Amazon introduced Alexa Announcements a few months ago, turning your smart speakers into a home announcement system for those who have multiple rooms and family members living under one roof. However, this feature was only limited to Amazon’s own line of Echo devices. While that’s a pretty large chunk of the market (they reportedly sold more than 30 million units in 2017), that still leaves a lot of smart speakers out of the announcement party. Now Sonos becomes the first Alexa-powered third-party speaker to be able to use Alexa Announcements as well.
In particular, this feature is arriving at Sonos One and Sonos Beam smart speakers through a firmware update rolling out to their users in the US, UK, and Canada. Once you receive the cloud update, you’ll be able to make Alexa Announcements by saying “Alexa, announce,” or “Alexa, broadcast” or “ Alexa, tell everyone” and then following it with whatever you want to say to the rest of the house. It serves as a one-way intercom so you don’t have to shout all over the house if you need to say something for public consumption (public meaning your household).
It will then broadcast to all of the compatible Alexa-powered speakers in the house, regardless if it’s an Echo or a Sonos. People will hear a chime first and then the announcement you made in your own voice. You can also send an announcement from any of your Alexa-enabled devices, including the aforementioned Sonos devices, and the Alexa app from your Android smartphone.
If you want to exclude a specific device from receiving an announcement (for example, your toddler is taking a nap and you don’t want to disturb him/her), set the device to Do Not Disturb. It will be able to still send announcement but not receive them until you turn off the toggle again.
This is a good step for Amazon towards including other non-Echo but Alexa-powered devices into their features fold. There are still discrepancies about which features are included for third-party devices so hopefully, this is the start of a better relationship between the online retail giant and its partners.