W3C has released a Last Call Working Draft for Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) Version 2.0. Pending receipt of positive feedback on this draft, the W3C Voice Browser Working Group plans to submit the specification for approval as a W3C Candidate Recommendation; comments may be sent for consideration until May 24, 2002. VoiceXML "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. The top-level element is <vxml>, which is mainly a container for dialogs. There are two types of dialogs: forms and menus. Forms present information and gather input; menus offer choices of what to do next... The dialog constructs of form, menu and link, and the mechanism (Form Interpretation Algorithm) by which they are interpreted are then introduced in Section 2. User input using DTMF and speech grammars is covered in Section 3, while Section 4 covers system output using speech synthesis and recorded audio. Mechanisms for manipulating dialog control flow, including variables, events, and executable elements, are explained in Section 5. Environment features such as parameters and properties as well as resource handling are specified in Section 6. The appendices provide additional information including the VoiceXML Schema, a detailed specification of the Form Interpretation Algorithm and timing, audio file formats, and statements relating to conformance, internationalization, accessibility and privacy."
Bibliographic information: Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) Version 2.0. W3C Working Draft 24-April-2002. Edited by Scott McGlashan (Editor-in-Chief, 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 Networks), Ken Rehor (Nuance Communications), Steph Tryphonas (Tellme Networks). Version URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-voicexml20-20020424/. Latest Version URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/voicexml20. Previous Version URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-voicexml20-20011023/.
IPR issues: "The Memorandum of Understanding between the W3C and the Voice XML Forum has paved the way for the publication of this working draft, with the VoiceXML Forum committing to abandoning trademark applications involving the name 'VoiceXML'... This [VoiceXML WD] document seeks Member and public comment on both the technical design and the patent licensing issues arising out of the disclosure and licensing statements that have been made. Our decision to publish this working draft does not imply that all questions of patent licensing have been resolved or clarified. They must be resolved or work on this document in W3C will stop. As things stand at the time of publication of this specification, implementations conforming to this specification may require royalty bearing licenses for essential IPR. Further information can be found in the patent disclosures page. The patent policy for W3C as a whole is under wide discussion. A set of commitments by all participants in the Voice Browser Activity to royalty free is a possibility for the future but has NOT been made at time of publication..."
The "Summary of Voice Browser WG Patent Statements" includes a 'license summary' column which represents "a W3C Team characterization of the Member's statement into one of three general types of licenses: (1) Royalty free, (2) Reasonable and non-discriminatory terms [RAND], or (3) unknown. Companies listed with the characterization "Royalty free" include [2002-04-25] BeVocal, Hewlett-Packard [*], Intel, Snowshore Networks, and Sun Microsystems. A number of members (most having patent declarations) are characterized as specifying RAND terms (AT&T, Avaya Communications, Cisco Systems, IBM, Lucent, Mitsubishi Electric, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel Networks, Philips, Rutgers University, and Telera. Abstracts for the patents are summarized in the W3C document.