BBC is working on 'Beeb,' its in-house voice assistant

Image via Tim Loudon (Flickr)

Voice assistants are gradually making their way into every aspect of consumers' lives, from purchasing groceries to operating smart home appliances. Now, a broadcasting giant in the UK is developing its own voice assistant that will help people interact with its services and navigate its programs.

BBC is planning to introduce "Beeb" sometime next year, according to The Guardian. The voice assistant will be integrated into the company's website and its iPlayer app for smart TVs, with plans to also allow third-party manufacturers to bake the software into their products. There's no word, however, on whether BBC will also build its own smart speaker featuring Beeb to rival Google Home and Amazon Echo devices.

The voice assistant is currently being developed by BBC's in-house team and it will be tested with voice data from the corporation's staff across the UK so that it will understand regional accents in the country. That said, BBC has yet to pick a person whose voice will officially be used for Beeb.

With regard to the planned voice assistant, a BBC representative said:

“With an assistant of its own, the BBC will have the freedom to experiment with new programs, 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."

There's the question, though, of how BBC will address privacy issues arising from reports that digital assistants have been used by tech companies to listen to personal recordings of users. Nonetheless, the company is confident it will have the trust of consumers in terms of providing new ways to access its content using the voice assistant.

Source: The Guardian

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