"Alexa, Play Rolling in the Deep Everywhere." Announcing Multi-Room Music for Products with Alexa Built-in

Sanjay Ramaswamy Sep 20, 2018
Alexa Voice Service Multi-room Music SDK Alexa Built-in News

There are millions of people who own multiple devices with Alexa built-in, and these customers want to be able to combine their speakers to create whole-home audio experiences. That’s why we created Alexa Multi-Room Music (MRM), which enables you to play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices throughout your home. The Alexa App lets you create a group with two or more Echo devices and name it such as “Living Room.” You can then simply say, “Alexa, play my music in the Living Room.”

But customers don’t just have Echo devices in their home. They also have speakers from other brands with Alexa built-in. When we announced Alexa MRM last year, we also announced a developer preview of tools for device makers to create multi-room experiences. Today, we’re excited to make these tools available for all device makers to integrate Alexa MRM into their products. By doing so, customers can group Alexa MRM-compatible products across brands (including Echo devices) to create delightful multi-room experiences.

We have enabled multiple options for developing devices with Alexa MRM:

Prototype with a Development Kit: You can prototype using the Alexa MRM-qualified i.MX 8M development kit from NXP. We have provided the Alexa MRM binaries for this dev kit in the ‘Resources’ section of the AVS Developer Portal.

Accelerate with Solution Providers: Bring your devices to market faster with an Alexa MRM solution from a Systems Integrator (Libre LS9 or Linkplay A98) or a turnkey Alexa MRM solution from an Original Design Manufacturer (Tonly).

Build Your Own with the AVS Device SDK: If your device meets the minimum hardware and software requirements for Alexa MRM, you can work with us to get binaries built for your platform. You can use these binaries with the AVS Device SDK to create multi-room music experiences.

“Our customers are passionate about music. It is a true delight to be able to play synchronized music in multiple rooms of your house using just your voice, and we’re thrilled to give AVS developers access to the same Alexa MRM experience available on Amazon Echo devices,” said Priya Abani, Director, Amazon Alexa. “Developers, systems integrators, and ODMs can use this generally available Alexa MRM solution, and we can’t wait to see them bring the experience to more devices and customers over time.”

Product Spotlights

Many popular brands are integrating Alexa MRM into their speakers for customers to play synchronized music across a multi-brand group of Alexa built-in devices. This will be available to customers of these devices in the coming weeks via an over-the-air update.

Harman Kardon, a premier speaker company, will issue a software update to enable Alexa MRM on their existing Alexa Built-in Allure speaker, allowing their customers to play synchronized music in a group along with other Alexa devices. “Multi-Room Music allows customers to enjoy crisp, synchronized sound across multiple Allure speakers and Alexa-enabled devices,” said Dave Rogers, President, Consumer Audio at Harman Kardon. “A simplified configuration process done via the Alexa App makes Harman Kardon Allure speakers even more versatile and delightful for customers.”

Sound United is adding Alexa MRM functionality to their recently-launched Polk Command Bar: “The Polk Command Bar with Alexa built-in already sounds awesome and functions as an incredibly simple and convenient way to access music, movies, TV, and other content in your home entertainment center via voice,” said Brendon Stead, SVP Product Development and Engineering at Sound United. “Now with the addition of Alexa Multi-Room Music, users can easily group the Command Bar with other MRM-enabled or Alexa devices, regardless of brand, to distribute great-sounding audio content anywhere throughout the home.”

Alexa MRM is just one of several new features available to speakers makers building with Alexa. In addition to today’s release, we are also working to bring additional capabilities to device makers such as stereo pairs (to play left/right channel separately), subwoofer pairs (to combine speakers for more accurate reproduction of frequencies at the bass and mid/high ranges), and preferred speaker setup (to set a speaker or a multi-room music group for streaming music playback).

Things to Try with Alexa MRM

In the Amazon Alexa App, create a group of devices named Living Room.

To initiate playback on the group

  • “Alexa, play Rolling Stones in the Living Room.

After playback begins

  • “Alexa, pause music in the Living Room.
  • “Alexa, pause.” (pauses the active group) 
  • “Alexa, next on the Living Room.
  • “Alexa, next.” (makes the active group move on to play the next song)
  • “Alexa volume 5 on the Living Room.” 
  • “Alexa volume 5.” (control volume on device you are speaking to)

Interrupt during playback

  • “Alexa, what’s the weather?”  (volume drops on the device you are speaking to, and weather info is played)

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