The BBC may be one of the most famous broadcasters, but it has left a very important legacy in today’s tech industry, according tomedia. BBC Micro, for example, was one of the most important early computers in history, which eventually inspired the Raspberry Pi, which in turn created our single-board computer (SBC) market today. Back now, the BBC seems to be once again entering the technology world, this time in the AI voice assistant market.
At present, many tech giants have launched their voice assistant products. While competitors always have room for existence, the split between Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant may have left consumers and the services tied with it unacceptable. And the BBC’s Beeb gives consumers another choice. In addition to naturally providing most of the BBC’s content and services, the voice assistant is also designed to understand the different accents used by BBC clients.
Speech recognition is inherently difficult, and English accents vary widely from region to region, making speech recognition even more difficult. Accents add a layer of complexity to the problem, especially when a country may have a different accent. BBC Beeb is designed to understand how The British speak, and Alexa and Google Assistant are said to be still bothering by the issue.
The BBC partnered with Microsoft to use the latter’s Azure AI platform as the basis for Beeb. Coincidentally, of the big four technology companies, only Microsoft has scaled back more or less on Cortana, the voice assistant.
While the BBC’s Beeb is not ready for prime time, Windows Insiders in the UK has been able to test the app in person. However, whether the BBC plans to bring Beeb’s capabilities to the rest of the world may be something the company has not considered yet, especially since the voice assistant will cater to a very special market.