"Alexa, start CBC News"

Today, Amazon announced that Alexa is coming to Canada and we're finally able to tell you about the work we've been doing to position CBC as an early adopter of conversational interfaces.

Who is Alexa?

Alexa is Amazon's cloud-based voice service that works like an intelligent personal assistant. Devices like the popular Echo speaker connect to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more. Using Alexa, these devices can also connect to other smart home devices.

After launching in the US, UK, Germany, India and Japan, Amazon has now confirmed it is introducing the service in Canada with featured partners, and CBC is one of them.

Alexa in Canada

Starting today, Alexa-compatible devices already in Canada will have access to CBC's free content and all people will need to say is: 'Alexa, tell me the news.'

We'll give people options to listen to The World This Hour, local radio news from Winnipeg, Windsor, Vancouver, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, St. John's, Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton and Calgary or any of our 30 CBC Radio One streams from across the country.

It took a lot of hard work to get here. Hats off to the News, Regions, Radio, MTIS, AV Streaming and Digital Product teams who are making it happen.

Is this what the future looks like?

Google, Apple and Amazon are all investing in conversational interfaces. A recent report from Forrester Research (covered here by Forbes) predicts that 22 million Amazon Echo smart speakers will be sold in the US in 2017.

Being on the front lines of this emerging technology means that we've already learned a great deal about how our listeners interact with Alexa. CBC News: The World This Hour Flash Briefing was launched in the US/UK Alexa store back in January, and has seen good uptake and positive reviews. Now that the service is coming to Canada, we'll be learning even more as we make plans to offer more CBC programming on smart speakers.

If you're already using a smart speaker in your home, tell us about it or if you're curious, ask your questions in the comments.

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