Sonos Aims for the Smart Home with Alexa, Spotify Support

Home entertainment speakers maker Sonos has announced new initiatives that will take advantage of users’ increasingly connected homes as the Internet of Things continues to bloom.

Sonos Aims for Smart Home Embedment with Alexa, Spotify SupportOne of the developments is the integration of Sonos controls into Spotify, which will allow users to control what’s playing on their entire Sonos home speaker systems through the popular music streaming service’s mobile app. But perhaps more striking is Sonos’ move to pair up its speakers with devices featuring Amazon’s Alexa virtual AI assistant. That will allow owners of products like the Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, and Amazon Fire TV to control their speakers—including what’s playing via Spotify and Amazon Music—by voice command.

The latter move illustrates voice commands’ continuing ascent as a key user interface of the Internet of Things and the smart home, with major IT and electronics companies focusing R&D efforts on speech and even voice recognition. It’s also a testament to Amazon’s wisdom in allowing third party companies to develop custom capabilities—called ‘skills’ in Amazon’s parlance—for the Alexa interface, an approach that Apple has recently sought to emulate.

Sonos’ Spotify integration will arrive via a software update in October, and the Alexa compatibility will arrive in 2017 after a beta test later this year. Meanwhile, Sonos has announced that it has also partnered up with smart home brands including Control4, Crestron, iPort, Lutron, QIVICON, and Savant, all of which will integrate Sonos speakers into their platforms.