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BBC Voice Assistant Media

BBC preps Alexa rival equipped with a fuller grasp of British dialects & accents

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By John Glenday, Reporter

August 27, 2019 | 2 min read

The BBC is to enter the US-centric world of voice recognition with the launch of a pared-down Amazon Alexa rival that it claims will be better equipped to navigate the incomprehensible waters of regional British slang, dialects and accents.

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BBC preps Alexa rival equipped with a fuller grasp of British dialects & accents

Going by the corporation's colloquial title of 'Beeb' the voice assistant has been built from the ground-up by the BBC to enable families to request their favourite programmes or services without the need to adopt received pronunciation to make themselves understood.

To account for the not inconsiderable variations in speech from around the country the BBC’s boffins have been feeding their gadget with recordings voiced by BBC staff from around the UK to get an accurate handle on the type of real-world conversations carried out within the nations living rooms.

The resulting software will be built into the BBC’s website and the iPlayer app on Smart TV’s, removing the need to purchase a standalone speaker.

A BBC spokesperson said: “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.”

The new service is scheduled to launch next year and coincides with the launch of its long-awaited BritBox collaboration with ITV.

BBC Voice Assistant Media

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London.

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