RealTime IT News

VoiceXML Forum, W3C Refine Focus

The VoiceXML Forum and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Tuesday reached an agreement under which the W3C will take the lead in technical development while the VoiceXML Forum focuses on interoperability.

The two groups signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which accompanied the VoiceXML Forum's release of the VoiceXML trademark to the public domain, as well as the W3C's release of the first Public Working Draft of VoiceXML version 2.0.

"The MOU between our two organizations paves the way for each to focus on different aspects of VoiceXML, while maintaining our close working relationship," said Jean-Francois Abramatic, chairman of the W3C. "The W3C developed the version 2.0 specification, and will continue to lead its technical development. The VoiceXML Forum, in coordination with the W3C, is providing certification programs to ensure to the buying public and vendors alike of VoiceXML interoperability. In addition, the VoiceXML Forum is taking leadership of the educational issues needed to implement the specification, as well as marketing it to gain an even larger installed base."

The VoiceXML markup language allows for voice-enabled Internet applications like Call Center automation, on-board navigation, voice-activated emergency systems, audio-enabled e-mail, etc.

The VoiceXML Forum's Conformance Committee will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to independent technical laboratories on Monday, Oct. 29, to coincide with the release of VoiceXML 2.0.

The Conformance Committee's mandate is to devise test suites by which VoiceXML products and services can be certified compliant with the VoiceXML 2.0 specification. Vendors interested in the RFP have been asked to contact Ken Rehor, chairman of the Conformance Committee.

Meanwhile, VoiceGenie Technologies Inc., a provider of VoiceXML Gateway solutions, wasted no time in announcing its support for VoiceXML 2.0. Moments after the W3C and VoiceXML Forum made its announcement, VoiceGenie unveiled its next-generation Voice Web platform, VoiceGenie VoiceXML Gateway 5.0. VoiceGenie said the new gateway fully supports the newest VoiceXML specification.

"As promoter members of the VoiceXML Forum, VoiceGenie has been working toward full VoiceXML 2.0 compliance throughout the development of the draft specification," said Adrian Lee-Kwen, vice president of Engineering at VoiceGenie. "In fact, some of the new elements and attributes integral to 2.0 have been supported by the VoiceGenie VoiceXML Gateway for some time. For example, VoiceGenie was instrumental in the proposal to provide new fetch properties, as well as other modifications and additions."

The new gateway integrates new features such as call control via Genie Call Blending, E1 capabilities for international support and higher density.