Sonos will roll out its own voice control assistant in the United States on June 1. if The edge reported earlier this month, Sonos Voice Control will be added to all of the company’s voice-activated smart speakers via an upcoming software update. Once it arrives, owners of those devices will be able to start playing music, skip tracks, adjust the volume and send audio to other Sonos speakers in their home using the “Hey Sonos” voice commands. Sonos Voice will expand to France later in 2022, but the company has not announced any rollout plans outside those two original countries.
Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, Deezer, and Sonos Radio are the supported services at launch. Some may be disappointed by the absence of Spotify, but at a recent press conference, Sonos clarified that the assistant can still perform core commands such as pause, stop, track control, volume, and so on for Spotify content already playing on a Sonos system, too. although customers cannot request a song or playlist from Spotify using Sonos Voice Control.
Sonos tapped a celebrity to become the voice of Sonos Voice Control. Giancarlo Esposito, best known for his roles in Breaking Bad, better call Saul, and the Mandalorian, has lent his recognizable voice to the service. The actor went through a lengthy recording session to give Sonos’ machine learning system plenty of samples to work with.
Sonos Voice Control is strictly music-oriented and is not intended to challenge Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple’s Siri as a full-fledged digital assistant. The company says customers can use Sonos Voice and Alexa simultaneously on the same device, sticking to the latter for smart home controls and questions about the weather, calendar appointments, and general questions that Sonos’ service isn’t intended for. Google Assistant cannot be used alongside Sonos Voice Control.
Aside from the basic music commands, Sonos Voice Control can also be used to group speakers and rooms together – you can tell it to play something “anywhere” to activate all your speakers – or transfer the audio from one device to another in seconds. move the other. Sonos designed the service as soon as possible; the company says it’s limiting “responses and ringing” in favor of executing a voice command quickly.
Sonos Voice Control is designed to understand everyday language rather than requiring specific phrasing. (For example, you can say “Hey Sonos, turn it up” instead of “turn up the volume”.) And as long as they’re strung close together, you can follow one voice command with another without the “Hey Sonos’ phrase every time.” For portable Sonos products like the Move and Roam, you can also check the battery life.
Sonos seems to be confident in the performance of Sonos Voice Control. The company says you can get pretty granular with commands like “stop playing in the kitchen and play in the living room instead” or “volume only in the bedroom.” These Sonos examples show why it made sense for the company to create its own voice solution rather than using resources to make it work via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant skills.
The service is rooted in technology that Sonos has picked up when it bought Snips, a privacy-focused voice assistant, in 2019. Following the purchase of the company, the Sonos team has continued to develop the service ahead of today’s launch. All Sonos voice commands are processed locally on the device and not sent to Sonos servers in the cloud.
Sonos says quite a number of consumers are refraining from setting up or using the voice assistant on smart speakers for privacy reasons, and believe Sonos Voice Control could overcome this hesitation. If it lives up to the company’s performance claims, it could certainly become a useful new feature. Sonos Voice Control is free, which is no surprise given its limited scope.