What is Sonos Voice Control and how does it work?
(Pocket-lint) – Sonos announced its own voice assistant for its speakers in May 2022, called Sonos Voice Control. It’s not designed to compete with the likes of Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, but instead give Sonos users another option to control their speakers that focuses on privacy.
This is everything you need to know about Sonos Voice Control, including how it works, what you can do, which speakers it is available on and how you can get it.
What is Sonos Voice Control?
Sonos Voice Control is a voice assistant developed by Sonos that works locally on Sonos speakers. It is designed to enable users to control their Sonos speakers using what the company considers to be the most natural way – voice.
The Sonos Voice Control assistant isn’t hoping to compete with the likes of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant so it isn’t about finding out the weather for the day or turning your smart lights off. Instead, the Sonos Voice Control assistant is focused purely on offering easy, hands-free control of your Sonos speakers.
Actor Giancarlo Esposito is the voice of Sonos Voice Control.
How does Sonos Voice Control work?
The Sonos Voice Control assistant works locally, as we mentioned above. That means all processes happen on the speaker itself, with no transcripts sent to the cloud. This ensures privacy – but it also means the Sonos Voice Control assistant will work on the Sonos Roam and Sonos Move speakers, even when they are in Bluetooth mode.
In order to use the Sonos Voice Control, you’ll need to say the wake words “Hey Sonos”, followed by your request. Sonos has designed the voice assistant so you can ask follow up questions afterwards without having to use the wake words again, a little like how Continued Conversation works on Google Assistant devices.
For example, you might say “Hey Sonos, play Cocktail hour on the Move”. If you have two Move speakers in different rooms, Sonos Voice Control might then say “Bedroom or Living room”. You’d then be able to reply directly with the room you want, for example “Bedroom”. Sonos Voice Control would then say “Playing in the bedroom”. You could then say “Turn it up” and Sonos Voice Control would reply with “Turning volume up in the bedroom”.
It shouldn’t matter how you word your requests as Sonos has said Voice Control was designed to understand everyday language.
What can I do with Sonos Voice Control?
There’s plenty you can do with the Sonos Voice Control assistant, but all of it is to do with your speakers and music playback. As we mentioned, the Sonos Voice Control assistant isn’t about working with your smarthome devices, or telling you what your daily commute looks like.
You can do things like save and like your favourte songs to your personal music library, as well as play music, group speakers and move music around your home.
Here are some examples of the kinds of things you can do with Sonos Voice Control:
- Hey Sonos, what’s playing?
- Hey Sonos, volume up
- Hey Sonos, volume down
- Hey Sonos, volume up in the bedroom
- Hey Sonos, group living room and bedroom
- Hey Sonos, turn on Speech Enhancement in the TV room
- Hey Sonos, what’s my battery level
- Hey Sonos, play Cocktail Hour on the Move
- Hey Sonos, play something I like
- Hey Sonos, play Apple Music 1 radio
- Hey Sonos, skip
- Hey Sonos, louder…louder
- Hey Sonos, fast forward
- Hey Sonos, play a little quieter
- Hey Sonos, play here instead
- Hey Sonos, turn the TV on
- Hey Sonos, volume up in the bedroom only
- Hey Sonos, play Ed Sheeran very quietly
- Hey Sonos, stop playing in the kitchen and start playing in the living room instead
- Hey Sonos, what can you do?
What speakers is Sonos Voice Control available on?
Sonos Voice Control will work on any Sonos speaker that has a built-in microphone. That means that it will be available on all Sonos speakers that have built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
You can see the list of Sonos speakers that includes below, though it’s also worth noting that if you have any of the speakers below, as well as other Sonos speakers that don’t have a microphone, you can use the compatible speaker to control other speakers using your voice.
Sonos Voice Control is available on these speakers:
- Sonos One
- Sonos Roam
- Sonos Move
- Sonos Beam (Gen 1)
- Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
- Sonos Arc
What services does Sonos Voice Control work with?
Will Sonos Voice Control work with Alexa and Google Assistant?
Sonos Voice Control can be used alongside Amazon Alexa. That means you’ll be able to use the Sonos Voice Control assistant to control your Sonos speakers, and Alexa to control your smarthome or add to your shopping list, for example.
It’s not possible to use Google Assistant alongside Sonos Voice Control though so you’ll need to choose between them.
When will Sonos Voice Control be available?
Sonos Voice Control will be available in the US first, starting 1 June 2022. Sonos has said it will come to France later in 2022.
For now, there is no word on a launch date for UK users or other European countries.
How do I get Sonos Voice Control on my speakers?
When Sonos Voice Control comes to your country, it will be an over-the-air software update.
To check for any software updates, open the Sonos app > Tap on Settings in the bottom right corner > Tap on System and scroll down > Tap on System Updates > Choose Check for Updates.
Once you’re all up to date, if Sonos Voice Control is available in your country, you’ll then need to add it to your Sonos system. This should appear at the top of the Settings tab. If not, then open the Settings tab in the Sonos app and tap on “Services & Voice” and then “Add a Voice Assistant”.
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Writing by Britta O’Boyle.