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News Release: W3C Standard Simplifies Creation of Speech-Enabled Web Application

From: Marie-Claire Forgue <mcf@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 17:14:54 +0200
Message-ID: <48F4B76E.7000001@w3.org>
To: w3c-news@w3.org

W3C Standard Simplifies Creation of Speech-Enabled Web Applications

Pronunciation Lexicon Specification Lowers Costs Through Reuse

Web Resources:
-------------
This press release:
   - in English: http://www.w3.org/2008/10/pls-pressrelease.html.en
   - in French: http://www.w3.org/2008/10/pls-pressrelease.html.fr
   - in Japanese: http://www.w3.org/2008/10/pls-pressrelease.html.ja

Pronunciation Lexicon Specification (PLS) Version 1.0:
    http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/REC-pronunciation-lexicon-20081014/

Testimonials in support of the PLS 1.0 Recomandation from [Loquendo  
Openstream  VoiceXML Forum]: http://www.w3.org/2008/10/pls-testimonials


http://www.w3.org/ -- 14 October 2008 -- W3C published today a standard 
that will simplify the development of Web applications that speak and 
listen to users. The Pronunciation Lexicon Specification (PLS) 1.0 is 
the newest piece of W3C's Speech Interface Framework for creating Web 
applications driven by voice and speech. PLS can reduce the cost of 
developing these applications by allowing people to share and reuse 
pronunciation dictionaries. In addition, PLS can make it easier to 
localize applications by separating pronunciation concerns from other 
parts of the application.

"Standard pronunciation lexicons were a missing piece in the W3C Speech 
Framework," said Paolo Baggia, Director of International Standards at 
Loquendo and editor of the PLS 1.0 specification. "I'm very happy to 
have actively contributed to filling this gap. As a result, starting 
today people can create '100% standard' voice applications."

Voice Interaction Part of W3C's One Web Vision

Real-world voice-driven Web applications abound, though people may not 
always realize they are interacting with a Web service; examples include 
airline departure and arrival information, banking transactions, 
automated phone appointment reminders, and automated telephone 
receptionists. By one estimate, over 85% of Interactive Voice Response 
(IVR) applications for telephones (including mobile) use W3C's VoiceXML 
2.0 standard.

"There are 10 times as many phones in the world as connected PCs. Phones 
will become the major portal to the Web," said James A. Larson, co-Chair 
of the Voice Browser Working Group that produced the new standard. 
"Speech recognition is not yet widely associated with the 'visual Web', 
but this will change as devices continue to shrink and make keyboards 
impractical, and as cell phones become more prevalent in regions with 
low literacy rates."

Asking for directions while driving and hearing the response through 
speech synthesis illustrates how practical "hands-free" applications can 
be to mobile users. Voice applications also benefit people with some 
disabilities (such as vision limitations) and people who cannot read.

W3C considers voice access to be one piece of more general "multimodal" 
access, where users can use combinations of means to interact: voice 
input, speech feedback, electronic ink, touch input, and physical 
gestures (such as those used in some video games). The Voice Browser 
Working Group and the Multimodal Interaction Working Group are 
coordinating their efforts to make the Web available on more devices and 
in more situations.

Testimonials:
------------

Loquendo

     As leader in multilingual speech technologies and voice platforms, 
Loquendo believes that PLS 1.0 will simplify the creation of both Speech 
Synthesis and Speech Recognition applications - for the widest number of 
integrators and users, and in all languages. Pronunciation 
transcriptions can be incorporated into a single PLS Lexicon Document - 
rather than being distributed throughout the SSML documents or SRGS 
grammars - and Pronunciation Lexicons can then be reused and shared 
between different applications and with other application developers. 
This means that PLS 1.0 will enable prompt creators and service 
designers to create VoiceXML applications more rapidly, more easily, and 
with improved pronunciation and recognition accuracy - and all this is 
possible in any language, bringing all the benefits of standards to 
multilanguage voice applications.

     From its very beginnings, Loquendo has been an active participant 
in the support and development of standards, and the company is very 
pleased to have authored the PLS specification, and will continue to 
give its full support to W3C Voice Browser and Multimodal Interaction 
Working Groups, as well as VoiceXML Forum activities, firmly believing 
in the competitive edge that being standards compliant brings.
     -- Daniele Sereno, Vice President Product Engineering, Loquendo

Openstream

     As one of the leading developers of open-standards based multimodal 
platform & speech-enabled mobile applications globally and as one of the 
early & active contributors to the W3C's discussions on Multimodal 
Interaction & Voice Browser development, Openstream is very pleased at 
the release of PLS 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation. PLS 1.0 is an important 
landmark in the standardization and offers us a powerful mechanism in 
personalization of speech interfaces.
     -- Raj Tumuluri, President, Openstream Inc.

VoiceXML Forum

     The VoiceXML Forum endorses the Recommendation of the W3C and its 
Voice Browser Working Group for the Pronunciation Lexicon Specification 
1.0 (PLS 1.0) standard. Like the widely-adopted VoiceXML standard, the 
forthcoming PLS standard will drive the adoption of speech technologies 
and reduce the costs of deploying speech solutions.
     -- Rob Marchand, Chairman, VoiceXML Forum


Press Contacts:
--------------
    Contact Americas, Australia --
           Ian Jacobs, <ij@w3.org>, +1.718.260.9447
    Contact Europe, Africa and the Middle East --
           Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94
    Contact Asia --
           Fumihiro Kato <fumi@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where 
Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to 
develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the 
creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term 
growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the 
Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and 
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European 
Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) 
headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan, and has additional 
Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org

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Received on Tuesday, 14 October 2008 15:15:30 GMT

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