The Sonos family of products
A plethora of partners have come onboard with wireless audio leader Sonos, including mainstream brands like Amazon, Spotify, and Airbnb, as well as big names in custom integration—Crestron, Control4, Lutron, and Savant.
At a New York City press event on Tuesday, Sonos CMO Joy Howard enthusiastically announced the company’s expansion through custom integrators, “who share our vision for the connected home.”
The press event focused on two major themes that Sonos is strategizing around: paid streaming and connected homes, both of which are affecting the evolution of where the home is going.
Sonos is billing itself as the sound platform for the connected home, with control integration now directly available through various devices from Crestron, Control4, Lutron, and Savant, as well as iPort. The announcement includes voice control by pairing up with Amazon and its Alexa-enabled devices, Echo and Echo Dot, to control the Sonos sound system. A beta program of that product will launch at the end of 2016, with consumer availability scheduled for 2017.
Lutron is enabling the Sonos-endorsed integration with a new Pico remote control for audio. Consumers will have direct control of Sonos along with their lights, shades and temperature when used with Caséta Wireless, RadioRA 2, and HomeWorks QS systems.
From the Control4 perspective, much of the experience is in the background and doesn’t differ significantly from what was previously offered via UPnP. The experience is more significant from the developer angle as Control4 was able to work directly within the Sonos API, according to Brad Hintze, director of product marketing at Control4.
Crestron’s VP of residential systems, John Clancy, called his company’s new collaboration with Sonos a “big win” for its dealers who service upscale homes. “It is now easy to integrate Sonos on any scale, from a single room to an entire estate, into a custom Crestron home automation system,” he said. “This includes all Sonos meta-data, artwork, control options, and the real-time feedback Crestron programmers need to ensure a spectacular user experience in every room.”
iPort announced that its xPRESS Audio Keypad will be “the world’s first WiFi direct remote control for Sonos. It is designed to be set up in just minutes via an iOS app to control any Sonos device directly. The Keypad enables direct access to key music functions like Play/Pause, Track Forward, Volume Control and toggle capability through Sonos Favorites. Because the Keypad is wireless, battery powered, and is a decora form factor, it can be installed on any wall by itself or alongside other decora-sized devices. Provided xPRESS Magnetic Wall Adapters also allow a user to grab a Keypad off the wall or any surface and use it as a handheld remote.
In other news, Sonos has been offering Sonos systems to new Airbnb hosts, and together the two brands recently piloted a Sonos Home pop-up activation with promising early results. Sonos also announced a Spotify Connect integration with additional functionality that will make it the only whole home sound system that can be fully controlled directly from the feature-rich Spotify app, including play controls and easy access to grouping and ungrouping of rooms. Spotify will be the first music streaming service that allows Spotify Premium listeners to have full control of the music all over their homes outside the Sonos app.