Sonos, open your platform via api's to innovation; please!

  • 20 November 2014
  • 13 replies

Intercom system, manager of nest or nest like devices or internet of things/other things & innovation not yet conceived . Lock in and lowest common denominator: This is the down side to sonos being a proprietary closed system. Sonos please seriously consider opening up some api's for developers to write apps to. A intercom system 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 sub but others are catching up, dennon as an example, and others. Patent infringement lawsuits won't stop innovation and imitators. Only your innovation will maintain your position. Open your APIs!! I bought a traditional surround system and Repurposed a sonos connect instead. Why? Flexibility and future protection.. Sonos would have got the sale ifyou had an 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, wow would that be innovative. 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 AND home automation and innovation!

13 replies

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I got this thread pop in my inbox and been trying to avoid reading it - just the title makes my sick.

Why does sonos or it's customer base need to have an open platform for developers to abuse - don't get me wrong your not all like that and open source has it's place.
Yes there are users of these systems that are more tech savvy and a lot of good ideas come from open source platforms that allows developers to write api's etc for them to add extra control over the lighting or heating as well as sound, but I would guess for most user they are just happy with what they have and how easy it was to set up and use.

Plus you say don't be like $MS or Cisco and say be the Apple - Well sonos is the Apple of sound, closed platform and very user friendly.

Maybe sonos could be like Android with the way it allows any tom-dick-or-harry to publish a dodgy app and you never know sonos next OS update could get a funky sounding name.

Userlevel 1
There are already somewhat more open alternatives: DTS Play-Fi and Qualcomm AllPlay. I don't think any of them is open as free as in beer as there must be some licensing etc behind them but at least there are multiple vendors selling products based on them already.

I agree with you in that Sonos should somehow open their platform via APIs, and I don't think that would ruin the experience or make it harder to enjoy. If you try something and it doesn't work for you, just scrap it. In my opinion, the weakest link in the Sonos range is the controller, and I think many of the user submitted ideas would already be implemented if the controller was developed using a set of open Sonos APIs, even as an open source project. Sonos could learn a thing or two from XBMC or Plex indeed (I want Sonos in my Plex; that would be  a w e s o m e).
An open Sonos API? You mean like this:
Userlevel 1
An open Sonos API? You mean like this:
Well I have no access to the docs for that APIs but I presume they are to be implemented by content providers (Spotify, Deezer etc) so Sonos' zone players can pull content from them. I don't think this API is open at all, and what's missing is an open API for the interaction between the controllers and the players, to access the state of the zones, etc
An open Sonos API? You mean like this:
I highly doubt Sonos is going to go Open Source and publish an API. Though much of what you wish to do are just standard upnp calls. Learn upnp and you are 80% there. How do you think the guy who wrote Sonospad did it?
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An open Sonos API? You mean like this:
So do I, but hey most of what happens in these threads is just wishful thinking. And I know you can find controller implementations for almost any programming language but all these are result of reverse engineering. Sonos changes anything and they'll have to start over. Having at least a public spec/docs would be welcome.
Userlevel 1
So, if this is legit, it looks like this will be happening.
Source: Gigaom
I agree with Rob_37. If the SONOS speakers are running some kind of stream server, or has some kind on API where bright, innovative users can enhance the existing functionality (even if the rights to the functionality improvements can be transferred to SONOS for further development)? I seems to me that the SONOS team can only move so fast, and also may not even be considering use cases that bright and imaginative developers come up with. For instance, it would be great if, the CONNECT or CONNECT:AMP could take optical/coax "input" instead of just providing 'output', and that decoded sound could be spread among several devices (coordinated among any Play:* or other CONNECT devices. I know that the Sound Bar has much of this capability, but many users have an existing SONOS infrastructure that could be 're-purposed' to accomplish the same thing. I know that SONOS is interested in selling the Soundbar/SubWoofer combo, but it would be a very large feather in you cap if you could/would beat any/all competitors to market with these features and accessibility.

Thank you for listening to my rant/suggestions.

Uhhh, how exactly is a Connect:Amp going to "take optical/coax 'input'"? The Connect:Amp has no digital outputs or inputs of any kind. You would have to re-engineer the hardware in addition to the software.

Sorry, but I do not see this happening; even if Sonos published a fully open API, there are hardware limitations that make your proposed "innovations" impossible. The Connect:Amp/Connect is a two channel, stereo only device, and there is no software tweak that can make it multi-channel. The hardware simply is not there.
While I agree (and stand corrected) regarding the Connect:AMP, the Connect does have digital outputs. I assume that this means that at least the "Connect" is capable, and without explicitly knowing the hardware/software specs we don't know if the "Connect" does not support some form of multichannel support. We know that, in combination with the sound bar, SONOS can create a multichannel setup, and that SONOS speakers can be paired for stereo. If that is true, then it is no a stretch to think that it couldn't group several individual speakers (or amps) to create a multichannel setup...with each speaker decoding its own separate channel. Without a more transparent API then we don't know.

I could easily see two Connect:AMPs serving (via line-in) as satellite speakers for a 4.1/5.1/7.1 system...or even 4.2/5.2/7.3 because each amp has a sub output.
I am familiar with the hardware (there are various tear downs out there) and I can definitively tell you that without additional hardware, there is nothing software can do to make the Connect a multi-channel streaming device. Sorry, but that's the facts.