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VoiceXML 2.0 and Speech Recognition Grammar Published as W3C Recommendations

VoiceXML 2.0 and Speech Recognition Grammar Published as W3C Recommendations

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published VoiceXML 2.0 and Speech Recognition Grammar Specification (SRGS) as W3C Recommendations. The goal of VoiceXML 2.0 is to bring the advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications. SRGS is key to VoiceXML's support for speech recognition, and is used by developers to describe end-users responses to spoken prompts.

The announcement marks the advancement to Recommendation status of the first two specifications in W3C's Speech Interface Framework. Aimed at the world's estimated two billion fixed line and mobile phones, W3C's Speech Interface Framework will allow an unprecedented number of people to use any telephone to interact with appropriately designed Web-based services via key pads, spoken commands, listening to pre-recorded speech, synthetic speech, and music.

In the W3C Speech Interface Framework, VoiceXML controls how the application interacts with the user, while the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) is used for spoken prompts and the Speech Recognition Grammar Specification (SRGS) for guiding the speech recognizers via grammars that describe the expected user responses. Other specifications in the Framework include Voice Browser Call Control (CCXML), which provides telephony call control support for VoiceXML and other dialog systems, and Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition, which defines how speech grammars bind to application semantics.

VoiceXML 2.0 allows developers to create audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized audio, recognition of spoken and Dual tone multi-frequency (DTMF, or touch-tone) key input, recording of spoken input, telephony, and mixed-initiative conversations. VoiceXML is downloaded from HTTP servers in the same way as HTML. This means that application developers can take full advantage of widely deployed and industry proven Web technologies.

The Speech Recognition Grammar Specification - SRGS - allows applications to specify the words and phrases that users are prompted to speak. This enables robust speaker independent recognition. SRGS covers both speech and DTMF input. DTMF input is valuable in noisy conditions or when the social context makes it awkward to speak.

In order to advance to W3C's Recommendation status, there must be evidence of independent interoperable implementations - it must be proven to work. In the case of VoiceXML 2.0, the implementation evidence is extraordinary, with at least eight known implementations in both prototype and fully released products. A complete list of current implementors is available. The implementation report for SRGS includes at least six complete, independent implementations.

The W3C Voice Browser Working Group is among the largest and most active in W3C. Its participants include: Aspect Communications, BeVocal, Canon, Comverse Technology, Convedia, ERCIM, France Telecom, HeyAnita, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, IWA-HWG, Loquendo, Microsoft, MITRE, Mitsubishi Electric, Motorola, Nuance Communications, Openstream, SAP, Scansoft, Siemens, Snowshore Networks, Sun Microsystems, Telera, Tellme Networks, Verscape, Vocalocity, VoiceGenie Technologies, Voxeo, and Voxpilot.

More Stories By XML News Desk

The XML-Journal News Desk monitors the world of XML and SOA /Web services to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances and business trends, as well as new products and standards.

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