Getting Started with Sonos Smart Home Integrations

  • 6 September 2018
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Sonos has always been committed to providing more choice for what you listen to at home, and how you listen to it. We believe that together with our partners, we can bring new experiences to listeners, ultimately providing unparalleled freedom of choice across music services, audiobooks, television and video content, podcasts, voice services, and home automation.

We're making it even easier to connect your home sound system with even more of the devices and services you love, in many new, exciting ways. From the Works with Sonos program - including IFTTT, to our new open API. It's never been easier to partner with Sonos and build new sound experiences for the home. 

You can read all about our plans in this message from James Senior, our Director of Product, Platform & Partnerships, or in the text here:

To most, we make speakers. But when you think about the unique experience you have with Sonos, it owes just as much to the magic of the underlying software as it does to hardware. It’s through our platform that, together with partners, we can bring new experiences to listeners, ultimately providing unparalleled freedom of choice across music services, audiobooks, television and video content, podcasts, voice services, and home automation.
 
When Sonos first got started 16 years ago, the technology landscape looked very different. For one thing, on-demand streaming music services didn’t even exist. Fast forward to today and the pace of innovation has been profound; the rise of streaming media, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) technology are now pervasive, allowing developers to rapidly bring innovation to market.

Today, we begin the next chapter of partnering at Sonos by introducing the Sonos sound platform, which brings together new APIs, developer tools and documentation. In launching the new platform, we have three specific objectives in mind.

1. Create new opportunities for our partners
  • Three trends are transforming the home audio market: the rise in paid streaming, rise of voice assistant speakers and the rise of the smart home. The Sonos sound platform will be the gateway through which partners can harness this growth with their own innovative solutions.
  • New cloud APIs allow us to deliver advanced capabilities for partners to build upon. Similarly, enhanced LAN-based APIs support solutions that demand low latency or the local network.
  • We will introduce capabilities to the sound platform on a regular cadence so that our joint-customers continue to get new experiences over time. We will listen carefully to our partner community and customers to make sure we are prioritizing the right investments.
2. Making the platform more approachable for developers
  • The sound platform’s modernized APIs allow more developers than ever to bring their solutions to market. We will also invest in samples, SDKs and libraries to make it easier and faster for developers to build against the new platform.
  • Our new developer portal (https://developer.sonos.com), provides one place to create, configure and monitor integrations. Our developer advocates will be active in the community on Stack Overflow and GitHub so developers can get support with development. This blog will serve as one place to learn about new platform innovations as well as technical posts from developer advocates and product team members at Sonos.
  • Finally, our documentation has been written from the ground up with comprehensive content for developers of all experience levels, with getting started guides and technical reference docs. In addition, our Sound Experience Guidelines capture the essence of the Sonos “experience”, helping developers craft solutions that delight the user.
3. Provide customers more personalized experiences and confidence through certification
  • We are working to add intelligence to the sound platform so customers can enjoy more natural and personal experiences on Sonos and will enable our partners to complement with their own smarts, over time.
  • The “Works with Sonos” badge allows customers to confidently identify partner solutions that work seamlessly with the Sonos system. We will continue to invest in ways for customers to more easily discover and engage with partner solutions. More details on the Works with Sonos program will be shared in a future blog post.
  • Finally, in addition to new capabilities, we will continue to invest in the reliability and security of our platform to ensure customers receive predictable experiences they expect from Sonos and our partner integrations.
With today’s launch, we are releasing a set of new control APIs that allow developers to observe and control Sonos players. Coming later this year in October, we will be following up with additional capabilities:
  • Notifications/Audio Clips – Play short, discrete sounds and notifications on a player without fully interrupting the music. The song or audio will lower in volume and resume following the notification.
  • Sonos Playlists – The ability to list and start playback of Sonos Playlists within a third-party interface.
  • Max Volume and Volume Pass-through – Partner integrations will be able to set the maximum volume of Sonos players, as well as subscribe to volume events for fixed-volume players. This will allow, for example, an A/V receiver to have its volume controlled via the Sonos app when connected to a Sonos Connect.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership as we help the world listen better, together.
James Senior
Director of Product, Platform & Partnerships, Sonos


We've opened up this community board to share your experiences with smart home services, devices, and home-brewed apps. Feel free to discuss and share.

If you need assistance, you'll be best served with contacting the developer of the software that you're having trouble with, and if you're a developer looking to get a hand using Sonos, please contact our team here.

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5 replies

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Thank you. Cheers!@Ryan S
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If you need assistance, you'll be best served with contacting the developer of the software that you're having trouble with, and if you're a developer looking to get a hand using Sonos, please contact our team here.

 

 

Ryan

I’m encouraged to read that your team wants to make your products work better in smart homes and with automation systems.  However, the comment to “contact the developer of the software you’re using” feels very much like a brush off.  

I’ve been in the smart homes business, what we tend to call the home automation market for over fifteen years.  I’ve installed, programmed and supported control systems from the big 4 - AMX, Savant, Crestron and Control4.  I’ve programmed Philips pronto, Logitech Harmony, and URC remotes and have a lot of experience in using them to drive third party components, or “integrate” them with a whole home system.

I’m looking to control 4 Sonos Amps (the current gen, black, square bricks) using a URC programmable remote.  These remotes can learn any IR codeset, either by capturing IR signals fired at them (less desirable as the signal can be “dirtied” during this process, or by pasting in the clean hex codes such as the ones you have listed in this tech article.  However, comments here outline that you can also have the Sonos learn a remote.  This is a stalemate along the lines of “After you, no… after you, no… I insist, no I insist.” :grin:

The problem is that the URC doesn’t have any commands built into it to teach the Sonos.  I could get URC to generate a random codeset which they could put into their database (as they did for the 4th gen Apple TVs), but then it wouldn’t be in your database, and if you ever generate your own at a later date, this would only lead to confusion.  You could end up with different hex codes from URC, Logitech, or any of the other brands.

Would it be possible to extend your current four hex codes from the above tech article into a more fully formed control set?  I would think the following commands would be a good starting point:

 

Volume controls:  VOL + -  and MUTE.  You have for these - which is a start.  But the article only refers to TV oriented products.  Do these work for the audio oriented products such as AMP and PLAY1 products?

Transport controls:  PLAY, STOP, PAUSE, SKIP + -  and maybe FF, RW (but, for me, these blur into when you should start using the Sonos control interface)

Inputs:  Select LINE IN and also turn it off (shut down the amp) - may be accomplished by sending STOP command.

 

As a minimum, for integration purposes, I would think that would help hugely.  As mentioned, I could probably get URC to generate something, but having an officially supported codeset would be so much better.

Hoping you can help!  Thanks

 

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Hi jw2k_fr, that Amp is also one of our Home Theater speakers, designed to be able to operate as the front channels. Because of this, it also has the IR sensor on it, same with the Beam, Playbar, and Playbase. Those are the only products today that have an IR sensor built in. And the hex codes on that article are the default ones all of them will respond to, but you could also teach them to respond to a different set of IR codes.

Currently IR can only be used for volume commands, but I’ll let the team know you’d love to see some more functionality there. The transport controls can be accomplished a lot of different ways because we have a published, available to all API for those basic controls. So there are a lot of apps and controllers out there that can do some basic things with Sonos devices. But those controls all go through the cloud, they’re not IR based. 

Userlevel 2

The transport controls can be accomplished a lot of different ways because we have a published, available to all API for those basic controls. So there are a lot of apps and controllers out there that can do some basic things with Sonos devices. But those controls all go through the cloud, they’re not IR based. 

Yes, I understand that these functions exist, it’s the extra layer of making them available and to function from incoming IR that I need.  As a temporary stop-gap I’m going to see if I can get something working via URC and spam a random set of commands at the Sonos, but I would love to know how high of a priority this feature request would be and when you think it might be addressed?

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I can’t speak specifically about priorities and what might come in the future, but we don’t hear many requests for IR improvements. If they’re not already one of our certified Works with Sonos partners, you might want to let URC know as well to check out the program here