ShortList is now ad free and supported by you, the users. When you buy through the links on our site we may earn a commission. Learn more

You wot, mate? The BBC is working on an Alexa rival that understands accents

Beeb will be the wake word, apparently.

You wot, mate? The BBC is working on an Alexa rival that understands accents
Marc Chacksfield
27 August 2019

If you use the likes of an Amazon Echo (other smart speakers are available) and are fed up with it not being able to understand your strong, regional accent, then worry no more - the BBC is making an Alexa rival that will actually understand you.

Codenamed Beeb - expect this to change - the digital voice assistant will be integrated into the BBC iPlayer and will be used to unlock new features through the service.

A spokesperson from the BBC said about the voice assistant news: “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."

And how is the BBC training the voice assistant? Well, it's currently getting its staff to send samples of their voices from up and down the country to make sure that all the accents are covered off.

It is also making sure that it doesn't fall into the Alexa trap and become a privacy matter, explaining that: “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.”