Mass Media & Technology

Beeb - A New BBC Voice Assistant

(August 2019)

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AS
Asa Admin
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-49481210

Quote:
The BBC is planning to launch a digital voice assistant next year, the corporation has announced.
It will not be a hardware device in its own right but is being designed to work on all smart speakers, TVs and mobiles.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/76ba56a5-d260-4e6b-a81e-11b962737a42

What I don’t understand though is that if they’re not building their own hardware, how is it actually going to work? You’ll always have to say “Hey Siri”, “OK Google” or “Alexa” surely? Those tech giants aren’t suddenly going to allow a custom wake word just for the BBC.

I wonder if the voice recognition tech is third party or done by R&D. It’s a mammoth undertaking if the latter, although could work well if they focus on regional accents in Blighty.
LL
Larry the Loafer
Sounds like something else inspired from W1A. I don't see the point in using the word "Beeb" if you need to use other wake words to activate the assistant, not to mention "Beeb" can easily be misinterpreted as "Bee" or something else common and innocuous. Just seems like a vapid attempt to be relevant when they really don't need to.
NJ
Neil Jones Founding member
Maybe I'm too set in my ways but I don't use voice control on anything I have that supports it. I don't see the appeal of it.
DV
DVB Cornwall
About the only 'control' I use is asking Siri or Alexa to set wake up alarms. Most other smart speaker instructions come via paws on screen.
RO
roo
Asa posted:

I wonder if the voice recognition tech is third party or done by R&D. It’s a mammoth undertaking if the latter, although could work well if they focus on regional accents in Blighty.

No idea what this will be using, but FWIW the BBC has built in-house speech recognition capabilities on top of Kaldi (trained on BBC material), that are used in quite a few production systems and research projects.
DV
DVB Cornwall
One reason for this is possibly the plethora of content available online and via BBC Sounds. The BBC might find using it's own 'skill' to access this content will make indexing the collections easier such as

'Beeb, play Podcast Desert Island Discs from 24th July 1995' or
'Beeb, play The Latest Desert Island Discs'

should be relatively easy to control the massive library using specific Beeb commands that might not translate across generic available broadcaster skills.
SE
Square Eyes Founding member
'Beeb, play Bieber' Very Happy
CL
clh
One reason for this is possibly the plethora of content available online and via BBC Sounds. The BBC might find using it's own 'skill' to access this content will make indexing the collections easier such as

'Beeb, play Podcast Desert Island Discs from 24th July 1995' or
'Beeb, play The Latest Desert Island Discs'

should be relatively easy to control the massive library using specific Beeb commands that might not translate across generic available broadcaster skills.


Must say I feel like this is the idea, to provide a way of accessing BBC content. If you're British, there's something uniquely attractive about content from the BBC, so while they say this will be available across many products such as iPlayer it makes sense to be able to ask third party devices for beeb content only.
LO
lobster
I really wish the BBC would stick to what it's good at rather than chucking money these kinds of projects.

I'd rather they chuck the money at regional services, for instance.

There is no way they'd be able to compete with the likes of apple, amazon and google in this domain.... whilst apple, amazon and google can't compete with the bbc in terms of it's domain and reach... an absolute nonsensical decision.
Last edited by lobster on 29 August 2019 7:30pm
Rkolsen and all new Phil gave kudos
NG
noggin Founding member
I really wish the BBC would stick to what it's good at rather than chucking money these kinds of projects.


That's what people said when the BBC decided to invest in TV services when they were only doing radio.

In the all-IP future, customisation is king. Controlling that is key. The BBC would be crazy to NOT be getting involved in machine learning and customisation.
LO
lobster
I really wish the BBC would stick to what it's good at rather than chucking money these kinds of projects.


That's what people said when the BBC decided to invest in TV services when they were only doing radio.

In the all-IP future, customisation is king. Controlling that is key. The BBC would be crazy to NOT be getting involved in machine learning and customisation.


then they'd be better off chucking their resources into developing open standards so in the all IP future instead of their content being sold through google or apple or some other market place layer they have no control over there is an open regulated platform for content distribution, available on all smart devices, world-wide. that makes more sense to me than what they are doing now which is a big leap from just machine learning and customisation.
NG
noggin Founding member
I really wish the BBC would stick to what it's good at rather than chucking money these kinds of projects.


That's what people said when the BBC decided to invest in TV services when they were only doing radio.

In the all-IP future, customisation is king. Controlling that is key. The BBC would be crazy to NOT be getting involved in machine learning and customisation.


then they'd be better off chucking their resources into developing open standards so in the all IP future instead of their content being sold through google or apple or some other market place layer they have no control over there is an open regulated platform for content distribution, available on all smart devices, world-wide. that makes more sense to me than what they are doing now which is a big leap from just machine learning and customisation.


The BBC is a major player in the ITU, the EBU and SMPTE and works on open standards within those organisations. It's doing just what you suggest with respect to IP production standards, and IP broadcast. Where it is more difficult is third party, proprietary syndication platforms - owned by Apple, Amazon and Google. It's near-impossible to force them to use a global standard, and regulate that. Not sure how you propose that would work?
bilky asko and UKnews gave kudos

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