Sonos and Alexa

Seeing the integration between Alexa and Sonos is exciting. It demonstrates that music is definitely one of the main killer apps for voice interaction. The Alexa — Sonos integration is a step forward and I can imagine there will still be some challenges and areas for improvement.

One of the biggest challenges is for acoustic echo cancellation (interrupting music while playing). When music plays out of devices that are connected to the audio output jack on the Echo Tap or through the Echo’s speakers, the DSPs onboard the Echos can effectively cancel out that signal.

This isn’t the case when the audio source comes from another device. It could very well be possible that Amazon and Sonos could work on modelling the sound coming from the speaker and push a new DSP algorithm to the devices to cancel the speaker signal. It’s also within the realm of possibility for both devices to be used to model room character (these are just conjectures). In either cases, both of these are difficult work.

The Alexa-Sonos demo also shows that the two have at least caught up with one aspect of the concept in the Google Home video — being able to ask for music to play in a specific room. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next!

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