Sonos has purchased the French-based company Snips. Snips specialises in on-device voice control. The purchase will enable Sonos to add a voice assistant to its products that will work without an internet connection, ensuring privacy.

Currently, voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri only work when the devices using them are connected to the internet, because speech recognition and speech generation are done ‘in the cloud’.  Snips’ AI voice platform, on the other hand, claims to be a solution that uses proprietary technology that allows voice processing to take place on the device itself. ‘This localised processing maximises accuracy, efficiency and privacy while minimising footprint and cloud dependency,’ said Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos. ‘Snips’ voice assistants are custom-built for specific tasks and designed to run alongside other general-purpose voice assistants currently on the Sonos platform.’

The acquisition comes at a time when many consumers are switching off their voice assistants or refusing to use products that embody voice recognition because of (well-documented) fears that private conversations could be overheard and recorded. ‘Millions of people have come to enjoy the ease of controlling music with their voice’, Spence told Australian Hi-Fi Magazine. ‘Acquiring Snips’ talented 50-strong engineering team and its proprietary technology gives us the ability to create an even more differentiated and immersive experience for customers, both inside and outside the home.’

Joseph Dureau, CTO of Snips, said, ‘We are thrilled to join forces with Sonos, a company that shares our core values, to continue our work and take private-by-design voice experiences to a truly global audience. We see an exciting future together as we integrate our IP and platform with those of Sonos, knowing it shares our dedication to building great experiences for customers without asking them to sacrifice privacy.

For more information, contact Sonos Australia