Sonos is one of the first companies to make waves ahead of the IFA 2016 trade show, announcing voice controls for its speakers using Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
Sonos held its own event in sunny New York, where it announced that its wireless speaker systems will support full voice controls from 2017. If you can’t wait that long, there will also be a beta available for some users later this year.
Since Sonos speakers don’t have the built-in microphone tech to detect your voice, you’ll need to purchase and pair an Amazon Alexa enabled device like the Echo, Echo Tap or Echo Dot speaker. These will then act as voice controllers, listening out for your commands.
Users should simply be able to say “Alexa” to make the device listen and then issue a command like playing a specific track, pausing, skipping and more. These commands will be relayed from the Echo to your Sonos setup, saving you from fiddling around with an app.
Being able to control your home music setup without messing around with your mobile or laptop could be very handy, especially when entertaining guests, cooking, getting cosy with your partner and so on. It’s something simple that could revolutionise how we listen to music, and pave the way for more voice controlled devices in our homes.
That wasn’t the end of Sonos’ announcements, however. Another update allows you to also control the Sonos home speakers directly via the Spotify app.
Until now, users who play their music out loud via Spotify were ring-fenced into using the Sonos app, which could work a bit better to be perfectly honest. Now the company has bowed to the Spotify app and will integrate speaker access directly into the platform. That should mean playing music is as easy as opening the Spotify app and picking the speaker to use.
This Spotify control should be available in the coming weeks via an update.