The BBC have released a beta version of its new virtual assistant for Windows Insiders running the Windows 10 May 2020 Update or later. You can download the app from the Microsoft Store and sign in with your BBC account. You say “OK beeb” and it starts listening. You can pick a regional accent, so I picked Lancashire and then you can say things like “OK Beeb, play radio 2”. It will play radio, podcasts, on-demand radio and news from the BBC. It also does jokes and even QI facts from Sandi Toksvig.

UPDATE: Here is my hands on video:

The BBC has worked with Microsoft Azure AI services to build the infrastructure.

We’ve built Beeb because we know there is growing demand from people to access programmes and services with their voice – around one in five adults have a smart speaker in their home, and millions more have voice-activated devices in their pockets. 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.

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. 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.



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