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Beeb moves to beta testing

BBC's voice assistant is being tested by UK-based members of Microsoft's Windows Insider Programme

Beeb, the BBC’s alternative to Alexa, has moved to beta testing as the broadcaster looks to launch the digital voice assistant to the public.

Announced in August of last year, Beeb is not be a hardware device, but is being designed to work on all smart speakers, TVs and mobile phones.

An early version is now being tested by UK-based members of Microsoft’s Windows Insider Programme, a community of people who regularly test out new technology. The BBC said the next step will be to make the beta version out to the general public “in the near future.”

“Building the technology to provide the first public service voice assistant doesn’t come easy, which is why our voice team is collaborating with Microsoft, which is helping us build the infrastructure behind it with Azure AI services,” said Grace Boswood, COO, BBC Design and Engineering in a blog post.

“We’ve worked on a number of successful projects with Microsoft in the past, so we know the team is brilliantly placed to help make Beeb as good as it can possibly be.”

“Much like the BBC did with iPlayer, 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,” she added.