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IBM Partners Drive Community Open Source Initiatives for Speech Technologies

Reusable Dialog Components Initiative Boosting Speech Innovations

IBM has made announcements across a broad spectrum of its speech offerings, demonstrating progress with open-source based initiatives that can advance the speech self-service ecosystem:

Building on the Reuseable Dialog Component Initiative
Three IBM partners, Audium, Fluency and Openstream have donated RDCs to the Apache Software Foundation, a leading community for open source software development.  RDCs allow developers to plug standard pieces of speech code into their own code to help speed the development of speech applications for new uses.

Together with IBM and other partners, they are helping to evolve the momentum and underlying framework around the Reuseable Dialogue Component initiative.  The demonstration of an active community around RDCs has led the Apache Software Foundation to approve moving the RDC project from sandbox status to full project status.  This is a significant step toward mainstream adoption and further proof that the ecosystem sees industry value in moving in this direction.  These open source initiatives can help achieve easier, faster and cheaper speech community adoption and enterprise-wide dissemination of customer data from the contact center.

In the fall of 2004, IBM launched the Reusable Dialog Component initiative where, IBM, supported by its business partners, contributed RDCs to the open-source community via Apache and Eclipse.  Based on Java, with tools built on Eclipse, this initiative is aimed at giving speech developers the benefits of open standards that mainstream developers of other kinds of applications have been enjoying.

By moving away from proprietary components and tools into those based on open standards, speech developers can benefit by being able to work with components from different vendors - helping to allow them to build higher value applications faster.  Businesses can speech-enable their existing applications faster and more efficiently - since speech applications work on the same infrastructure as other applications.  This is a natural evolution of IBM's commitment to open source and to speech technology.  The initiative takes speech technology out of its current silos into the arena of mainstream web developers - who can use their existing skills and resources to speech-enable new and existing applications in an environment they are already familiar with.   Components might include code for commonly used phrases such as "address" or "name" or "charge card number," helping to free developers from having to rewrite code for individual solutions.

"Working in conjunction with our solution partner, Fluency, JD Williams welcomes the value that Reusable Dialog Components provide," said Graham Green, IT and CRM Director, JD Williams.  "We're working with Fluency on an approach that will re-use components, which we believe will make application development faster and cost less. This helps our customers by delivering more robust and better integrated systems for ease of use." 

IBM Tools to Audium
Also today, IBM announced it will offer WebSphere Voice Toolkit components to Audium for inclusion in the next version of Audium Studio, which is powered by Eclipse.  Audium's customers can enjoy expanded functionality from the use of a common tooling platform.  Audium Studio is a voice application environment combining the standards of Voice XML with packaged services for Interactive Voice Response applications.  It provides a full set of tools to help developers quickly build high quality voice applications and a framework to create, deploy and manage large multi-application voice projects.

About IBM
IBM is the world's largest information technology company with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate.  Drawing on resources from across IBM and key business partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable companies to take full advantage of the on demand era.  Please visit www.ibm.com on the World Wide Web.

About Audium
Audium is the worldwide leader in packaged VoiceXML application software, enabling intelligent, personalized voice applications using open standards and reducing costs.  Audium's core products give customers a powerful way to build, run, manage and improve IVR systems that work seamlessly with enterprise applications and data, and have been recognized as the industry's leading VoiceXML development software.  By extending Eclipse and standard Java infrastructure such as WebSphere, Audium software drives highly complex IVR and speech applications.  Audium has offices in New York, Boston, Sydney and the UK.

About Fluency
Fluency is a global provider of packaged speech recognition applications for customer self-service solutions.  These are proven and deployed in Financial Services, Utilities and other key verticals.  Fluency's packaged speech recognition applications enable rapid services creation. This means faster return on investment.  Pre-built and simple to maintain, Fluency applications minimise risk and yield lower total cost of ownership.

About Openstream
Openstream is a leading provider of secure mobile Internet infrastructure platform and applications. Openstream offers Enterprises, Service Providers and SMB Financial Institutions worldwide a suite of cost-saving and brand-loyalty-enhancing mobile applications that implement personalized services in a multi-modal environment, using wireless and speech technologies. Openstream's Smart Messaging Platform (SMP) mobilizes businesses and increases productivity by mobile-enabling business critical data for customers and employees. With SMP the users will be Informed, In Touch and In Control... always! Additional information about Openstream's products and solutions can be found at http://www.openstream.com.

About the Apache Software Foundation
The Apache Software Foundation provides organizational, legal, and financial support for a broad range of open source software projects. The Foundation provides an established framework for intellectual property and financial contributions that simultaneously limits contributors' potential legal exposure. Through a collaborative and meritocratic development process, Apache projects deliver enterprise-grade, freely available software products that attract large communities of users. The pragmatic Apache License makes it easy for all users, commercial and individual, to deploy Apache products. For more information on the Apache Software Foundation, please see http://www.apache.org/.

About Eclipse
Eclipse is an award-winning, open source platform for the construction of powerful software development tools and rich desktop applications.

Leveraging the Eclipse plug-in framework to integrate technology on the desktop saves technology providers time and money by enabling them to focus their efforts on delivering differentiation and value for their offerings.

Eclipse is a multi-language, multi-platform, multi-vendor supported environment that it is built by an open source community of developers and it is provided royalty-free by the Eclipse Foundation. Eclipse is written in the Java language, includes extensive plug-in construction toolkits and examples, and can be extended and deployed on a range of desktop operating systems including Windows, Linux, QNX and Macintosh OS X. Full details on Eclipse and the Eclipse Foundation are available at www.eclipse.org.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Eclipse News Desk 08/02/05 12:52:12 PM EDT

IBM Partners Drive Community Open Source Initiatives for Speech Technologies. IBM has made announcements across a broad spectrum of its speech offerings, demonstrating progress with open-source based initiatives that can advance the speech self-service ecosystem.