Home > Latest News > Is New “Hey Sonos” Set To Be As Hated As Much As “Okay Bixby”

Is New “Hey Sonos” Set To Be As Hated As Much As “Okay Bixby”

Bixby, Samsung’s own house brand voice assistant, is hated, but despite this Sonos is set to have a crack at launching their own proprietary voice assistant to take on Google and Amazon Alexa voice assistants.

The major software upgrade comes as Sono’s customers call for a fix to their last software upgrade that left Sono’s customers facing audio dropouts when listening to Sono’s speakers in a multichannel surround set-up. (See separate story) here.

The Sonos house brand voice assistant is designed to play and control music on Sonos’ home audio platform a move that some observers claim is more about trying to sell their users more services in the future.

Sonos management have not been happy either Google or Amazon with the Companies CEO Patrick Spence telling US lawmakers that Google refused to allow its Assistant service to operate simultaneously with Amazon’s competing product on the same device.

The Company has publicly accused both of unfair pricing tactics and patent infringement; it successfully sued Google over the latter, forcing minor changes to multi-room audio playback and volume controls in some Google software.

According to the Verge, the new software addition will be part of a software update set to be rolled out in the US in June, the International roll out will follow later.

Sonos recently posted job openings related to the “Sonos Voice Experience,” with the company saying its ambition is to “make voice interactions fully private, more personal, and more natural.”

Over the past six months Sonos shares have fallen almost 30% with the business desperate to generate revenue from services wrapped around their hardware.

Currently the business is trying to sell customers access to Sonos Radio and their high-res Sonos Radio HD however the Company has not said how many customers have actually signed up to the Sonos streaming services.

When their new voice assistant is launched Sonos Voice will work with Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Deezer, and the company’s own Sonos Radio.

Those having rejected an association so far include Spotify and Google’s YouTube Music.

The Company claims that their VA will not record user audio commands or relay them to the cloud for processing.

“Hey Sonos” will be the wake word for Sonos Voice Control.

Similar to Bixby proprietary software has failed to take off, as IBM found out when they launched OS2 to compete with Windows.

Sonos management who is also working on a TV OS believes that their voice services and the content they offer will become central hub for streaming entertainment — potentially moving beyond audio movie content.

Patrick Spence, Sonos’ chief executive officer, has hinted at those objectives in interviews. “You’re always investing ahead of the curve,” he said on the Decoder podcast. “We’re hiring people in software to go into new areas that we’re not in today. It’s easier in hindsight to understand that a company has been working on all of these great things. We just didn’t see it at that moment in time.”

The Company has not said why their customers should ditch the voice assistants that also allow for integration of lighting security and other third-party products in the home.

Recently Sonos quietly joined Matter the new Connectivity Standards Alliance, who are the coalition responsible for developing the smart home standard.

Matter is a wireless interoperability protocol that has been in the works since 2019 and it already includes companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung and Zigbee.

While Sonos hasn’t yet committed to adopting the Matter standard, their new voice assistant could end up like Bixby being a lame duck that irritates users.



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