Alexa: Communications Matter


Userlevel 1
We all understand that communication regarding new functionality cannot necessarily be transparent to customers. But YOU promised an integration to Alexa by summer and did not deliver. You postpone and demur. Your loss of brand trust is STAGGERING. Loyal customers may not be bolting but we no longer TRUST YOU. Tell us when an Amazon Alexa integration will happen, or at least tell us that you are having changes meeting the goal. Either would be fine; but to back away from previous promises and chide users that inquiry is the VERY WORST THING YOU CAN DO. Speak clearly. Honestly. Value loyal customers. Even if it is not what we want to hear.

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26 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Hi Chris, our goal has always been to deliver Alexa control to Sonos this year. There have been some articles and other places throwing around differing dates for this, but our promise has always been this year. I seem to recall seeing summer mentioned as a time for beta testing on one article, but I can't remember which one that was, it wasn't an official date.

I can tell you that development is going great, and it's still on track. We aren't ready to share a full timeline with everyone yet, as much as we know everyone really wants to know.

We try to avoid promising a time specifically for the reason that things sometimes slip. We don't want to make promises that we don't know we can keep.

We'll be making sure to let everyone in on any beta possibilities as well, so if you're interested, make sure you're signed up on our website for news. We're glad you're excited and hope you enjoy it when it's available.
Thank you for the PR speak counselor, but regardless of when you said it would be ready, this has been an absurd amount of time to wait. If the project was going so awe-inspringly great as you say, there would at least be a published timeline. Clearly it is not going great, and your customers are left holding the bag of these boat anchor speakers.

Sonos loves to remind all of stupid customers that they are a "software" company. Who exactly is writing this software? Maybe you should pay some people that can write code and solve problems. We are sick of waiting and I am now trying to sell off my Sonos gear. I hope Amazon buys you and dissolves your brand. Thanks for nothing.
I agree it is taking time, but isn't it extreme to sell gear? Which one will serve you better overall than Sonos?
Userlevel 4
Badge +13
I hope jscholze is successful in selling his Sonos equipment. Then hopefully he will stop posting and whinging!
At least the complaints should be moderated by receiving more that what would be received if it was any other make that was sold; Sonos holds value better than any other in the used market.

But there is some merit to the complaint. When a software oriented company in the consumer goods space announces in August 2016, that a feature will be released in 2017, it is not reasonable to expect people to understand that this means beyond the halfway mark of 2017. Technically yes, up to Dec 31 2017 would still be in line with the explicit statements, but not with the implicit messaging.

I suspect Sonos is aware of this and must be deeply embarrassed with some heat rising internally around this slow progress, while people like Ryan put on the brave, all is well face to the world, because they haven't any other choice.

I am not on any beta, so I don't care about any NDA and I can freely speculate that there must be a lot going haywire in the beta use of the release that is missing expectations and causing havoc with Sonos timelines, albeit unpublished ones.
"Why doesn't Sonos announce things before public beta so that we can make purchasing decisions??!!"

"Why is this thing taking so long, you told us about it 8 months ago??!!"

Damned if you do . . .
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
What a ridiculous thread.

The very idea that there are users who would actually sell their Sonos gear simply because they cannot control it via Alexa is ridiculous.
The problems afflicting modern society are reflected in this thread in spades.

People actually complaining they aren't getting their free improvement to Sonos that will allow them to control it by voice.
Stuart, that is true of many of us that bought Sonos before Echo tasted success and became visible. But there are many that must have bought Sonos after August 2016, based on the expectation generated by Sonos statements in that month; to them this isn't a free improvement, it is the promised one that drove their purchase.

That voice control may turn out to be a gimmick for some time to come is another matter. I am looking forward to seeing user reviews of Echo Show.
PS: The first media reviews generally are lukewarm to cold, too buggy a product. Probably a good thing for the Sonos integration, that. It need not address any Show features at this time.
Userlevel 1
I would concur with the original poster.

With the lack of communication on Alexa delivery, and the lack of effort to fix a critical SMB network vulnerability, I really feel that I would have done better to buy a high-end sound bar and connect it to an Amazon Echo, than the Playbase and Sub that I have now.

Personally, my view of Sonos customer support and communication is very negative. At present, my feelings would be very mixed in recommending investment in Sonos equipment to friends and family.

It seems the support model is a carbon-copy of Apple Support. The difference with Apple Support however, is that if they discovered that they had a zero network vulnerability, they would patch that quick smart, rather than let them linger for the best part of a year.

The Alexa thing is quite frankly shocking. You've gone to press with this and advertised it's coming availability, and then delivered zero for a hugely extended period, and people (like myself) have foolishly made purchasing decisions on this - and evidently you consider the fault to be mine, as you have said "sometime in 2017" and therefore regard yourselves as technically in the right.

Stuart_W - is this issue does not pertain to you, why are you again attacking people for voicing their opinion? Are you a Sonos "super-fan"? Why do you see it as your position to intermediate in customer communication to the company, and call other customers' views "ridiculous"? By a show of 5 customers on this thread, to your sole regard of the thread being "ridiculous", I find you outvoted in any case.
Userlevel 6
Badge +12
Good grief ... there are some angry customers here! Selling off your Sonos gear because voice control isn't available is a tantrum response. Finding a replacement system with alexa control will likely provoke another tantrum on behalf of the complainants.

As a beta tester for just one of the other systems, I can state that implementation is not a simple task.
I find it interesting when people like to add weight to the argument by adding 'we'. There are others who have similar opinions, but not sure if they want you speaking for them.

I also like "bag of boat anchor speakers".

Regarding customers who bought the speakers now based on functionality promised later...if these customers did that, it's not a very wise decision. Things always change, and you can always wait to buy till the features you want actually exist. I understand that Sonos wants to please their customers whether they make wise choices or not, but I am not sure how they could please all customers all the time regarding feature announcements.

Even we do assume there is a delay from the actual plan, why would we assume the delay is due to Sonos mistakes? This is an integration with Amazon, a company that has a lot going on and a lot of heavy competition right now. Sonos may have all their stuff ready, but Amazon chose to delay. They may be delaying because they aren't done yet, or perhaps marketing reasons. It's not hard to speculate that Amazon sees an integration with Sonos as a way to take away some of the Apple Homepod thunder, and releasing too soon won't maximize that effect. And it's pretty obvious, as this thread demonstrates, that a lot of customers are going to assume Amazon isn't the reason for delay.
[...] Finding a replacement system with alexa control will likely provoke another tantrum on behalf of the complainants.
Right, there are plenty of Alexa-powered hi-fi systems to choose from. 😉
There are many of these "Tell me what I want to know/Give me what I want to get . . . or the bunny dies" threads. Luckily for the bunny, nobody ever carries out their threats. Also, Sonos doesn't fall for the ruse, so they don't give any more info than their policy allows.

Either that, or they really don't care about bunnies. 😉

I am not on any beta, so I don't care about any NDA and I can freely speculate that there must be a lot going haywire in the beta use of the release that is missing expectations and causing havoc with Sonos timelines, albeit unpublished ones.


There is nothing to merit this speculation. A Sonos rep has stated right here that it is currently being worked on and is on schedule. They just don't release the timeline until they are ready.

PS: The first media reviews generally are lukewarm to cold, too buggy a product. Probably a good thing for the Sonos integration, that. It need not address any Show features at this time.


I wouldn't put too much stock in some of these early reviews as there seems to be an agenda behind a lot of them. You see a couple of themes repeated over and over like exaggerating the security concerns of the drop in feature or remarks like "there is no point to the screen since I can just pull out my phone to do the same thing" . Clearly either not understanding why Alexa has taken off in a way that Siri never did or simply Apple and Google fans throwing shade.

My reviewing method is much simpler, just stick it in the Kitchen and see how people react to it. So far it is a hit and there is no chance the Sonos app is ever again going to be used in that room (unless it can be accessed from the Alexa Show screen).
The most common complaint I saw was that they didn't like how it looked. I can understand that. I agree that the 'just use your phone' complaint makes no sense. Of course you can use your phone, but it would take longer (marginally). It's equivalent to saying you don't need to look at news sites because you can just read the newspaper.

I also some complaints that it didn't have some features that they thought it would have. And I think that's one of thing things that will actually help it sell. They have a history of adding features to existing products when possible., not forcing you to buy something new. Same goes for Sonos.

I'm personally holding off on getting a Show just yet. I like the concept very much and am sure I'll use it. The visual feedback already existed with Fire TV, and I have Fire Tablet next to a dot that gives some visual feedback. I'm actually hoping that Amazon comes out with a Fire TV kit with mic and camera that can essentially turn your 70" tv into a giant Echo Show.

My reviewing method is much simpler, just stick it in the Kitchen and see how people react to it. So far it is a hit .

No argument that wherever possible, that is the best way to judge it.
To also be fair to the reviewers I read, none had any doubts that the issues they saw could be fixed by software upgrades, and neither did any doubt that Amazon would release these in the coming months.

My reviewing method is much simpler, just stick it in the Kitchen and see how people react to it. So far it is a hit .

No argument that wherever possible, that is the best way to judge it.
To also be fair to the reviewers I read, none had any doubts that the issues they saw could be fixed by software upgrades, and neither did any doubt that Amazon would release these in the coming months.


Probably quicker than that. I reported a bug last night that was escalated to the development team and was told that it could be fixed as soon as a few days from now.
Userlevel 2
I'd be surprised if the critical path for this is technology, to be honest. My money is on the commercial and strategic issues they will have to resolve - e.g. is Sonos going to work with Google Home too? If so how will the PR work (trust me, who gets mentioned first in the Press release can take weeks to resolve :-)) I'm as keen as anyone to see this...fingers crossed for a beta to play with soon!
I hope that with all the noise about how long this is taking, there isn't going to be a public beta for this one, to add to more delays. I am not sure what purpose public betas serve in terms of their influence on the corresponding version release.
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To jscholze and all the other haters... In the words of Sgt. Hulka, "lighten up Francis..." they'll get it done when its right... If the quality of the equipment and original software are any precursor...
Userlevel 2
Badge +3
A lot of Sonos owners are eagerly waiting for this integration....... around the world..........
Badge
We all understand that communication regarding new functionality cannot necessarily be transparent to customers. But YOU promised an integration to Alexa by summer and did not deliver. You postpone and demur. Your loss of brand trust is STAGGERING. Loyal customers may not be bolting but we no longer TRUST YOU. Tell us when an Amazon Alexa integration will happen, or at least tell us that you are having changes meeting the goal. Either would be fine; but to back away from previous promises and chide users that inquiry is the VERY WORST THING YOU CAN DO. Speak clearly. Honestly. Value loyal customers. Even if it is not what we want to hear.

So I've had my Sonos gear long before Echo was a blip. Does the Sonos sales pitch, marketing, packaging and box say "integrates with Alexa"? Dod you pay them something for that promise? If not then stop whining and just wait patiently like the rest of us...
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
A lot of Sonos owners are eagerly waiting for this integration....... around the world..........

That is going to be a problem. Right now Amazon only support Alexa fully in the USA, and have half-assed support for Alexas skills in the UK and Germany. If Amazon don't support your country, you need to reset your expectations. And don't hold your breath.
Sonos is for audio/music people. So far, nothing short of a dedicated audio setup comes close to Sonos. Maybe (MAYBE) Apple's new Home Pod thing. But Amazon Echo? Google Home? Great assistants, but crap audio. CRAP. One of the reasons I love the Amazon Dot is that it connects to my B&O rig. And another for my Bose rig. But those are used only to make Alexa louder. Then another Dot is hooked up to my B&W rig for the main entertainment/listening room. But the house-wide system is still Sonos. Sounds so much better all around. I'm excited for the Alexa integration. Not having it is NOT a deal-breaker, but it does put Sonos ahead of the pack in terms of audio quality.