While Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri have been pretty useful to a lot of people, they haven’t perfected yet the art of understanding accents apart from the standard American one. BBC believes it will be able to do a better job when it comes to “regional accents” and so they are coming up with a new voice assistant called Beeb. The focus of this new software is to find their favorite BBC content and programs and interact with basic online services.
However, Beeb will not exactly be a huge rival for the aforementioned digital assistants. Since this is being developed in-house at the BBC and they have limited resources compared to Amazon and Google, it will not be able to do the whole range of functions that Alexa or Google Assistant has. According to an article in The Guardian, the main purpose of this is to let users use voice commands to engage with BBC content.
They will also not be launching a physical product like a smart speaker or anything. Beeb will be built into the BBC website and its iPlayer app available on smart TVs. But they will also work with manufacturers that want to incorporate the software into their device that has BBC content as well. This will allow the public broadcaster to be able to develop new kinds of interactive programming.
What will make Beeb stand out, aside from focusing on BBC content, of course, is that it will be able to understand and interact with the British accent, which sometimes the other digital assistants find difficult to understand. They’re testing it out by having their staff in offices around the UK record their voices and check if the software does understand them. Beeb is not just the name but also the wake word that you will use to trigger it.
While BBC does work with the other voice assistants in the market, having their own one will let them experiment with their own programs, features, and experiences without necessarily having the permission of an Amazon or Google. No word yet on when Beeb will officially launch.