Who doesn’t want a smart home? Sounds so excellent. It’s your home, but you know, smarter.

I have to admit, I never thought my house was all that dumb to begin with. It contains everything I love—from my husband and kid to my clever dog (seriously she’s brilliant) to my favorite music on demand and instant access to some of the most incredible cultural moments happening anywhere. If you step back and think about it, it’s kind of amazing.

“The future is now.” That’s what we keep hearing. It’s a way of recognizing that things we once dreamed about actually do exist now. Too often, it’s just a lazy way for brands to congratulate themselves for creating some new thing.   Currently, the hot new thing is voice-commanded everything, which promises to turn your dumb home smart as a whip.  But what if it turns our dumb yet cozy homes into cold, robotic command-scapes?  What if we sacrifice the sonorous richness of a living home for a swarm of beeping gadgets and thin, tinny convenience?

Mieko Kusano, Sr. Product Director, enjoys some bonding time with her son.

What’s so smart about that?

We all have a voice. Not only do we all have a voice, we each have our very own voice. It’s how we make ourselves heard, how we connect with our family and friends (or, okay, sometimes fight with them too), and how we stand out in a sea of others.

At Sonos, we’re all in on voice.  But we want voice to stand for something, not just say something.  We find it weird that some of the world’s biggest companies who claim to champion music and culture cut so many corners when it comes to sound. Because what good is an “innovation” if it ultimately devalues the things you care about most?

We recently released Sonos One, our first voice-enabled product. Sure, it’s a more human, less distracted way of getting to the music you love plus pretty much everything else our connected world offers.  But ultra-convenience and productivity are side-effects.  We’ve really designed Sonos One to listen to you and to help you listen better; to take you seamlessly from off-hand request to the rich, resonant, living sounds of an un-silent home.

Great sound pulls you in.  It nudges you to stop and listen.  It offers to transform that particular moment–or possibly your entire day.  We’ve designed Sonos One to do that, and not just with elegant new voice control. Unlike many contenders in the current mix of voice-enabled whatevers —from can openers to refrigerators—we’re singularly focused on the listening experience.  No gadgety beeps, bloops or blinks. No clunky design or glaring color that visually shouts. Just sleek Sonos simplicity and impeccable, earth-shattering sound.

Song: "You Don’t Know” from Leon Bridges’ new album "GOOD THING"

But just because we like it loud, that doesn’t mean we need to yell. Just by asking, we can invite the voices of our musical heroes, favorite actors and actresses, snarky podcasters, and epic directors and sound designers right into our own living rooms. We want to show them respect, otherwise we wouldn’t have Sonos. We don’t want to stomp all over, abruptly cut off or scream over our heroes. That’s why, when you have the sound cranked to “11”, we’ll quickly turn it down until you’ve finished your command then turn it back up.   We don’t think anyone enjoys YELLING REQUESTS FOR THINGS THEY LIKE AND MIGHT MAKE THEM FEEL BETTER.

Anyway, the future really does seem to be now-ish. The world’s moving at blinding speed, and we’ll probably never return to the days of shutting ourselves in our bedrooms to listen to a new album or of going to the theater to see a movie because it’s the only place we can see it.  We do believe, however, that we can still hold onto that feeling of being fully immersed in an experience, in feeling incredible sound square in our chests and right down to our toes. We want those sounds like we want our coffee—rich, real, and face-melting.

Amber Lewis' husband and daughter love to cook to music.

There’s nothing smarter than that.

Let’s be real: Anyone can talk. Anyone can command. And just about anyone can make something that they’ll say will improve your life. But bad sound isn’t an improvement. It’s a distraction in a world that’s lousy with them. Living by default—default speakers, default technology, default sound—is no improvement at all. If you want to soak in all that music, culture, and life has to offer, you have to hear it. Loud. And clear.

Joy Howard
Chief Marketing Officer


P.S. We all have a voice, but unfortunately voice assistants can’t yet hear us in every language. We launched with Alexa in the US, UK, and Germany. Soon we’ll bring Google Assistant to Sonos One, dramatically extending our ability to hear your voice in any and every language. Like every Sonos product we’ve ever made and ever will, One gets better with time as the things you can do with it continue to expand.

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