BBC launching Alexa rival 'that understands British accents'

Josh Hall's picture

The BBC is developing a voice assistant called Beeb, designed to help users navigate the broadcaster's online services.

The Guardian reports that the assistant will be available on the BBC's website and its iPlayer and smart TV apps. It will also be available to third-party manufacturers who will be free to incorporate the software into their own products.

The BBC is reportedly testing Beeb on staff with regional accents around its UK locations.

Amazon's Alexa and Google's Home, the dominant voice assistant products, have attracted the ire of some British users for their inability to understand regional accents.

There are currently no plans to produce a hardware version of Beeb, which has been developed by an in-house BBC team.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster 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.”

See all the winners from the Prolific London Awards

The inaugural event championed creative brilliance from across the capital