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The Voicebot Podcast

Jun 7, 2020

Andy Webb is head of product for voice and AI at BBC Worldwide as VP of Product Strategy. BBC has been a pioneer in supporting consumer assistants globally such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. It is prominent in the UK but also provides skills and Actions in many other countries as well. It is also one of the most respected news organizations worldwide so Amazon and Google are incentivized to make sure BBC is available through there assistants. 
Last August, BBC announced it would create a new voice assistant of its own called Beeb. The organization is not abandoning Alexa or Google Assistant. Instead, Webb tells me that they are supplementing their work on these platforms. Beeb is more than an assistant. It's BBC's own internal conversational engine that can enable custom assistants deployed through desktop and mobile apps as well as support the many voice assistants that want access to BBC content. 
Media is one of the most popular and most important segments for voice assistants today. BBC is developing the Beeb to offer richer functionality than you could ever provide on the general-purpose consumer assistant platforms because of the limitations they impose on third-parties. 
Andy Webb joined BBC in 2106 and has been head of the voice and AI group since it was formed in 2017. Before his time at BBC, Webb was EMEA regional manager for Imagine Communications, head of product management for digital platforms at Arqiva and Product Development lead at Sky among other roles.