Integration with automation tools

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  • Official comment
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    Kyle F. - BluOS Support Specialist

    Hi Trevor,

    Thank you for your suggestion. We've taken note of your request and we've sent to the Bluesound Lab for consideration.

    Thanks for #LivingHiFi.

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    Ole Lilienthal

    It is a pitty that there hasn't been any update on this for over a year. I also consider this integration possibility to add great value. However, it is only a differentiator to competitors in a negative way if you do not provide this integration. Sonos is close to go public with their echo skill and already today their hardware is at least partly supported via yonomi.

    Maybe you want to reconsider?

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    Douglas

    I'm "echo-ing" this request.

    I'm a Bluesound owner with considerable investment in a Vault 1 and a Pulse 1.  I am considering giving up on Bluesound to go to Sonos because the interfaces aren't great, I can't stream my Apple Music through Bluesound, and I have no home automation possibilities.  

    As yet, Sonos doesn't have Echo integration, but I'm ready to make the switch unless Bluesound comes up with some kind of solution.  I'd even buy more hardware to make it all work.  

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    Tony W. - Product Support Manager

    Hi Douglas

    Thanks for the feedback. We are very aware of the possibility of voice integration not just with Amazon Echo but other whole home voice solutions. We also see this as more of a requirement than an optional feature in the IoT space. That being said, a public API model is not in our immediate plans as we prefer a total solution that works for all but it is very high on our radar.

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    Peter Goodrich

    I am the owner of (3) node 2's and (1) vault 2. They are tied to a McIntosh MX 122 AVP and (11) McIntosh amps for Theatre and Whole house audio. I have replaced the elan touch panels and Fireball Sony Mega Disc machines with 3,000 CDs in hopes of integrating it all through amazon/echo and 7 amazon dots. I am willing to sign a non-disclosure  and pay for the API if you could provide me with the Bluesound API for this integration. I have spoken with the folks at Amazon Development (Seattle, WA) and they are willing to write the skills needed to my alexa app. once they have the Bluesound API. I plan to add (3) more nodes 2's once we get the first round of integration in place. Please contact me so that I can get your help with the investments I have made in this project. Thank you p.s. I love you products

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    Mitch Lacey

    Any update on this? We're two years into the suggestion. Like Peter, I have quite a few of your devices - 6 PN2's and I need to add two more this year. My wife prefers to listen to music on an Echo Dot - a DOT! Over the PN2 that powers the kitchen, or the one that powers the living room just because it's easier and "sounds good enough" - as you can imagine, this pains me. 

    If you're rolling out new features, I'd love to see them. As an owner of an original Node, I've watched development over time, but things seem few and far between. 

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  • Hi Mitch

    We are working hard to look at voice integration solutions such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Home Kit in an inclusive way for all.

    We do not have a public facing API.

    Thanks for #LivingHiFi

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    Erik Mailil

    Hi Bluesound

    Any updates on the integration, i have used Alexa for 3 months now think you should make an update supporting Alexa ASAP. It would be a huge plus as a selling point.

    Nothing fancy just a skill to be added

    My kids use Alexa together with their bluetooth speakers, and its great.

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    Tony W. - Product Support Manager

    Hi Erik

    Thank you for the feedback. We are very aware of Amazon Alexa, Google Home and other voice options. Amazon skills are very limited in what you can and more importantly cannot do. We continue to work into looking into options at a level of service you have become accustom to from Bluesound.

    Thanks for your patience.

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    Robert Donnan

    Alexa integration is really something that needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. I am invested into the Bluesound system and I am prepared to buy several more units. However, with no apparent progress having been made with a customer demand that was first voiced over two years ago, I am hesitant to expand my investment any further. It is very disappointing to see this integration in the Sonos system and not Bluesound's... thus leaving me in the difficult position of fending off questions from my spouse as to why we are "stuck" with this system when we "should" have bought Sonos in the first place. Please - for the sake of domestic harmony, and my household's continue patronage, attend to this request as quickly as possible

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    Mitch Lacey

    Hello Robert. As a fellow Bluesound User (maybe that's what this thread should be called), I echo your frustration.

    However it's important to remember the following:

    They are are very aware of Amazon Alexa, Google Home and other voice options. Amazon skills are very limited in what you can and more importantly cannot do. They continue to work into looking into options at a level of service you have become accustom to from Bluesound.

    Now, given that, and that the thread is well over two years old, and that I also have a pissed off wife and kids asking the *exact same effing questions multiple times per week*, I've learned to just trust that what we're being told, and the Bluesound we've already invested in, will be fixed sometime before the next JPL/Nasa Mars mission.

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    Sam T

    Please integrate with Alexa. Sonos is so far ahead and its sad that all my much more expensive Bluesound equipment feels inferior without Echo/homekit/google integration 

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  • Hi Sam (et al)

    As mentioned - we are very excited about what can be done here as well. Alexa Skills are very limited and do not create the experience our consumers hope to enjoy... yet...  but we continue to review this constantly.

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    VB

    "Alexa Skills are very limited and do not create the experience our consumers hope to enjoy"..

    Wow, what an unpleasant read! So you guys know better what I hope to enjoy? Or am I not one of your consumers? Indeed, unless there is a clearly communicated Bluesound plan to integrate with Alexa etc soon, my 4 bluesound players are going to be replaced to enjoy what I like. And that is possibility to control the music with the voice, not an app.

    Seriously, with Apple joining the market of high quality voice controlled speakers, how long do you think your "consumers" will give you before moving on?

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  • Hi VB

    Sorry for the confusion.

    We are reviewing voice options for all 3 major voice solutions. We realise how important a priority it is but continue to look for the best solution that is easy and intuitive to use. 

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    Erik Mailil

    Dear Bluesound

    Do you have a timeframe for your review ? 

    And also a timeframe for a solution ?

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  • Hi Erik

    For product announcements and time lines, follow us on Twitter @BluesoundHiFi or like us on facebook.com/Bluesound.HiFi

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    Robert Donnan

    I believe that Bluesound needs to prioritize putting something out that can handle the basic commands for volume control, skipping and so on - call it version 1.0. A more elegant solution could be developed later, but Bluesound has to show that it is responsive to the community's demand, while recognizing that the skill requires further development as the AI is improved. Your competitors have shown that this basic level of utility can be achieved, and it's now Bluesound's duty to its own community to step up.     

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    Colin Miles

    So I have read the entire thread, along with other threads in and around this subject and for me Bluesound you are missing the point. Your entire customer base is requesting simple/basic integration with Alexa and other products, but Alexa being the biggest based on market share and you are concentrating on delivering engineering excellence. Your products are already engineered to a very high standard, this is simply an additional control for your excellent product, something that can be developed further with future releases. You will lose sales and indeed from reading the thread you will lose the faith from your existing customer base to boot if you don't change your approach.

    On top of this, it is not acceptable to simply say "we are working on it" or "we recognise the importance of having this", you have been saying it for two years! You need to provide more customer transparency on delivery at least to the quarter of a year release schedule, we wont hold you to an exact date, just set your customers expectations.

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    Andrew H.

    Hi Folks, Let me share some thoughts here.  I'm the product manager who builds the road map.  First a few governing thoughts; we don't corporately discuss timelines for items that are in production; our development road map is based on adding some level of features, music, interface, etc. and not just one thing at a time; many features are based on dependencies that need to be in place first; maintenance is a big deal and in the 2.16 release we have 5 music services that are completely rebuilt however transparent to users.

    Having said that Voice control is something we are working on.  What i will say is that we are building the back end, or plumbing to be agnostic to front end service, so it won't matter to us what "flavour" of device you want to have, so long as we can get access to a control interface and can ensure the security of the connection we will want this to work.  At this time most of thinking in only a couple dimensions, amazon and google.  When in fact there are literally a dozen or so services around the world, perhaps the largest is Tencent who operates the largest music service in the world (900 million users) where you'd get to say Ding Dang Ding Dang instead of OK google.

    Right now the generally accepted front runner is amazon, however ask a typical user how effective it is at playing music and you'll find the majority of folks have given up after a couple weeks of frustration.  Our planning goal is to avoid that and deliver a voice interface that you'll use and will be broad enough to useful.  On the other platforms front Apple just announced that they would prefer you to integrate with Watson, and not Siri, which has no public interface yet that we can see (obviously will come at some point), Bixby (Samsung and the original team that developed Siri) is by far the most context driven AI engine available, with likely the ability to offer a public facing API at some point.

    All to say that we are working on it, and will bring it out when we feel that you will benefit from the experience as our premium customers and not be trying to learn a new syntax based language.  Andrew

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    Colin Miles

    Andrew, Thank you for taking the time to provide a detailed response, it does provide more confidence that things are progressing. A couple of follow on points on this if I may. I understand it is against your Corporate Policy to discuss timeframes, however again although confidence has improved, your customers are still totally in the dark on timeframes, is it a 2018 delivery, 2019 or beyond? You can see from this thread the sentiment of your install base on this subject.

    And although your comment on the negative perception of playing music through Amazon is yours, there are many other households where listening to music through the Echo has increased, the quality is not great, but as per a comment below it is good enough and more importantly it is easy for my wife and other children to use.

    Please can the Corporate Policy be reviewed on this topic so to try and help provide more insight on the year of delivery.

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    VB

    Andrew, appreciate you take time to post response to us, your clients and that you are looking in providing full solution for voice interfaces.

    One thing which makes me wonder though, you say: however ask a typical user how effective it is at playing music and you'll find the majority of folks have given up after a couple weeks of frustration.

    Did you guys make some kind of survey? Can you share it, if so? I am just really curious, what I am missing there.

    Please let me tell you this: I replaced my Bluesound Pulse speaker with Sonos play5 + echo dot (as I mentioned above I would). And I am totally satisfied with the functionality for the purpose of kitchen speaker. In fact, the whole family is much more happy to skip the app thing. Especially my 6 years old son, who can say: "Alexa, play Justin Bieber on the kitchen". Of course, for serious listening it is not good enough, but I am not doing that on kitchen speaker anyways. 

    By the way, the resell value of v.1 Pulse is so low that I didn't even bother. I wonder how much money I am losing right there because it is not integrated with voice control.. Will it pickup if you decide to support voice on it?

    Or will old speakers be skipped to release a "new upgraded version"?

     

     

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    Andrew H.

    For Colin - we won't discuss release timing unless it's imminent as I've been down that road too many times, something happens, changes, testing isn't finished and then we spend time answering why...  It's important and we are working on it.

    For VB - the voice aspect will be based in BluOS so any product, gen 1 or 2 will work, and there is an industry research paper that talked to voice control users, where it found that 97% of them stopped using the unit for anything other than basic things after two weeks.  I'll see if there is a public link to any of it.  Essentially the report said that long syntax driven specific language caused disappointment.  

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    Colin Miles

    Thank you Andrew, I come from a large customer facing organisation so I understand the challenges in sharing dates and I can see you are not able to provide further date information, so will close this point. I do hope that your organisation is treating this like a phased release programme moving towards the IT business and deal with future features as you perfect them and not wait until you have best possible engineered outcome. I think it takes a lot for customers to provide you direct feedback, I am sure you feel the sentiment that exists across your base, VB and others. I look forward to a basic voice interaction and if you want any alpha or beta customers let me know,

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    Andrew H.

    We struggle with phased versus perfect LOL.  But it will be phased approach.  thanks for understanding.

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  • Hi Colin

    "I think it takes a lot for customers to provide you direct feedback, I am sure you feel the sentiment that exists across your base, VB and others."

    I hope it does not take that much - my goal as the Product Support Manager is to not only resolve aftermarket issues but collect that user experience information and pass it along to other teams such as Andrew's to try and make a better experience for all.

    We try to be a Listening Organisation and as best we can, but also try to be aware of first to market doesn't always stay in line with best in show.

    Thanks for your continued patience...

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    Mitch Lacey

    @Tony. Thanks for the comments. "We try to be a Listening Organisation and as best we can, but also try to be aware of first to market doesn't always stay in line with best in show."

    I was in Best Buy the other week. I like going to the Magnolia Hi-Fi stuff and dream of the McIntosh my wife won't let me buy, instead saving for our kids college fund.

    They have a nice Bluesound display. A guy was looking at your products and the sales guy came over. The guy asked the basic questions around "is it like Sonos?" - they had a dialog about hi-res audio and I resisted chiming in. Then came the killer that made me laugh. The guy made a comment on how his family relies on Amazon Echo devices for audio. Naturally the Alexa discussion happened, and the sales guy said something around "if you want pretty good audio quality with streaming, buy a Sonos, it just works."

    The guy walked over to the Sonos display, picked up a speaker and left the store.

    So you're right. First to market does not, in any way, translate to best in show. But you can't be best in show if you have no customers who purchased or moved to "good enough" solutions, because you'd arrive to the show DOA, which I feel is the path you're on.

    Mitch

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    Tony W. - Product Support Manager

    Thanks Mitch

    You are correct - there will always be a 'good enough' consumer but there always be a 'step up' consumer as well. We strive to be the product for someone like you where Hi-Res, MQA or Audio performance is a primary part of the decision making. 

    You are also correct in stating we shouldn't rest on just that. I am mostly concerned about the last 3 words you heard out of the Magnolia staff's mouth. Those speak to Andrew's comments regarding our choice to not publish dates and then prematurely releasing a feature to ensure we meet a press release deadline. In the long run this could damage our reputation more. What is the point of doing something that doesn't work in the end.

    Thanks for taking the time to write and hope everyone on this thread has a better insight on to our thought process...

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    Mitch Lacey

    @Tony - This whole thread got me thinking of a conversation I had with a buddy a couple weeks ago. He has a large library of DSD and HDTrack stuff, yet he has abandoned it for "simple" - which to him is Spotify. I gasped. I told him he was a moron, but his counter was a fair one. He asked why he should have to fight technology, causing frustration, versus just having a simple, integrated experience. He said Spotify "just works" in his car, his house, his receiver, etc. His kids use it, his wife uses it. Everyone is happy, and they don't own Echo's.

    As our conversation continued, and we moved to the second bottle of wine, we thought back to the Cynefin framework. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynefin_framework

    When I think about it, it seems many of the posts on this thread are looking for the simple, "it just works" solution, with a quality product like the Bluesound devices. What I hear from the company, however, is that "it's too complicated or complex" and it seems you're paralyzed by it. I only say paralyzed as this thread alone is over two years old. There are other feature requests, like Pandora integration, that are equally as old. The responses are all similar, and point me to the complicated or complex bit of the framework.

    Anyway, my wife acceptance factor is at zero. The kids would rather listen to music on their phones or their Echo's, even though they have their own players and in-wall speakers in their rooms. All I can do is shrug. 

     

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  • Hi Mitch

    Not all problems are technical issues. For example you mentioned Pandora. I think we have tried as best we could to really state that to your consumers with Pandora. Implementing Pandora is not because it is too complex, it is simply that in conversations with Pandora, non-technical issues have for what ever reason, prevented them from releasing a certified approved API to implement it. As we have stated many times, we are ready when they are.

    In fact we have avoided reverse engineering the API using third party solutions as we do want to have an active working relationship with them.

    As for your other members in your house, they simply have a different priority than you do, convenience to them trumps sound quality... an admittedly easier place for us to move to than others moving to us... which we continue to work on.

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