tww
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Bose Alexa Skill feedback

Having used Echo + the Bose Skill for a month, I wanted to follow-up with some feedback.

 

"Alexa Skill a Great Start"

I said this a month ago and it is still true. The skill lives up to what Bose promised. A person with some SoundTouch familiarty can perform basic SoundTouch functions without having to open the app.

 

"Alexa, ask Bose" is too long and inconsistent Alexa ecosystem"

I have read this comment from others and agree. Being pre-familar with SoundTouch, I enjoy the skill in place of the remote or app. However I have observed "just give me Alexa" reactions from people who have never used SoundTouch. It is not realistic to expect non-enthusiasts to learn and rememer the exact phrases including preset numbers in place of a title, artist, playlist, station or music source. This ridgid phrasing, in combination with Alexa connectivity issues (below), can make an attempt futile to impress or teach someone how to use Alexa + Soundtouch. My recommendation to Bose is to work towards making SoundTouch the perfect partner within the Alexa ecosystem, and I assume they are.

 

"No SoundTouch Systems Online"

I set up three distinct locations with an Echo + SoundTouch, and Alex says this maybe 10% of the time, particularly at two of the three locations. It is frustrating. Sometimes you can repeat the instruction and it will work, and sometimes you have to wait some time. Alex can have similar connectivity issues with TP-Link smart switches, although TP-Link and Bose do not necessarily lose conneectivity at the same time. I tend to believe the issue is Alexa communicating with the cloud based services, and probably somewhat out of Bose's control. Maybe there needs to be a more robust back-end or more re-try attemps by the software.

 

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Moderator

Re: Bose Alexa Skill feedback

Hi tww, 

 

Thank you for the post and the feedback. I'll pass this on to our Development team here. In regards to the detection issue you mentioned, when this happens, can you check the SoundTouch app to see if the Bose systems can be detected? If they can't be detected in the app, there may be something else going on. Does the issue resolve itself or do you need to unplug your router and systems to fix this? Please let us know. 

 

Kind Regards


Brent - Bose Support

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tww
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Re: Bose Alexa Skill feedback

Brent,

 

Thank you for the reply. I have heard the "No SoundTouch Systems Online" response from Alexa at all 3 locations (described below). At the first two locations you can always just repeat the command and typically after a few repeats or at least a minute or two Alexa is able to find the Bose systems again. At the 3rd location I often have to go back into the app, which still sees the two SoundTouch systems at that location. Unfortunately the 3rd location is my friend's home so they have pretty much given up on SoundTouch unless I am there to assist. In my opinion, from observation, the issue may not be Bose's fault at the root but Bose may be able to better handle less-than-optimal conditions before failing altogether.

 

Location 1 is the most reliable and rarely has communication problems with Alexa or SoundTouch. It consists of Cox Cable Cisco modem, Cisco RV340 Router, 3 NetGear WAC510 WiFi access points, SoundTouch 20, SoundTouch 10 and a SoundTouch Wireless Link Adpater. Both the 2.4 and 5G networks are configured under the same SSID and password.

 

Location 2 is nearly as reliable  as location one. It consists of Cox Cable Arris modem, NearGear R6200v2 router with built-in Wifi and a SoundTouch 10. Again both 2.4 and 5G networks are configured under the same SSID and password.

 

Location 3 is frequently unreliable. It consists of a Cox cable stock Arris modem with built-in Wifi, a SoundTouch 10 and a SoundTouch Wireless Link Adpater. The 2.4 and 5G networks are configured with separate SSIDs and passwords. I have recently moved the SoundTouch devices to the 5G network to see if that makes them more stable. I believe there are quality issues with the Cox cable connectioin here although other internet activity such as movie streaming does not seem to suffer.

 

 

 

Moderator

Re: Bose Alexa Skill feedback

Hi tww, 

 

Thanks for such great detail on the ecosystems. I am definitely concerned about location number 3 from what you've mentioned. The Netgear and Cisco (mentioned in the previous 2 locations) are solid routers. Stock modem/router combos like this can be more susceptible to issues for just the reasons that you mentioned.  Putting both systems on the 5 GHz is smart. If the issues are being caused by less than desirable performance and possibly interference on 2.4, this will definitely help. If its related to throughput, putting one system on the 2.4 and the other on 5, could be something to try as well. Definitely check the signal strength going to the systems using this procedure:

 

In the SoundTouch app, choose the menu icon in the upper left

Choose "Settings" -> About"

Select the desired system to view that system's information. Signal strength is listed as "RSSI Signal Strength"

 

I also wonder any prioritization settings are enabled, like WMM. We've seen that disabling these can help. Something else I'll mention is that our software team is currently investigating a fix for a bug that is affecting some systems when they try to renew their IP address. Until there's a patch, setting a static IP is the best workaround (or lengthening the DHCP lease time). 

 

 Please keep us posted on this.

 

Kind Regards


Brent - Bose Support

tww
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Re: Bose Alexa Skill feedback

Brent,

So... (yesterday and today) the Echo Dot/Alexa at Location 2 (NearGear router w/built-in Wifi + SoundTouch 10) which has been reliable for a month, is now persistently saying "no soundtouch systems are online" in response to any "Alexa, ask Bose..." commands except "Alexa, ask Bose to list speakers" which is able to list the one speaker at this location. The speaker appears in the SoundTouch app and will play from there. I have rebooted the router, disabled and re-enabled the Alexa skill, removed and re-added the speaker and it still persists to say "no soundtouch systems are online." Alexa still sees TP-Link smart switches in the room. 

Moderator

Re: Bose Alexa Skill feedback

Hi tww, 

 

Thank you for responding. I'm sorry to hear that. It sounds like the system may be experiencing a bug that our software team has recently identified. The bug has been occurring for some users when their system reaches out for a new IP address near the pending expiration of the DHCP lease time. Can you try to set a static IP for the system, unplug the system and the router from power for 30 seconds, then re-test to see if it fixes it? If it does, the static IP address will be a workaround as the team investigates a fix. I'd also recommend naming the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands uniquely, if possible. Let us know if this works.

 

Kind Regards


Brent - Bose Support

tww
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Re: Bose Alexa Skill feedback

Brent, I have not yet gotten around to trying the static IP; if I do I will post the result. Meanwhile I am confident Bose will eventually fix this and the SoundTouch app still works just fine. For the record, I have 6 TP Link Smart switches and Alexa has stopped recognizing one those while the TP Link App (Kasa) still sees it just fine. ... From my experience the Alexa skill component of these consumer electronics (not just SoundTouch) has some way to go before it is reliable beyond something fun. I certainly would not connect my whole house using Alexa at this time.

tww
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Re: Bose Alexa Skill feedback

I never got around to trying the static IP, but I ran a speaker update (speaker software version 17.0.12) that cleared up the problem with Alexa saying "no soundtouch systems are online." Thank you!

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Re: Bose Alexa Skill feedback

Hi tww, 

 

That's great to hear! Let us know if you have any other questions. 

 

 

Kind Regards


Brent - Bose Support