Question

Snips acquisition - likelihood that a local voice assistant will run on existing Sonos One hardware?

  • 25 November 2019
  • 5 replies
  • 263 views

Curious whether a successful implementation of Snips technology (from the recent acquisition) will mean this:

  • Sonos launches a local network only voice assistant (their language around privacy and the Snips features supports this)
  • That this local voice assistant will run on existing Sonos One hardware (including 1st Gen)

Please let this be so!

Any thoughts on how realistic this hope is?


5 replies

None whatsoever.

Your first point seems reasonable, at least in my eyes, but the second can’t be known at all until they get some actual code to implement, see what’s required to make it function, and then see how much CPU and additional RAM might be necessary….then they’d also have to split their firmware into different versions that would run on different devices. I’m pretty sure all devices run the same firmware right now. Then they’d have to write a new update mechanism to handle updating each different device with each version of the firmware, and write a backend that is capable of serving all the different versions.

Honestly, while many or most of those things might be wonderful for us as consumers, I suspect it would quickly become a challenge for Sonos to maintain. I shudder to think of asking a QA group to manage testing for all of that. Might need to increase that group five fold, or more, not to mention the other groups to code and support so many different code bases. 

they’d also have to split their firmware into different versions that would run on different devices.

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Then they’d have to write a new update mechanism to handle updating each different device with each version of the firmware, and write a backend that is capable of serving all the different versions.

That’s always been the case anyway. Each model requests its own image from the update server. This much used to be visible in the diagnostics, until Sonos pulled those pages from user access.

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Kurt here asking: How long? I and wondering how long before we can use Snips from your purchase of it? Must I buy a new speaker? I hope not. I have a Sonos 1 speaker ..that has the Alexa speaker and mic in it on top.. (that I can turn into a Google Assistant if I want) but now I really want to turn it into the a Snips speaker for Sonos for better music controlling and more privacy. How early can we perhaps change the Sonos 1 speaker into a snips speaker? Thanks.. I’m looking at this article about Snips here:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-13/what-the-sonos-google-war-means-for-big-tech 

Nobody knows. Given that the purchase was relatively recent, I’d suggest it would be a significant amount of time to incorporate the code base, figure out how to make it fit on all the players, and implement it. 

Sonos doesn’t normally tell us about future features in their software, so we’re unlikely to get a commitment from them as to whether this is a possibility, much less when it will happen. 

In some respect, I don’t know that the tech would be too difficult.  The devices already have a control structure in place and are ready to take commands from external sources.  There is the controller apps, 2 different voice assistants (coming from cloud servers) and open APIs.  So perhaps Sonos can plug in the snips software as a separate module on the devices, so to speak, and just have it translate text to the existing APIs.  Maybe that’s fairly easy, maybe it’s not.  It could also be that that the devices need to communicate with each other in different ways, since you’d want a speaker in one room to control a speaker in a different room, without any intermediates.  That may be something new.

 

There may also be some legal/business stuff to work through.  Right now, you can’t have GA and Alexa on the same speaker, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2 companies don’t want snips running at the same time either.  That would be a big drawback for implementing snips, since you’d lose the ability to get general information, control your smart home, etc.  Perhaps, Sonos needs to get a better idea of how the Google lawsuit is going to go before they can get too far with Snips.

 

There’s also the potential that Sonos wants to release Snips along with a new speaker, or timed with the Christmas retail season.  Maybe Sonos feels they need a new echo input/dot like device for voice input paired with their non-microphone equipped products, since echo dots and google mini’s can no longer fulfill that role.

 

Even if Sonos was open to sharing such info with consumers, I’m doubtful they even really know with much certainty themselves right now.

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