Sonos One and Sonos Beam speakers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada are now receiving an update to enable Amazon Alexa’s Announcements service. The confirmation of the new feature for Sonos's Alexa-enabled gadgets follows Amazon's rollout of the thereof to Echo-branded devices in those regions back in early April. Amazon Announcements effectively allows any Alexa-ready device to act as the playback device in a one-way intercom system. For example, users might ask Alexa to “announce,” “broadcast,” or “tell everyone” that it is time to gather around for a family game night or another event. All compatible devices within the home and connected to that user's account will then play a chime to notify anybody in earshot that an announcement is being made. Then the latter part of the announcement – minus the Alexa voice command used to trigger the action – will play over those devices in the announcing user’s own voice rather than with Alexa’s. That personalized touch serves the purpose of ensuring that everybody knows who is making the announcement.
The update is rolling out this week but may take some time to land on every compatible Sonos speaker. So users shouldn't be too concerned if it hasn't landed in their own home yet. In the meantime, it is possible to opt individual devices out of the feature once it does arrive if there are areas of the home that need to go undisturbed for whatever reason. That might be particularly useful in rooms where school-age children are trying to catch up on homework or where houseguests are sleeping. In any case, the process is fairly straightforward. Users simply need to turn on the desired device’s Do Not Disturb feature. That can be switched back on as needed and will allow outgoing broadcasts while muting incoming transmissions. Both incoming and outgoing messages can be stopped via the settings in the associated Alexa app at the touch of a button as well.
The Announcements update is just the latest in a string of several regular updates Sonos has been bringing to its Alexa-enabled speakers over the past few months. For example, the company enabled support for more than 20 of the most popular and requested Alexa Skill back in May ahead of its official launch in France the following June. More recently, it also enabled the Audible Skill and its voice control features in July, as part of its continuing push to bring its speakers in line with Amazon's own Echo IoT offerings.