BBC for Voice User Interfaces

Status: active
How can we make BBC content discoverable on voice platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Home?

Providing the best news content for voice user interfaces is a priority for the BBC. At News Labs, we’ve been leading the way in exploring how the corporation should sound on smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo. We began building for voice platforms at an internal hackathon last winter. Labber Lei He helped develop a Google Home action which used Google’s synthetic voice to read out headlines and the latest stories about requested topics from the BBC News website. We later demoed this prototype to the BBC’s Director-General and other senior managers.

We’re continuing to think about new ways to help people access BBC content on these devices, including how to make broadcasts more navigable using voice technology. We’re looking forward to further collaboration with BBC R&D, whose work on “talking with machines” is helping to inform the BBC’s future strategy for voice platforms.

Next Priorities

  1. Explore ways to segment broadcasts for easier voice navigation.
  2. Consider what internal tooling might be needed to allow editors to prepare broadcasts, podcasts and documentaries for voice devices.