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BBC Announces it is Developing a Voice Assistant for iPlayer App

BBC Announces it is Developing a Voice Assistant for iPlayer App

The BBC says it will launch its own Siri-like voice assistant next year, allowing viewers to use voice commands to find their favorite shows and to interact with online services from the British broadcaster.

The voice assistant currently uses the wake word “Beeb,” and the feature will be built into the BBC website, its iPlayer app, and other mobile apps. The assistant will also be made available to smart speaker manufacturers that want to include the feature in their products.

While the British public broadcaster says it has no plans for hardware of its own, the voice assistant is being designed to work on existing smart TVs and smart speakers that include the BBC iPlayer app.

The BBC is asking staff around the U.K. to record their voices to help train the assistant to recognize the varying British accents, which is something voice assistants created in the U.S. have struggled with.

The BBC said that that having its own assistant would enable it to “experiment with new programmes, features and experiences without someone else’s permission to build it in a certain way”.

“Much like we did with BBC iPlayer, we want to make sure everyone can benefit from this new technology, and bring people exciting new content, programmes and services – in a trusted, easy-to-use way,” said a spokesman.

“This marks another step in ensuring public service values can be protected in a voice-enabled future.”

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