Family homes are about to get a new speech controlled jukebox as Sonos unveils ‘Voice Control’, an Alexa and Siri-competitor and voice feature created solely for listening on Sonos.
Sonos Voice Control is an “entirely new voice experience” that delivers “fast, accurate hands-free control of your music”, says Sonos.
Starting on June 1, Sonos owners in the US will be able to control their devices with the wake-up call ‘Hey Sonos’.
The service will be available in France later this year, with additional markets, including the UK, to follow, says Sonos.
Sonos says its Voice Control system will have “no compromise to [the customer’s] privacy”, claiming that “no audio or transcript is sent to the cloud, stored, listened to or read by anyone.”
According to Amazon, its own voice assistant Alexa records users to “improve the accuracy of [customer’s] interactions with Alexa”.
Rumours of Sonos unveiling a voice assistant were first reported by The Verge on May 4.
At the time, The Verge article stated that “Spotify and Google’s YouTube Music aren’t yet on board” for the Voice Control service.
Sonos’ Voice Control will, however, work on every voice-capable Sonos speaker, and will be compatible with Sonos Radio, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer and Pandora upon launch.
More services and markets will follow, Sonos says.
In what may be a bid to further differentiate itself from its competitors, the Sonos assistant processes requests entirely on the device. This, it claims, will deliver faster response times and easier follow-up requests.
Similar to the Sonos App, users will also be able to control speakers in any room using their voice.
For its chosen ‘voice’, Sonos have gone in a different direction to the robotic tones of Alexa by enlisting the actor Giancarlo Esposito, who is known for roles in Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and The Mandalorian.
More voices will be added later, says Sonos.
The announcement is part of a wider understanding that Sonos may be expanding further into the home entertainment market, bolstered by another product announced today – the Sonos Ray, which is touted as a compact soundbar that makes it “easy [for customers] to build [their] first home theatre setup or enhance TV sound in more rooms.
In its May 4 article, The Verge also discovered that Sonos are advertising job opportunities for an as yet unannounced ‘Home Theater OS’ service.
“One of the most natural ways to connect to your music is with your voice.”
Joseph Dureau, Sonos
Joseph Dureau, Vice President, Voice Experience, Sonos, said: “Sonos is committed to delivering new experiences that effortlessly connect listeners to the content they love.
“One of the most natural ways to connect to your music is with your voice, but when we speak to our customers, we hear that privacy concerns mean many are choosing not to use voice control.
“Created purely for listening on Sonos and designed with privacy at its core, Sonos Voice control delivers the Sonos app experience using only your voice”Music Business Worldwide