Sonos has recently announced that a free firmware update for Sonos speakers in late 2017 will add Amazon Alexa support. With this update, Sonos owners will be able to enjoy full integration with the immensely popular Amazon Echo and Echo Dot virtual assistants. They have also promised that the same update will also add support for other Virtual Assistants from other vendors.
If you have an Echo Dot in your living room, simply say ‘Alexa, play ‘Hands To Myself’ on Sonos bedroom speaker’ and it will do just that. Stuff reports that by the time the update rolls out, the integration might have become so seamless, you don’t even need to say ‘Sonos’. The Echo units don’t have to be wired to your Sonos speakers to work. Rather, the Sonos speakers will take its instructions from the Echo over WiFi, untethered to a cord!
Sonos is really killing two birds with a rock here. Most Sonos speakers don’t have a line input port, making it impossible to connect anything directly, except through WiFi. And by promising to support as many virtual assistants as possible, existing (and potential) Sonos owners might think twice about opting for bigger-ticket products like the full-fledged Amazon Echo speaker or Google Home. I must say, bypassing a key weakness and securing your own customer base in just one move? Brilliant.
Competitors from brands like Bose and B&O have traditionally been more leery at third-party integration. Now that IoT technology is becoming so widespread, it will be interesting to see how they can cope with this new and exciting development.