The BBC is working on an audio drama using smart speakers

The Inspection Chamber pilot is expected to launch later this year.

The BBC has revealed it’s working on an interactive audio drama that works with smart speakers such as Google Home and listeners participate in.

Called The Inspection Chamber, the pilot sees listeners play an active role in the story, answering questions and interacting with the characters that appear in the show.

Google launch smart speaker
(Martyn Landi/PA)

The story revolves around the listening being inspected and examined by scientists.

The pilot, which is being called a comedy science fiction drama by the BBC, has been created in collaboration with Rosina Sound.

The BBC’s Henry Cooke said: “We’ve seen a lot of examples of interactive audio stories which operate like a Choose Your Own Adventure book – short chunks followed by a choice: would you like to go down the stairs or through the door?

“We don’t think this works particularly well for entertainment – it takes you out of the moment and forces you to step back and consider your choice at a level of remove from the story and in the context of all the other choices you’ve made.

Amazon Echo
(David Parry/PA)

“In this pilot, you’re actively playing a part in the story, using your own voice – we wanted to make it feel like you’re having a genuine, direct interaction with the other characters in the piece. We haven’t come across any other interactive stories like this on voice devices, and we’re excited to see how people respond to it.”

It will be released on BBC Taster – the testing ground for many a concept idea – before the end of the year.

As well as working with Google Home and Amazon Echo, the developers hope to be able to bring it to Microsoft and Harman Kardon’s Invoke speaker, and the Apple HomePod which is due to launch in December.

The Echo and Home both offer some voice-based entertainment activities, including quiz games and a verbal version of rock, paper, scissors, but developers say they believe this is the first cross-platform voice experience of its kind.

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