The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is planning to launch its own voice assistant, in a potential challenge to the likes of Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and others of its ilk.
The BBC assistant, which rumor has it will be named ‘Beeb’ apparently will be light on features, given the Corp’s relatively low resources compared to that of global tech giants. The BBC has admitted that plans are well underway and the digital voice assistant will launch next year and that it would be software and platform agnostic, meaning it would work on “all smart speakers, TVs and mobiles.”
Set against commercial offerings already available, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby to name a few, the move by the BBC might appear to be reactionary and defensive. But a spokesperson for the broadcasting giant explained that it wanted to “experiment with new programmes, features and experiences without someone else’s permission to build it in a certain way. 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.”
Also, the BBC has something other tech giant rivals lack:Easy access to a massive news and entertainment archive to draw on to design voice assistants that could serve up beloved personalities as a service.
Imagine being able to summon the voice of Tom Baker, aka Doctor Who, to tell you the weather or get a summary of the last episode of The Archers from a familiar Ambridge resident, or being able to play some suitably soothing or dramatic sound effects to entertain your kids.
So while Beeb cannot hope to compete at the same technology feature level as Alexa and all the rest, the BBC could nonetheless show the tech giants a trick or two about how to win friends and influence people.