Amazon and Sonos first announced their partnership for Alexa to be the main voice interface for Sonos’ line of premium smart speakers in August of last year. Their efforts have finally come to fruition with this week’s release of Sonos’s Beta Alexa Skill that allows Alexa device’s like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot to control any Sonos speaker.
The key difference between Sonos’ integration with Alexa, that is unique from all other speaker manufacturers, is the ability to use more natural commands. Instead of saying “Alexa, ask Sonos…” like you might expect if you’re used to using Alexa skills, you can simply say “Alexa, play Red Hot Chili Peppers in the Kitchen” and the appropriate Sonos speaker will begin playing. You can also control volume and playback with commands like “Alexa, turn it up in the Living Room” and “Alexa, next in the Bedroom.”
This new ability for Alexa to control another device in the home by specifying the room it is in is currently unique to Sonos. Amazon and Sonos have worked closely to make this possible, and it’s assumed this ability will eventually be available to other speaker manufacturers and even other smart devices.
Even if you don’t have a Sonos device, this is great news because it’s likely the first step necessary for us to finally be able to say “Alexa, open [App Name] on the Fire TV” or “Alexa, play [Movie Name] in the living room.” Music has been a key component of Alexa from the beginning, so it’s understandable that smart speakers are the first devices it will be able to intuitively control. Hopefully location-aware control of other devices, without needing to use clunky skill-specific phrasing, is just around the corner.