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BBC to reportedly launch its own voice assistant next year with a focus on understanding accents


The British Broadcasting Cable or BBC is reportedly planning to launch an AI smart assistant that is said to rival Amazon’s Alexa. The focus of this voice assistant is to understand strong regional British accents, which is something that US-developed products have been struggling to do.

Representational image.

As per The Guardian, the voice assistant will be called Beeb and it is being developed in-house by the BBC team. The assistant will be launched in 2020 and reportedly BBC has no standalone product in mind which would utilise this assistant like the Echo lineup uses Alexa. The smart assistant will, however, be built inside BBC’s website, its iPlayer app on smart TVs, and also be made available to other manufacturers who want to use the smart assistant.

The report states that the voice assistant will be woken up by saying the word “Beeb” however, it will not be able to replicate many of the tasks that advanced AI such as Alexa and Google Assistant do. This is because the BBC team has reportedly worked with a much smaller team than global tech giants. However, Beeb will try and fulfil its main purpose of understanding the complex British accents.

As per the report, the word Beep was chosen for the AI after it was after comparing it with a lot of potential wake words for the software.

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