World Wide Web Consortium Issues First Public Working Draft of VoiceXML 2.0

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W3C and VoiceXML Forum Work Together to Produce Voice Markup for the Web

Testimonials --23 October 2001 -- Leading the Web to its full potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today released the first public Working Draft of VoiceXML 2.0, an XML-based language for voice dialogs. A first public Working Draft gives the Web community an invitation and opportunity to see the early work of a W3C Working Group, and to contribute through comments and implementations. VoiceXML 2.0 was published after W3C and the VoiceXML Forum announced plans for cooperation through a jointly signed Memorandum of Understanding.

W3C's Voice Browser Working Group Weaves Telephony into the Web

W3C is working to expand access to the Web to allow people to interact via key pads, spoken commands, listening to prerecorded speech, synthetic speech and music. This will allow any telephone to be used to access appropriately designed Web-based services.

"Voice-enabled Web access creates opportunities for people with visual impairments or those needing Web access while keeping their hands and eyes free for other things, such as getting directions while driving," explained Dave Raggett, W3C Voice Browser Activity Lead and W3C Fellow from Openwave Systems, Inc. "VoiceXML 2.0 is an excellent fit to telephony and will enable all kinds of new applications."

To fulfill this goal, W3C's Voice Browser Working Group, active since March 1999, has been developing the W3C Speech Interface Framework, a system which includes languages and functionalities for speech synthesis, speech grammars, semantic interpretations of results, call controls, pronunciation lexicons, natural language representation, and a markup language for voice dialogs.

VoiceXML 2.0 Provides Markup Language for Voice Applications

VoiceXML 2.0 is the voice dialog language under development at W3C. It is designed to creating audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized audio, recognition of spoken and DTMF (touch-tone) key input, recording of spoken input, telephony, and mixed-initiative conversations. Its major goal is to bring the advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications.

W3C and VoiceXML Forum Cooperation Key to VoiceXML 2.0 Development

Earlier work on VoiceXML was completed within the VoiceXML Forum. A desire to bring the work of both the VoiceXML Forum and the W3C Voice Browser Working Group together led both organizations to jointly produce and sign a Memorandum of Understanding. Both organizations have agreed that W3C is to serve as the organization for VoiceXML technical development, and that the VoiceXML Forum shall continue to serve as an advocate for the adoption of VoiceXML Technologies.

"The synergy between the VoiceXML Forum and the W3C has enabled the rapid development and implementation of VoiceXML," said Bill Dykas, Chairman of the VoiceXML Forum's Board of Directors. "The release of VoiceXML 2.0 is the latest example of what the combined efforts of the two groups can achieve. The Forum looks forward to accomplishing even more with the W3C in the future."

VoiceXML 2.0, Speech Interface Framework to Evolve

The W3C Voice Browser Working Group is among the largest in the Consortium. Its members include AT&T, Avaya Communications, BeVocal, Inc., Brience, BT, Canon, Cisco, Comverse, Dynamicsoft, Inc., Dialogic, Electricité de France, France Telecom, General Magic, HP, HeyAnita, Hitachi, IBM, Informio, InfoSpace, Intel, Kirusa Inc., Lernout & Hauspie, Inc., Loquendo, Lucent, Microsoft, Mitre, Mitsubishi, Motorola, NMS Communications, Nokia, Nortel Networks, Nuance, Omnitel, Openwave, Oracle, Orange, Philips, PipeBeach, SAP, Snowshore Networks, Sonexis, SpeechWorks, Sun, Syntellect, Telera Systems, Tellme Networks, Unisys, Verascape, VoiceGenie, and Voxeo. Support for the continued work is strong, as evidenced by the range of testimonials.

All W3C Voice Browser Working Group members have made patent disclosures in advance of the first public Working Draft. While the licensing issues have yet to be resolved, the VoiceXML 2.0 specification has been made available in order to allow members of the Web community the opportunity to provide comments on both technical and licensing issues associated with this Working Draft. The W3C Voice Browser Working Group continues to develop the full complement of Speech Interface Framework specifications and offers the latest versions from the Voice Browser homepage.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 510 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


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Testimonials for First Public Working Draft of VoiceXML 2.0


Brience is excited to see that VoiceXML has been embraced by the W3C. VoiceXML will enable widely accessible voice browsing as an additional channel for accessing the wireless Internet. VoiceXML is part of the Brience solution currently being used by Global 2000 enterprises, and is employed along with other emerging W3C standards. We look forward to leveraging the capabilities of future VoiceXML releases in our products to bring our customers enhanced voice functionality through our Adaptive Web content delivery solutions.

-- Arvin Babu, Chief Technology Officer, Brience Inc.

The ability to develop interactive voice applications using the W3C Voice Browser Working Group's recommendations will contribute to further growth in the rapidly expanding VoIP market and will enable the delivery of innovative value-added communication services over a single packet network.

-- Alistair Woodman, Director of Marketing, Voice Technology Center, Cisco Systems.

The voice portal--with its natural voice user interface--provides subscribers quick and easy access to content and services through their mobile phone. The VoiceXML standard is key to accelerating the growth of this worldwide market. As such, Comverse is strongly committed to VoiceXML as a key element of our strategy to deliver complete voice portal solutions to network operators.

-- Mike Krasner, Vice President and General Manager of Speech Portal Division, Comverse

Hitachi welcomes the collaborative relationships between W3C and VoiceXML Forum. This makes VoiceXML a global standard and we believe it strongly encourages the access to the Internet via voice. We plan to develop voice portal systems for drivers with VoiceXML technologies and also plan to contribute to internationalization issues of VoiceXML as a Japanese company.

-- Dr. Eiji Takeda, General Manager, Central Research Labs., Hitachi Ltd.

VoiceXML and related tools for developing VoiceXML applications will enable web developers to easily voice enable their e-business websites without the use of cumbersome, proprietary IVR equipment. Intel supports VoiceXML 2.0 and its related speech synthesis and speech grammar markup language standards as defined by W3C to foster continued development of innovative voice web applications.

-- Howard Bubb, vice president and general manager, Telecommunications and Embedded Group, Intel

Kirusa congratulates the W3C and applauds the effort of the Voice Browser Working Group in developing VoiceXML 2.0. Kirusa strongly supports the evolution of the Speech Interface Framework by the W3C and welcomes further standardization efforts to support enriched voice interfaces. This will also have strong implications for multimodal platforms which allow voice and visual interfaces to be integrated to create a very compelling experience for the end user. Kirusa looks forward to supporting the W3C in activities that further this vision.

-- Sandeep Sibal, Chief Technology Officer, Kirusa

L&H is an active member of the VoiceXML Forum. We believe that VoiceXML is a major standard today in developing voice enabled web sites. L&H is developing VoiceXML based tools to enable users to develop standards based speech enabled applications, quickly and effectively with minimal knowledge and experience of speech technologies.

-- Pam Ravesi, Sr. Director Product Management Enterprise & Telephony Solutions, Lernout & Hauspie

Communications services are undergoing a revolution of innovation through the combination of carrier services with other internet services. The work of the VoiceXML Forum and W3C adds another dimension, bringing the programming model of web services to the world of voice services. Commitment to support the spec, by Lucent and others in the industry, will accelerate the introduction of new VoiceXML services.

-- Jack Kozik, Director, eServices Architecture, Lucent Technologies eServices Group

Motorola applauds W3C's announcement that it will lead in the technical development of VoiceXML. As a founding member of the VoiceXML forum and co-developer, Motorola realizes that this will be a crucial specification as the wireless industry grows in importance to users around the world. Manufacturers, service providers, developers and others are all striving for easiest-possible access to Internet content. For most users, that access is done via the voice. This has significant implications as we all seek to bring the benefit of the Web to people, no matter their physical, economic or geographic limitations. Standardization of the specification will do much to accelerate efforts to make Web access easy in future products and services, thereby creating opportunities of all kinds.

-- Janiece Webb, Sr. V.P. and G.M., Personal Networks Group, Motorola

VoiceXML is a catalyst for the industry and we've seen growing demand for this standard from around the world. It's clear that there's momentum behind VoiceXML for voice-driven applications, multi-modal products and services, and much, much more. Telecommunications carriers and enterprises are benefitting from VoiceXML, and Nuance is committed to supporting their requirements for it with a range of products, programs, services and tools.

-- Steve Ehrlich, Vice President of Marketing, Nuance Communications

Openwave is delighted that the W3C and the VoiceXML Forum have come together to create a unified standard for enabling Internet content to be accessible via voice and phone. Openwave continues to demonstrate our commitment to open standards, particularly with our contributions to VoiceXML 2.0 through the efforts of Dave Raggett, Voice Browser Activity Lead, W3C Fellow, and Senior Architect at Openwave Systems Inc. Openwave is excited to work with our technology partners to innovate highly scalable, carrier grade communication solutions such as Openwave™ Unified Messaging, which uses VoiceXML to deliver next-generation communication services over wireless and wireline networks.

-- John L. MacFarlane, Chief Technology Officer, Openwave Systems Inc.

Philips Speech Processing is pleased with the progress on developing the VoiceXML standard. As a leader in speech recognition technology, Philips appreciates all advances that enable people to use their voices as an interface.

-- Volker Steinbiss, Chief Technical Officer, Philips Speech Processing

PipeBeach congratulates W3C and the VoiceXML Forum on their co-operation and the rapid release of the working draft of VoiceXML 2.0. Through our CTO, Dr. Scott McGlashan, PipeBeach leads the world-class W3C team producing the VoiceXML standard. We see this standard as a powerful business enabler for the rapid development of interactive speech services, especially innovative voice portals for the mobile user. The PipeBeach speechWeb platform provides multi-lingual support and we are proud to be the world's first to release a carrier-grade VoiceXML 2.0 platform with support for a number of European languages.

-- Christer Granberg, Chief Executive Officer, PipeBeach

SPWX is extremely pleased with the publication of the VoiceXML 2.0 spec and congratulates W3C on a landmark achievement. As a key contributor to the 2.0 specification, SPWX is committed to evolving the standard and delivering products, like the VoiceXML-optimized OpenSpeech line, as well as services and programs that bring the powerful benefits of VoiceXML to a global customer base. This much-anticipated standard heralds unprecedented portability of speech applications and creates new opportunities and growth for all who embrace it.

-- Steve Chambers, vice president of worldwide marketing, SpeechWorks

As a member of the Voice Browser Working Group, Telera has been instrumental in the evolution of the standard. Telera is excited to see the general release of the VoiceXML 2.0 Working Draft, enabling the proliferation of the standard and accelerating the adoption of VoiceXML. Telera continues to support the efforts of the Working Group by influencing further innovation of the standard.

-- Mukesh Sundaram, Chief Technology Officer, Telera, Inc.

The release of VoiceXML 2.0 is a tremendous achievement for all members of the Voice Browser working group. In just 18 months, VoiceXML has achieved unprecedented industry adoption, with Fortune 500 companies currently depending on VoiceXML for mission critical applications. VoiceXML and Voice Application Networks enable companies to eliminate capital expenditures for IVR, maximize ROI for voice solutions, and literally transform their phone investments from a cost center to a strategic asset. These are the factors driving the industry toward Dial Tone 2.0. We are pleased to support the ongoing evolution of the VoiceXML specification with two Editorships in the W3C and by powering millions of VoiceXML 2.0 calls every week on the world's largest Voice Application Network.

-- Mike McCue, President & COO, Tellme Networks, Inc.

Through the efforts of W3C and the VoiceXML Forum, Unisys believes that VoiceXML will spearhead voice-enabling the Web. The exciting opportunities afforded by VoiceXML complement the Unisys strategy to provide open speech-enabled solutions to customers worldwide. Unisys is engaged in VoiceXML projects across the globe, including voice portal solutions, supported by a strong team of professional services experts and enabling technologies.

-- Scott Miller, director of Sales and Marketing, Natural Language Speech Solutions, Unisys

Verascape is very excited about the W3CÂ’s work on VoiceXML. Verascape's flagship product, VeraServ, depends on VoiceXML to make it a flexible, general-purpose platform. The new features in VoiceXML 2.0 not only extend the usefulness and applicability of the technology, but will also encourage a greater level of interoperability between platforms. These improvements will accelerate the adoption of VoiceXML, allowing more organizations to take advantage of speech platforms such as VeraServ.

-- Jim Seidman, V.P. of Engineering, Verascape, Inc.

Voice Genie Technologies congratulates those who worked so hard to put together this important MoU between the W3C and the VoiceXML Forum regarding a unified VoiceXML standard. The involvement of the W3C and the continued involvement of the VoiceXML forum will ensure that the standard continues to strengthen and avoids fragmentation which could lead to confusion in the minds of our customers. A strong VoiceXML standard will ensure the blossoming of the voice content market and energize this emerging industry. VoiceGenie, with its industry leading VoiceXML gateway, is fully committed to the success of the VoiceXML standard and the benefits it will bring to consumers.

-- Stuart Berkowitz, President and CEO, VoiceGenie Technologies Inc.

The synergy between the VoiceXML Forum and the W3C has enabled the rapid development and implementation of VoiceXML. "The release of VoiceXML 2.0 is the latest example of what the combined efforts of the two groups can achieve. The Forum looks forward to accomplishing even more with the W3C in the future.

-- Bill Dykas, Chairman, VoiceXML Forum Board of Directors

VoxSurf strongly supports the standardisation of voice technologies by the W3C and in particular W3C's work on the VoiceXML 2.0 standard. We see this as key to the development of the next generation of telephone based web applications which are independent of proprietary hardware and software configurations. VoxSurf is committed to the use of VoiceXML, having recently released a fully VoiceXML compliant Unified Messaging application which combines voicemail with the ability to access multiple email accounts from any phone using voice commands, as well as providing access via WAP and iMode devices.

-- Marco Santulli, CTO, VoxSurf

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