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Created: October 23, 2001.
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W3C Working Draft for Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) Version 2.0.

W3C has announced the first release of a public working draft for Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) Version 2.0, along with a joint statement on collaborative effort between W3C and the VoiceXML Forum. The new draft is part of the W3C Voice Browser Activity and forms part of the proposals for the W3C Speech Interface Framework. The WD "specifies VoiceXML (Voice Extensible Markup Language) which is designed for creating audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized audio, recognition of spoken and DTMF 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 applications. VoiceXML is a markup language that: (1) Minimizes client/server interactions by specifying multiple interactions per document. (2) Shields application authors from low-level, and platform-specific details. (3) Separates user interaction code [in VoiceXML] from service logic [CGI scripts]. (4) Promotes service portability across implementation platforms. VoiceXML is a common language for content providers, tool providers, and platform providers. (5) Is easy to use for simple interactions, and yet provides language features to support complex dialogs." According to a Memorandum of Understanding describing collaboration between the VoiceXML Forum and W3C, "VoiceXML Forum and the W3C have determined that it is in the best interests of the respective organizations and the public that they work together to further develop a dialog markup language... VoiceXML Forum will file an express abandonment of [certain relevant ] U.S. trademark applications, and [during the five-year period] the VoiceXML Forum agrees that the W3C will have sole control of the definition and evolution of the dialog markup language based on the VoiceXML 1.0 that is under development by the W3C Voice Browser Working Group."

From the Working Draft. Goals of VoiceXML: "VoiceXML's main goal is to bring the full power of web development and content delivery to voice response applications, and to free the authors of such applications from low-level programming and resource management. It enables integration of voice services with data services using the familiar client-server paradigm. A voice service is viewed as a sequence of interaction dialogs between a user and an implementation platform. The dialogs are provided by document servers, which may be external to the implementation platform. Document servers maintain overall service logic, perform database and legacy system operations, and produce dialogs. A VoiceXML document specifies each interaction dialog to be conducted by a VoiceXML interpreter. User input affects dialog interpretation and is collected into requests submitted to a document server. The document server replies with another VoiceXML document to continue the user's session with other dialogs."

Bibliographic information: Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) Version 2.0. W3C Working Draft, 23-October-2001. Edited by Scott McGlashan, Editor-in-Chief, Subgroup Chair (PipeBeach) Dan Burnett (Nuance Communications, Peter Danielsen (Lucent), Jim Ferrans (Motorola), Andrew Hunt (SpeechWorks International), Gerald Karam (AT&T), Dave Ladd (Dynamicsoft), Bruce Lucas (IBM), Brad Porter (Tellme), Ken Rehor (Nuance Communications), and Steph Tryphonas (Tellme). Version URL: Latest Version URL:

From the announcement: "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... 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..."

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