Sonos is an American consumer electronics company founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen and Trung Mai, based in Santa Barbara, California. Sonos is widely known for the smart speakers it develops and manufactures.
|Headquarters||Santa Barbara, California, United States|
Number of locations
|1 store (2016)|
MacFarlane introduced a prototype at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show, which was released in 2005 as a bundle called the Digital Music System. The company expanded upon the prototype and product design, adding mesh networking with AES encryption to allow the speakers to play music simultaneously in multiple rooms. Between 2011 and 2014, the company released numerous speakers and added more services. They worked with Bruce Mau Design to incorporate a rebrand of the company, which took effect in 2015. The company has partnered with other companies adding to their catalog of services, including iHeartRadio, Spotify, MOG, QQ Music, and Amazon Music.
They are also partnering with Amazon to enable Alexa to control Sonos speakers, intending to eventually work with every voice assistant on the market.
Sonos was founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen and Trung Mai, with MacFarlane wanting to create a wireless service. In 2004, MacFarlane brought a prototype of the company's soon-to-be first product, the Digital Music System bundle of smart speakers, to CES and the remote at a Wall Street Journal press conference later that year. The bundle won the "Best of Audio" award at the CES Innovations Design and Engineering awards in November and was released in February 2005. In March, the company introduced the ZP100 amplifier (later replaced by the ZP120 and rebranded as the CONNECT:AMP) as an add-on to the current Digital Music System bundle. The bundle was also announced to be sold in the United Kingdom later in May. This was joined shortly afterwards by the unamplified ZP80 (later replaced by the ZP90, rebranded as the CONNECT) with analog and digital input and output connections to link a user's Sonos system to their traditional amplifier. In 2009 the ZonePlayer S5 (later rebranded as the PLAY:5) an amplified smart speaker was released.
In February 2011, Sirius XM was added to Sonos' catalog of music services. In July, the company announced the PLAY:3, a second, smaller, amplified speaker in its Play lineup of smart speakers and added Spotify to its catalog. MOG was also added to the catalog of services, with a free 14-day trial, in May.
In August 2012, Amazon Cloud Player compatibility was added. In May, the company announced the SUB wireless subwoofer and added QQ Music to their catalog with collaboration from Tencent. Within the same month, Sonos announced the Sonos Studio, a studio and art gallery in which art was exhibited along with Sonos' products for free, and featured events with artists like Beck, The Lonely Island, Solange and others, and released a video about its development on July.
In February 2013, Sonos announced the PLAYBAR soundbar speaker. In October, Sonos announced a third, compact, smart speaker, the PLAY:1. In December, the company was estimated to have raised $118 million in venture funding, including a $25 million round; Its investors included Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Redpoint Ventures and Elevation Partners.
In March 2014, the company announced a refresh of its universal Controller app for its system. In January 2015, Sonos was rebranded by Bruce Mau Design, with a new visual identity and improved logotype that was created over the span of four years, from 2011 to 2014. Sonos also announced the limited edition Blue Note PLAY:1 in February, a collaboration with Blue Note Records, which went on sale in March. A new ("2nd gen") PLAY:5 speaker was announced in September. In October, Amazon Music support was officially added following 3 years of Cloud Player support and pre-orders for the PLAY:5 began the same month. In November, a tuning feature called Trueplay was released in a software update. Trueplay tunes the output of Sonos smart speaker units to the acoustics of the room they are in. The initial tuning process requires the use of a suitable Apple smartphone or tablet.
Apple Music became available for streaming in February 2016 and Sonos also released a study entitled Music Makes it Home Study. In March, CEO John MacFarlane announced the company's shift to streaming music services and voice control instead of local playback and laid off some employees. In July, the company opened its first Sonos Store in SoHo. In September, the company announced that its products would become available at the Apple Store.
In January 2017, McFarlane announced via the company's blog that he would be stepping down from his role as CEO, and that he would be succeeded in this position by former COO Patrick Spence.
The company currently offers seven powered speakers: four smart speakers (ONE, PLAY:1, PLAY:3 and PLAY:5), a soundbar (PLAYBAR), a soundbase (PLAYBASE), and a subwoofer (SUB). It also offers the CONNECT:AMP to drive unpowered speaker pairs and the CONNECT to link a Sonos system to conventional audio equipment such as amplifiers and CD players.
Multiple Sonos devices in a single household are connected to each other wirelessly or through a wired ethernet network or a mixture of the two. The Sonos system creates a proprietary AES-encrypted peer-to-peer mesh network, known as SonosNet. This allows for each unit to play any chosen input and if desired share it as synchronized audio with one or more other chosen zones. A single ZonePlayer or ZoneBridge must be wired to a network for access to LAN and Internet audio sources when using this feature, or when creating a 3.1/5.1 surround setup. SonosNet 2.0 integrates MIMO on 802.11n hardware, providing a more robust connection. Sonos does not implement wake-on-wireless technology, instead requiring that every Sonos player or bridge constantly maintains a wireless connection, even when in standby mode or connected by cable. Sonos devices do not have power buttons, and the company claims that each speaker consumes 4-8W in idle/standby.
Second logo, used until 2015 as part of the rebrand by Bruce Mau Design.
Stores and resellersEdit
The company's products are mostly resold through vendors, such as Best Buy, Apple and Target. However, online retailers, such as Amazon.com and Crutchfield, also play in the role of distributing and reselling the products manufactured by the company. According to a press release in November 2011, the company had over 6,300 retail locations that housed their products in North America.
There are currently 12 offices operated by Sonos independently. These are located in Australia, Boston (US), China, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Santa Barbara, California (US), Seattle (US), Sweden and the United Kingdom.
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- Sonos will layoff employees as it adapts to changes in the music industry TechCrunch Retrieved 10 March 2016.
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- "Sonos Components Consume Power When Idle". Sonos. 2005-03-16. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Kettmann, Matt. "Sonos Spins into Control". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Store Locator". Sonos. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
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- "Contact Us". Sonos. Retrieved 31 October 2016.