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BBC launching voice assistant understanding British accents

The BBC is developing a digital voice assistant which will recognise British accents.

The company is working on the Beeb - an alternative to the likes of Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa - and it will involve collecting recordings from the broadcaster's teams across the UK to ensure the tech will have a grasp on regional accent.

The voice assistant will let users interact with BBC programmes and online content, and it is expected to launch next year on devices like phones and smart speakers.

A spokesperson said in a statement: "Around one in five adults have a smart speaker in their home - and millions more have voice-activated devices in their pockets - so there is growing demand from people to access programmes and services with their voice.

"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."

However, The Guardian has reported the BBC has no plans to launch a standalone piece of hardware to use the Beeb.

Instead, it will be build into the corporation's website and iPlayer app, while manufacturers will be able to incorporate it into their own devices.

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