VoiceXML Solutions Are Easy to Find
In response to the growing demand for speech solutions based on the VoiceXML platform, the VoiceXML Forum has released an online directory of solutions and solutions providers.
"It is the forum's policy not to favor any particular member over another, so to be fair and accurate to our members and to provide 24-hour service, we made this resource available on the Internet," says Cindy Tiritilli, program manager at the VoiceXML Forum.
The directory is similar to a buyer's guide in that it lists the products and services available through the VoiceXML Forum's member companies. This is designed to make it easier and quicker to find the products and services that companies interested in deploying VoiceXML-based solutions could want and need. The directory lists products in three categories and denotes those that have been VoiceXML-certified with a check mark. There are also three categories for the services offered by VoiceXML members.
Product categories in the directory include the following:
- VOICEXML PLATFORMS: VoiceXML platforms are hardware and software solutions for deploying VoiceXML applications that typically integrate speech recognition, speech synthesis, VoiceXML processing, media playback, and telephony into a complete package for deployment in a company's IT infrastructure or in a VoiceXML hosting company's data centers. These platforms may also provide software for managing operations, administration, and maintenance.
- APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT TOOLS AND PREBUILT DIALOGUE MODULES: Tools in this category range from editors that support the syntax of VoiceXML, SSML, SRGS, etc., to tools used to develop speech grammars or call flows. This category also includes server middleware that generates VoiceXML pages from higher-level dialogue specifications and pre-built application components or modules.
- APPLICATIONS: Applications are prebuilt components that can typically be run on any VoiceXML platform. There is a range of VoiceXML-based applications available to meet the needs of customers in a number of industries, including financial services, healthcare, travel and hospitality, and telecommunications. Service categories in the directory are as follows:
- VUI DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT: Voice user interface (VUI) design and development services are usually required for designing complete voice interfaces. These might include outlining call flows, recording professional sounding prompts, and usability testing.
- SYSTEMS INTEGRATION AND SOLUTION DEPLOYMENT: This includes companies that have voice-related offerings, ranging from full-service enterprise consulting to project work.
- HOSTED VOICEXML SOLUTIONS AND SERVICES: In VoiceXML's Web development and deployment model, a VoiceXML platform doesn't need to be co-located with the VoiceXML application it is running. That application can reside on any Web server visible to the platform. Therefore, companies new to voice applications can leverage the expertise, the prepared infrastructure, and the economies of scale offered by specialized hosting companies without the risks associated with a premises-based solution.
Initially the Forum sent out a call for submissions to the directory to its entire membership. Now, the forum is inviting members who did not submit or who may want to update listings in the directory. To be added to the lists of VoiceXML-based products and services, vendors must become a member of the VoiceXML Forum and submit a request for the additions or updates to the listing. The directory currently has more than 160 products and services listed, and hopes to see that list grow as more companies look to standardize on VoiceXML. "Our goal is to have every member have at least one listing and to recruit anyone out there that is not a member and offer these resources to them," Tiritilli adds.
"The VoiceXML Solutions Directory is a no brainer, but the advent of this comprehensive database represents the forward progression of the VoiceXML Forum," says Daniel Hong, lead analyst at Datamonitor. "As an industry association it is crucial that the VoiceXML Forum reflects the interests of the industry rather than that of certain vendors. The Forum has been consistent in this regard and is making strides in the right direction."
The directory is designed to be a robust resource. "It provides one common place to evaluate and shop around for the solutions that the customer may be looking to purchase," Tiritilli concludes.