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News Release: World Wide Web Consortium Issues VoiceXML 2.0 as a W3C Proposed Recommendation

From: Janet Daly <janet@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 2004 07:01:44 -0800
Message-ID: <401FB7D8.9040508@w3.org>
To: w3c-news <w3c-news@w3.org>

W3C's Voice Browser Working Group is fast approaching completion of 
VoiceXML 2.0, the emerging standard that brings the advantages of 
Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response 

For more information on this and other components of the W3C Speech 
Interface Framework, or to speak with Members of the Working Group,
please contact the regional representative at the bottom of this email, 
or contact Janet Daly, W3C Head of Communications, at +1 617 253 5884 


World Wide Web Consortium Issues VoiceXML 2.0 as a W3C Proposed

Cornerstone to the W3C Speech Interface Framework is Nearly Complete

Web Resources

This press release, hypertext version

In English:

In French:

In Japanese:

VoiceXML 2.0 Specification

W3C's Voice Browser Activity

http://www.w3.org/ -- 3 February 2004 -- Giving voice to the Web, the
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published VoiceXML 2.0 as a W3C
Proposed Recommendation. The goal of VoiceXML 2.0 is to bring the
advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive
voice response applications.

Advancement of a W3C technical report to Proposed Recommendation
indicates that the Working Group has successfully completed both public
and W3C Working Group review, and has provided evidence of successful
interoperable implementations. It is the final review before a document
becomes a W3C Recommendation, commonly understood as a Web standard.

Giving Voice to the Web: W3C's Speech Interface Framework

Since 1999, W3C has been working on its Speech Interface Framework to
expand access to the Web to allow people to interact via key pads,
spoken commands, listening to prerecorded speech, synthetic speech and
music. With the number of telephone lines and mobile phones exceeding
one billion units worldwide, the specifications of W3C's Speech
Interface Framework will allow an unprecedented number of people to use
any telephone to access appropriately designed Web-based services.

VoiceXML 2.0 Delivers Voice and Interactivity to the Speech Interface

VoiceXML 2.0 allows developers to create 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.

"VoiceXML 2.0 has the power to change the way phone-based information
and customer services are developed. No longer will we have to press
'one' for this or 'two' for that. Instead, we will be able to make
selections and provide information by speech," explained Dave Raggett,
W3C Voice Browser Activity Lead. "In addition, VoiceXML 2.0 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."

In the W3C Speech Interface Framework, VoiceXML controls how the
application interacts with the user, while the Speech Synthesis Markup
Language (SSML) is used for spoken prompts and the Speech Recognition
Grammar Specification (SRGS) for guiding the speech recognizers via
grammars that describe the expected user responses. Other specifications
in the Framework include Voice Browser Call Control (CCXML), which
provides telephony call control support for VoiceXML or other dialog
systems, and Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition, which
defines the syntax and semantics of the contents of tags in SRGS.

Adoption Rate of VoiceXML 2.0 Already Industry Wide

In order to advance to W3C's Proposed Recommendation status, there must
be evidence of independent interoperable implementations - it must be
proven to work. In the case of VoiceXML2, the implementation evidence is
extraordinary, with at least eight known implementations in both
prototype and fully released products. A complete list of current
implementors is available.

There is an extensive, public set of test suites. While the initial
version contains over 300 tests, the final version is expected to have
more than 500 tests. Updates to the test suite will be announced on the
Voice Browser public mailing list.

This complements the test suite provided with the Speech Recognition
Grammar Specification, which became a W3C Candidate Recommendation in
June 2002. Test suites for the remaining specifications in the W3C
Speech Interface Framework, including the Speech Synthesis Markup
Language, are under development by the W3C Voice Browser Working Group
and will be published over the next few months.

VoiceXML 2.0, Speech Interface Framework to Evolve, Patent Issues Resolved

The W3C Voice Browser Working Group is among the largest and most active
in W3C. Its participants include BeVocal Inc., Canon, Comverse, France
Telecom, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, HP, HeyAnita, Hitachi,
IBM, Intel, Loquendo, Microsoft, MITRE, Mitsubishi, Motorola, Nokia,
Nortel Networks, Nuance, Philips, PipeBeach, SAP, ScanSoft, SnowShore
Networks, SpeechWorks, Sun, Syntellect, Tellme Networks, Unisys,
Verascape, VoiceGenie, Voxeo, and Voxpilot.

Patent issues arising from inconsistencies with the Voice Browser
Working Group's Royalty-Free Licensing Mode have been addressed by a
Patent Advisory Group within the W3C, per the W3C's Current Patent
Practice. As a result, the W3C Voice Browser Working Group committed to
the production of an open specification, and the Voice Browser Patent
Advisory Group resolved the remaining issues, making it possible for the
core VoiceXML 2.0 specification to be made available according to W3C's
Royalty-Free License.

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 Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
(CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and
Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered 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, nearly 400 organizations are Members of the
Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/

Contact Americas, Australia --
     Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
Contact Europe --
     Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94
Contact Asia --
     Yasuyuki Hirakawa <yasuyuki@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

Received on Tuesday, 3 February 2004 10:02:13 UTC

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