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

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

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

Web resources for this announcement

VoiceXML 2.0:

Press release:

Testimonials from Brience, Comverse, Hitachi, Intel, Lernout & Hauspie,
Lucent, Motorola, Nuance Communications, Openwave Systems, Inc.,
Philips, Pipebeach, Tellme, Unisys, Verascape, Inc., Voice Genie,
VoiceXML Forum, and VoxSurf:

Memorandum of Understanding between W3C and the VoiceXML Forum

Contact America -- 
     Janet Daly, <>, +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613 
Contact Europe -- 
     Marie-Claire Forgue, <>, +33.492.38.75.94 
Contact Asia -- 
     Saeko Takeuchi <>, +81.466.49.1170 --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. 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

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

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 

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

Testimonials from Brience, Comverse, Hitachi, Intel, Lernout & Hauspie,
Lucent, Motorola, Nuance Communications, Openwave Systems, Inc.,
Philips, Pipebeach, Tellme, Unisys, Verascape, Inc., Voice Genie,
VoiceXML Forum, and VoxSurf:

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 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

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
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

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
-- 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's Unified Messaging, which uses VoiceXML to deliver 
next-generation communication services over wireless and wireline
-- 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

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 W3C’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

Received on Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:50:27 UTC