Posted on October 23, 2019 by staff

BBC launches UK’s first interactive voice news service


The BBC has today announced the UK’s first interactive voice news service, which it hopes will help people navigate the news agenda.

For users of use Amazon’s Alexax smart speaker, it will now be possible to skip ahead to stories which matter to them, and find out more about the stories that grab their attention by saying ‘Give me BBC News’ to an Alexa-enabled device.

They will also be able to access additional content from a range of sources, including reporting, interviews and features from BBC News’ specialist reporters and correspondents, bulletins which would otherwise have made way for breaking news and the BBC archive where relevant.

The BBC said that where traditional bulletins only have time to play a short clip of a speech in the House of Commons, for example, people who use smart speakers in search of more detail can now decide to listen to the speech in full.

Mukul Devichand, executive editor, BBC Voice + AI, said: “Smart speakers give us the chance to reimagine what radio would be like if it were invented today, free from its technical limitations. By making the news interactive on smart speakers, listeners can jump to the stories they need to hear just before rushing out of the house, or, when they have more time, they can delve into a piece and find out more.

“Delivering the trusted content people expect from the BBC, this new form of audio news comes at an important moment. It will help people navigate through one of the most dramatic news cycles in recent times.”

Andy Webb, Head of Product, BBC Voice + AI, added: “A world of opportunities open up once you connect a speaker to the internet and make it interactive. We’re taking advantage of that by combining our world-class content makers and engineers, exploring how this exciting new medium could look and how we can better serve our audiences now and in future.”

The latest Alexa integration comes less than a week after the announcement of a new feature will which allow Radio 1 listeners to play along with Greg James’ morning show games.

The BBC is also reportedly is set to launch its own voice assistant next year, which may be called ‘Beeb’.