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BBC to launch 'Beeb' voice assistant for Smart TVs next year

27 Aug 2019 | Rasmus Larsen |

BBC is planning to launch its own voice assistant that will understand British accents next year. 'Beeb' can help users find content on Smart TVs and other devices.

"Beeb, play Planet Earth"

BBC has no plans to launch hardware. Instead, it is planning to make its voice assistant available as software for Smart TVs, smartphones and speakers. Here, it can be used to find videos, radio stations, and other types of content via voice commands. The assistant is currently reacting to the wake word "Beeb" but that could change before launch, according to BBC. Beeb will be available from within BBC's apps such as the iPlayer on Smart TVs. It will also be made available to TV makers for integration on a deeper system level. - "With an assistant of its own, the BBC will have the freedom to experiment with new programmes, features and experiences without someone else’s permission to build it in a certain way. It will also allow the BBC to be much more ambitious in the content and features that listeners can enjoy," a BBC spokesperson told The Guardian.

BBC BeebIllustration: Flatpanels

Beeb is being developed by BBC and will understand British English, including various British accents. It is an alternative to voice systems such as Siri, Alexa, and Assistant developed by US-based companies that often use voice assistants to collect user data. Britain's public service broadcaster hopes to alleviate such privacy concerns by launching its own system. - "People know and trust the BBC, so it will use its role as public service innovator in technology to ensure everyone – not just the tech-elite – can benefit from accessing content and new experiences in this new way." BBC is planning to launch Beeb next year. - Source: BBC, The Guardian

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