In brief: Beeb won’t be part of a standalone hardware product like Amazon’s Echo but rather, a software solution that works on other platforms like smart TVs and on the BBC’s website. It will likely be voiced by a single person although a decision on who that will be hasn’t yet been made.

Digital voice assistants have become so popular that even public service broadcasters are jumping on the bandwagon.

According to a recent report from The Guardian, the British Broadcasting Corporation – better known as the BBC – is planning to launch its own voice assistant that excels at understanding British accents. The assistant, dubbed Beeb, is being developed in-house and will help users interact with online services and find their favorite programming.

Because it is being built by the BBC, there won’t be an attempt to replicate the many features offered by commercial rivals.

“Beeb” will also be the wake word for the assistant, the publication reports, which is scheduled for launch sometime in 2020.

One in five households in the UK own a smart speaker, according to The Guardian, meaning locals are already accustomed to using personal voice assistants. That’s unsurprising, considering smart speakers are sweeping markets worldwide.

In the second quarter alone, more than 26 million smart speakers shipped globally.

Masthead credit: smart speaker by beeboys