BBC planning Alexa rival

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The BBC has revealed it is planning to launch a digital voice assistant next year similar to Amazon’s Alexa service. It will not be a hardware device in its own right but rather software designed to work on all smart speakers, TVs and mobiles.

The plan is to activate it with the wake-word Beeb, although this is a tentative name for the service and for now “a working title”, a spokesman said.

BBC staff around the UK are currently being invited to record their voices to help train the programme to recognise different accents.

It said that that having its own assistant would enable it to “experiment with new programmes, features and experiences without someone else’s permission to build it in a certain way”.

“Much like we did with BBC iPlayer, we want to make sure everyone can benefit from this new technology, and bring people exciting new content, programmes and services – in a trusted, easy-to-use way,” added the spokesman. “This marks another step in ensuring public service values can be protected in a voice-enabled future.”


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