Technology, Top News

BBC launches first voice activated service with Alexa Skill

The Alexa is on the table. He’s not listening through the dog

THE BBC has launched its official skill for Amazon Alexa, its ‘first full voice service for smart speakers’.

It brings together all of the BBC’s radio stations – 40 local, 10 national, 6 nation (ie Wales, Ulster) and the World Service as well as all of its myriad of podcasts.

This skill is in addition to the existing Flash Briefing news skill that has been available since launch, and the experimental interactive radio app from BBC R&D.

Matthew Postgate, chief technology and product officer at the BBC, said: “Smart speakers are an exciting new way of interacting with audio content. They’re a natural fit for the BBC as millions of people enjoy and rely on our audio programmes every day.

“Today we’re making sure audiences can find what they love from the BBC on any device they use, through one single and easy-to-use service. But there’s potential to do more and we’re just scratching the surface.”

As such, the BBC has promised more from the Skill as time goes on – with the aforementioned interactive drama, The Inspection Chamber, being one example.

The World Service alone offers English, plus another 27 languages, while the podcast section, from the second biggest podcast maker in the world, includes favourites such as The Archers, Woman’s Hour, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review and a growing library of near complete archives, such as that of Desert Island Discs.

Amazon recently launched Echo in 28 territories and is aggressively pricing it in the run-up to Christmas. 

There will also be “pop-up” stations added throughout the year, such as BBC Radio 2 Country and BBC Radio 2 Eurovision which have both proved popular in previous years.

The command structure is as you would expect – “Alexa, ask the BBC to…” which will give access to live broadcasts, most recent, and archived episodes.

To access the BBC Alexa Skill, visit the Alexa app, search, and then simply click “Enable”.

In the spirit of true BBC impartiality, the corp. has confirmed services for other speakers will soon be available. µ

Source : Inquirer

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