We’ve got Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa. And starting next year there will be another voice assistant in the mix—Beeb by the BBC. As (you guessed it) the BBC reports, the organization is currently in the early stages of designing its own digital assistant, which will be activated with the wake-word “Beeb” (though they say “Beeb” is just a working title right now and could change).
So how will Beeb be different from the current voice assistants from the Big Tech giants? The BBC says the goal of Beeb is to enable it to understand all the varying accents of English across the United Kingdom. Currently, BBC staff are being invited to record their voices to help train Beeb.
The BBC says that having its own assistant will allow the organization to “experiment with new programs, features, and experiences without someone else’s permission to build it in a certain way”—that is, they can do what they want without the need to follow Apple’s, Google’s, or Amazon’s rules.
The BBC also says it has no plans to launch Beeb hardware. Instead, Beeb is being designed to work on all smart speakers, smart TVs, and smartphones. “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, programs, and services—in a trusted, easy-to-use way,” a BBC spokesperson said.