BBC to Launch Alexa Rival

LONDON—The BBC has announced plans to launch its own rival to Alexa next year.

The digital voice assistant will not be a hardware device, but is being designed to work on all smart speakers, TVs and mobile phones.

The assistant will wake when users say the word “Beeb,” although that is currently a working title, the Corporation said.

BBC staff around the U.K. are being invited to record their voices to help train the program to recognize different accents.

According to a BBC spokesman, having its own assistant would enable it to “experiment with new programs, 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, programs and services—in a trusted, easy-to-use way.”

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

Jenny Priestley

Jenny has worked in the media throughout her career, joining TVBEurope as editor in 2017. She has also been an entertainment reporter, interviewing everyone from Kylie Minogue to Tom Hanks; as well as spending a number of years working in radio. She continues to appear on radio every week and occasionally pops up on TV.