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Re: Feedback on Roadmap

From: Arun Kumar <kkarun@in.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 00:39:16 +0530
To: public-mw4d@w3.org
Cc: Stephane Boyera <boyera@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF2159A285.54EC923B-ON65257634.0060FBEC-65257634.0068744E@in.ibm.com>
Hi Stephane and All,

I have few comments about couple of sections in the roadmap as it stands
now, along with possible corrections.

A.  Access Challenges: Accessibility  [Section 6.1.1]

The first paragraph mentions that Accessibility is at least as equally
critical in Developing Countries as in Developed Countries. The WHO
reference about Visually Impaired people in developing countries that
follows in the next statement, however, suggests that the problem of
accessibility is probably more severe in Developing Countries. Reasons
include un-affordability of expensive assistive devices and technologies,
non-english speaking population and illiteracy etc. Further, as in the
visually impaired case referred above, a bulk of population needing but
deprived of such technologies reside in developing countries.

B .  Costs  [Section 6.1.5]

It is mentioned that Voice applications use the voice channel and it is
costliest as the charges are based upon the length of the call.  With the
innovative strategies and value-adds that several telecom operators are
coming up with, this may not longer remain an issue. For instance, a couple
of major telecom providers (especially Reliance communications) in India
offer free calls to either a limited set of phone numbers or to callers
within the same telco's network or during non-peak hours (such as in the


Most recently, another operator - Tata Indicom, has started offering
pay-per-call charging model, making call charges free of per-minute rate.

C.  Technologies Section  (Section 7)

A major challenge listed in the Weakness of Voice Applications sub-section
is related to expertise required for building voice applications, i.e.
expertise required to use voice modality on mobiles to provide an authoring
platform. As rightly mentioned in the roadmap, authoring of a voice
application has not been an easy task. However, the state-of-the-art here
has already advanced. This should probably be reflected in the document..
Using the Spoken Web system (mentioned in Examples in Section 7.1),
ordinary phone subscribers can create their own Voice applications in a
matter or few minutes. These voice application creators can be non-IT
literate or even completely illiterate and can create the applications in
their own local language using an ordinary lowest end mobile phone.

More details on the system are available in the articles mentioned below
and I would be happy to give a 15-20 min. live demo of VoiceSite creation
technology in the next conference call, if there is interest.

[a]  VOISERV: Creation and Delivery of Converged Services through Voice for
Emerging Economies

[b] VoiKiosk : Content Creation and Dissemination by-and-for Users in Rural


[c] FOLKSOMAPS - Towards Community Driven Intelligent Maps for Developing


A concern related to user issues is the challenge of discoverability of
voice applications. While complete automated indexing of voice applications
and search is still in its infancy, it is also not impossible for someone
to discover available services offered as voice applications. Manually or
semi-automatically created directories could provide phone numbers of
various businesses registered with them. This could be done either through
call center operations as in http://www.JustDial.com or through voice
search as being done by Ubona (
) and GOOG-4-1-1 (http://www.google.com/goog411/ ).  Here, the phone
numbers returned would actually represent voice applications deployed
against them.

Such directory services can very well be used for discoverability of voice
applications. This is similar to the initial pre-search engine days of the
web when online sources such as Yahoo Directory containing categorized
content represented the primary source of discovering information on the
web. So, directories can serve the purpose of discoverability while search
technologies for Voice applications mature.

Another issue mentioned is that the lifetime of the information is short
and cannot be stored and shared. Technologically it is not difficult to
provide. I believe such applications are not in vogue only because
businesses and other organizations have not yet realized the need to
explore the use of such means. This is changing too. For instance, in an
ongoing commercial pilot described at
http://hci.stanford.edu/research/otalo/ , Development Support Center (DSC)
- an NGO in Western Indian state of Gujarat runs a bi-weekly community
radio program about Agricultural best practices. It has an estimated
viewership of 5,00,000 farmers. It makes use of a VoiceSite (a voice
application in Spoken Web) that acts as a complimentary feedback channel
for the radio program and also serves as an archive of those radio programs
to be listened to later (by calling up the VoiceSite). In addition, expert
advice given to farmers, questions asked by others as well as discussion
threads among farmers themselves are captured and automatically made
available on the VoiceSite.

I agree with the suggestion in Future Directions subsection, that hosting
services similar to Tell Me are needed for large scale deployment of Voice
applications. Along with that we also need packaged software/hardware
'appliances' to let individuals setup their own low scale voice application
creation and hosting using desktop PCs and a couple of incoming phone

thanks and regards
Arun Kumar
IBM Research - India

Spoken Web (aka World Wide Telecom Web) :

"Websites that use the spoken word will empower the illiterate" -

             Stephane Boyera                                               
             Sent by:                                                   To 
             public-mw4d-reque         Renjish Kumar                       
             st@w3.org                 <renjish.kumar@gmail.com>           
             08/27/2009 07:57                                      Subject 
             PM                        Re: Feedback till section 4 and     
                                       objectives revised version          

Dear Renjish,

thanks a lot for your extensive review o fthe first parts. i integrated
most of your corrections in the documents except few of them:
- the change in the structure (respective place of scope and exec summary)
- your proposed objectives section, as you were using an old version and
not the latest one provided by mira.
- the change in the audience section

the first and the third point should be discussed during the september 7
teleconf to see where is the agreement in the group.
Concerning the second point, please review the new objective session
provided by mira and online now.

Thanks again for the work


Renjish Kumar a écrit :
> Hello,
>    Attached are my comments and corrections (as track changes) on the
> roadmap doc till section 4. A revised version of the objectives section
> is also attached for your reference.....
> I am still in the process of going through the entire document.... sorry
> for this late entry after a long break... I was pressed for time due to
> some personal emergency during the last couple of months... but hope
> better late than never....
> Regards
> Renjish

Stephane Boyera                      stephane@w3.org
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BP 93                                            fax: +33 (0) 4 92 38 78 22
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Received on Thursday, 17 September 2009 19:05:06 UTC

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