobile listeners can enjoy an entirely new app experience that combines the power and simplicity of Alexa voice controls with the visual richness of the Amazon Music app.”

The catalogue for Amazon’s premium subscription service totals more than 40 million songs.

Alexa is now available by updating the Amazon Music app for iOS or Android. Alexa is also available for Amazon Music customers on Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Edition and Fire Tablets."
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Amazon has today (September 26) added the Alexa voice control system to the Amazon Music app on iOS and Android in the UK, US, Germany and Austria.
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As stated previously, Sonos has stated in no uncertain terms the Alexa/Sonos implementation will work with any Alexa enabled device.

Understood, but that doesn't change the fact that I'll forget little details like that, admittedly. And I like to think about it out loud anyway. And it's quite possible that was the original plan, but Amazon has a different plan in mind.
Amazon has today (September 26) added the Alexa voice control system to the Amazon Music app on iOS and Android in the UK, US, Germany and Austria.

Installed on the iPad, pushed the button, said "Alexa, play some jazz". Was briefly surprised when music started playing on the big QUADs across the room. Then I realized it was the Dot into my Connect:Amp that heard the wake word. Doh! No need to say "Alexa" in the Amazon Music app, it's button activated. What a maroon! 😳
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Alexa in the music app is kind of a big deal. It appears that it's full Alexa, not just Alexa for music playback on your phone. In other words, you can ask Alexa random questions, execute your skills, and maybe most importantly, all your smart home stuff. Yes, you could control your smarthome before, but not through voice control.

I see some big uses for this.
1 - In the car. If you connect the phone through Bluetooth, Alexa (and music) will now speak through the car. And maybe this was already a thing with Siri or Google, but it's new to me. I can see myself using it quite frequently. Especially as a way for the kids to request their music choices.

2- In the back yard. Post sonos/alexa integration, I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to do voice control play in the backyard. I figured I'd have to get an alexa remote, but now I can just use the phone.

For Amazon, it's kind of a cheap easy way to introduce Alexa to people. The one drawback I've seen is that it will only play Amazon music sources. I tried to tell it to play Pandora and it told me it wasn't supported.
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The one drawback I've seen is that it will only play Amazon music sources. I tried to tell it to play Pandora and it told me it wasn't supported.Yes, I think when the 'whole voice controlled thing' finally (initially) arrives, it will 'only' control Amazon sources. Maybe that's what many expect but I think there's far more expecting 'full' voice control of their System, irrespective of the music's source (inc. locally stored music).
Anyone know where Amazon sits in the numbers regarding streaming services?
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The one drawback I've seen is that it will only play Amazon music sources. I tried to tell it to play Pandora and it told me it wasn't supported.Yes, I think when the 'whole voice controlled thing' finally (initially) arrives, it will 'only' control Amazon sources. Maybe that's what many expect but I think there's far more expecting 'full' voice control of their System, irrespective of the music's source (inc. locally stored music).
Anyone know where Amazon sits in the numbers regarding streaming services?


I disagree. It makes sense that you can't play pandora through the amazon music app. It's different from echo in the sense that it doesn't have to stream everything. It could be playing a track stored locally. I would think for music app, all music requests are just handed to the Amazon app. If the music was simply streamed through Alexa, then it should be able to handle Pandora, or XM, or anything Alexa can handle on an echo.

So what happens if sonos works the same way? All music requests are just handed off to Sonos. Then it should be up to sonos to decide what it can and cannot play. So theoretically, if you had Apple music setup on Sonos, but no amazon, and Amazon Unlimited on your echo...your request to play Song X in a sonos zone, commanded through echo would actually play on Apple music.

I can see where Amazon, being a business would try to push the use of Amazon music. However, they already opened up Spotify, Pandora, iheart radio, tunein, and xm...clearly competitors. I don't see why they wouldn't do the same with these integrations.
I tried to tell it to play Pandora and it told me it wasn't supported.

Can you play Pandora from a regular Echo device?
I can control my smart outlets using the Amazon Music app Alexa button. it looks to be a full Alexa client with additional controls over the Amazon music app, so I'd expect it to be usable to control Sonos just like any other Alexa device.
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I see the new Echo devices have now been launched, and as predicted now claim to offer better audio quality than the previous models at a lower price. The new Echo does look much nicer now, and I'd be interested to see/hear a comparison in sound quality with a Play 1.
I see the new Echo devices have now been launched, and as predicted now claim to offer better audio quality than the previous models at a lower price. The new Echo does look much nicer now, and I'd be interested to see/hear a comparison in sound quality with a Play 1.

No way will it sound even remotely as good as a Play:1, and it won't stereo pair, so hardly a competitor for serious listeners.
I see the new Echo devices have now been launched, and as predicted now claim to offer better audio quality than the previous models at a lower price. The new Echo does look much nicer now, and I'd be interested to see/hear a comparison in sound quality with a Play 1.

No way will it sound even remotely as good as a Play:1, and it won't stereo pair, so hardly a competitor for serious listeners.
I agree. Amazon has the house covered for the masses (small bedroom, kitchen, etc) but leaves off where Sonos can pick up. Higher end quality for your main music listening. If they integrate seamlessly, they complement each other perfectly.
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Yeah, I'm sure that the echo devices won't sound as good as Play 1's, and in my opinion the Sonos speakers sound fantastic and I think they actually are the perfect middle ground speaker, when you need great sound and convenience.

The Echos are a more feature packed Speaker, but with lower sound quality, and then if you're really serious about high quality audio then you're prepared to lose out on the convenience and use 'proper' hifi equipment.
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Can you play Pandora from a regular Echo device?


yes.

I see the new Echo devices have now been launched, and as predicted now claim to offer better audio quality than the previous models at a lower price. The new Echo does look much nicer now, and I'd be interested to see/hear a comparison in sound quality with a Play 1.

No way will it sound even remotely as good as a Play:1, and it won't stereo pair, so hardly a competitor for serious listeners.


But control is a major factor. I'd argue that many sonos customers would be willing to sacrifice a bit of quality for the convenience of voice control. Many people have come here saying the exact same thing. And looking in history, you could make an argument that consumers chose lower quality mp3s over CD audio because of the control factor.

That does not mean that Sonos is doomed, since they most certainly can integrate voice control. They just need to do it well.
We don't know (yet) if Sonos will implement a requirement to be on the same local network or not, but there are plenty of real world examples that they don't *need* to. They certainly could, but don't need to.

And they don't. I can control my Sonos players from my cell phone's Amazon music app using the Alexa agent when on mobile data, and not on wifi. So one can remotely control Sonos via Alexa.

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