Lee Macaulay

Making Coronavirus Update 24/7

#smart speakers, #voice,

One of the things I’ve really come to appreciate during my time working on the BBC Voice News team is that we can be a bit more agile that other parts of the corporation when it comes to doing new things.

I’m using the word agile specifically, bearing in mind the way it’s used in software development.

One day back in March, when coronavirus was starting to become more of a concern outside of China - we had the idea to create an regular update for smart speakers with the very latest on Covid-19 for UK audiences through the BBC Sounds skill on Amazon Alexa.

At first, it was - roughly - the biggest story at the time, a UK roundup, the latest government advice during lockdown, a world roundup and whatever else we found interesting… all in between three to six minutes.

At one point, we were updating it five times a day but now we’ve settled on a slightly lower pace of between two and three times depending on the day’s news.

Here’s an example of a recent edition that I wrote and presented:

To get it on your Alexa speaker, you just say “Alexa, coronavirus BBC” or you can subscribe to it as a podcast in your favourite podcast app.