Sonos Acquired Privacy-Focused AI Platform “Snips” for $37.5 Million

By Bill Toulas / November 21, 2019

Sonos, the wireless speakers, and home sound systems manufacturer, has announced the acquisition of “Snips”, a privacy-focused AI voice platform. The French will now join the American consumer electronics company, with 50 employees who are based in Paris now working together with their colleagues in California, and the whole deal sealing at a cost of $37.5 million. As a recent report by Capgemini highlighted, consumers are having trouble trusting voice assistants, but they are still buying smart speakers. That said, Sonos’ move to buy a private-minded AI developer could be a checkmate move in this market.

Sonos is considered one of the leaders in the field of speaker devices, so that part is covered. Snips will now bring their platform into these high-quality products, which they previously had trouble coupling with mass-produced and competitively-priced hardware. Still, Snips is currently a unique player in the field, with support for multiple wake words, personalized commands, deep learning capabilities, and robust and accurate listening performance. Even in locations of poor internet connectivity, Snips is performing amazingly well. You can get a taste of it in the following video:

The key difference for Snips, however, is that it is private by design. It runs locally and doesn’t transfer anything user-related in the cloud or onto other devices. The privacy protection system is safeguarded by business-model level algorithms, and it complies with the strictest data regulations. Exactly because there is no cloud data transfer, Snips works quicker than Amazon’s, Apple’s, and Google’s offerings, and it is also very frugal in terms of the minimum local hardware requirements.

The CEO of Sonos, Patrick Spence, has stated the following about their latest acquisition: “Millions of people have come to enjoy the ease of controlling music with their voice. Today’s announcement gives us the added talent and technology to create an even more differentiated and immersive experience for customers, both inside and outside of the home.”

From the Snips side, CTO Joseph Dureau stated: “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 Sonos, knowing it shares our dedication to building great experiences for customers without asking them to sacrifice privacy.”

Are you excited about this development, and do you plan to buy a smart speaker soon? Let us know in the comments below, or on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

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