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Sonos could soon be the soundtrack for your next shopping trip

Sonos has announced Sonos Pro, a new way for companies with multiple locations to manage all of their Sonos wireless speakers from a central, web-based command center. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) product has subscription pricing: each location you want to control costs $35 per month. It’s a U.S.-only service for now, with additional markets planned for the future.

Store manager using Sonos Pro to control a local speaker.

The system is flexible, letting companies decide how much control over individual locations should be in the hands of their employees — all the way from full control to no control at all. The days of your local Kroger running its own quirky playlist could be over if that sort of thing goes against the brand’s standards for its in-store experience. Or, companies could decide that a local flavor is exactly what they want to promote and give their store managers a big influence on the music their customers hear.

The system also includes a feature called schedules, which is effectively an enhancement of the alarms option within regular Sonos home systems. Playlists or other music can be set to play at specific times of day, in specific locations, or even in specific zones within locations. As part of a subscription, companies will get access to “on-demand premium support from anywhere,” although no mention was made of the support hours that customers can expect.

Example of a Sonos Pro dashboard.

In addition to providing an intuitive dashboard that lets companies see the exact state of each Sonos speaker in each location, Sonos Pro also provides subscribers with a new way to steer clear of the potential licensing headaches that could result from using a personal Apple Music or Amazon Music account in a store. It’s called Sonos Backgrounds, a commercially licensed music service featuring a range of music from independent artists.

When Digital Trends asked if Sonos Pro users would still be able to play music from non-commercially licensed subscription music services if they chose, we were told that Sonos planned to take an active role in educating its customers about the appropriateness of such a decision, but that it would not ultimately interfere.

Apart from the centralized control and availability of commercially licensed content, Sonos Pro works just like a regular Sonos system. It’s compatible with every Sonos product that can be controlled via the company’s S2 app, including the newest Era 100 and Era 300 smart speakers.

Employees who have been granted some level of control over their local Sonos system will be invited to log in via the Sonos app on their smartphones. Sonos Pro administrators can decide which product-specific features will be accessible. For instance, the line-in feature supported by products like the Era series could be locked out.

For companies that already have a cloud-based smart control system, there’s a good chance that Sonos Pro will be able to play nicely — it already works with Crestron, Lutron, and Control4.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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