Commetrex’s BladeWare VXML CE: Good News for the SMB Market?

Commetrex, a telecom media-server and gateway technology provider, announced today that its BladeWare VoiceXML (VXML) Commercial Edition (CE) was selected by Interactive Intelligence. BladeWare VXML CE, a paid version of its open-source BladeWare VXML interpreter, is the only stand-alone VXML interpreter on the market updated for VXML’s 2.1 standard.

Interactive Intelligence will use the product to interpret VXML code for its Interaction Center platform, which the company uses to more quickly develop speech-enabled interactive voice response (IVR) systems. The CE version is an alternative to OpenVXi, another open-source VXML compliance application. According to Tom Ray, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Commetrex, OpenVXi is no longer up-to-date.

"There has been virtually no activity on OpenVXi for the past couple of years," Ray states. He attributes the interpreter’s lack of change to its acquirement by a vendor 18 months ago – that vendor, Vocalocity, has since left the product untouched. But, he says, BladeWare’s VXML products give businesses more access to updated code. "OpenVXi was the most widely-used interpreter in the world. By virtue of building on that product line, we’ve given the folks who have been using OpenVXi in the past an upgrade or enhancement path."

Commetrex is banking on the hope that its CE version will appeal to small-to-medium-sized businesses, citing its affordable cost and ease of use. Though VXML has long been a powerful tool for smaller companies to build speech applications, Ray says BladeWare’s CE version helps enhance the development of speech applications, and gives customers more control over their implementation process.  

But, is updating for VXML 2.1 jumping the gun? Since the updated version of the standard was released summer 2007, speech industry professionals have speculated that version 3.0 will appear soon. Investing in an application ready for 2.1, then, could seem fruitless, if another update appears soon. But, Ray notes, customers should not bank on quick turnaround from the VXML Forum.

"[VXML 3.0] will be a little late; it’s a number of months off," Ray states. "We will definitely be looking forward to our product to maintain a high level of compliance when that particular standard becomes more significant; when it starts to firm up."

Though BladeWare’s CE version was released six months ago, Ray said Commetrex continues to aggressively market the product, because, he says, it’s "now ready for prime time."

BladeWare VXML open-source interpreter is still available for download at sourceforge.net, while BladeWare VXML CE from Commetrex comes equipped with source code, software support, and licensing options.

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