IBM Releases Speech API Software Using Tellme Studio and Tellme Developers Launch Consumer Voice Services for Skype

ARMONK, N.Y. — IBM released new open source development software enhancements for Web developers to use browser tools to build, test and run new voice applications.

The new speech application programming interface (API) software was developed as part of the Eclipse Foundation's Voice Tools Project to speed the adoption of VoiceXML applications for phones, handheld devices, cars and the Web.  Ultimately, the project aims to connect Eclipse developers and VoiceXML developers.

Developed as part of the Voice Tools Project by IBM, Tellme Networks, and other participating companies, the API creates a developer framework that can work with any VoiceXML platform.  By using this framework, an Eclipse-based tool can interoperate with a compatible VoiceXML platform.

To give developers the ability to test voice applications before deployment using the new API, Tellme has contributed a software plug-in that lets developers test VoiceXML applications using their computer's microphone and speaker or a handset, using VoIP and Tellme's VoiceXML developer community, Tellme Studio.

In addition, IBM has released the Multimodal Tools Project for Eclipse on its alphaWorks Web site.  The Multimodal Tools Project for Eclipse can be installed on the Voice Tools Project to create multimodal speech-enabled Web applications written in the XHTML+Voice (X+V) markup language. These tools can help application developers to ensure Web sites can be used on small devices, with limited input options, such as mobile phones or set top boxes, where voice input and visual output might be preferable.

In 2004 IBM donated its Reusable Dialogue Component speech technologies to the Eclipse and Apache organizations.  RDCs allow developers to plug in certain code that is common among speech applications, to speed development of new voice-enabled technologies.

The Eclipse Voice Tools Project is an open source initiative of the Eclipse Foundation to develop an editing environment for the W3C Recommendations in speech such as VoiceXML and SRGS. The project's software provides the Eclipse community with the tools necessary to develop consumer or business-focused applications that use speech recognition everywhere: appliances, cell phones, game devices, PDAs and more. The project was founded in 2004 and has had active participation from many companies in the voice industry.  As part of the project's founding, IBM donated editors for voice standard markup languages.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. —Tellme Networks, Inc. released seven new consumer voice applications built on Tellme for Skype. Consumers that call the applications will be using an IP service with Skype providing IP transport and Tellme providing the VoiceXML browser to reach the application. These new services are live on Tellme's network.

The new services were created by independent VoiceXML developers participating in the Skype Voice Services Program and built using Tellme Studio, Tellme's VoiceXML developer resource. The Voice Services Program allows any developer to build voice applications using Tellme Studio and then submit them to be published to the Skype community.

The first voice applications were created by developers around the globe, from California to India, and include:

  • SoundSlam which is based on the concept of slam poetry where anyone can record a piece of music, a poem or any audio recording and the community votes on how good it is.
  • World Time gives the current time for any country.
  • Numerology offers daily, monthly and yearly readings.
  • Ringfo gets you the best prices on products available on Amazon.com.
  • OmniScopes are daily new age well-being messages. 
  • NotMyNumber places a call to get you out of situations when you need an excuse to leave.
  • Body Mass Index calculates a caller's body mass index and gives personalized health information based on their input.

New applications will continue to be rolled out.

The applications will be free to callers through March 13, 2006, after which the voice applications will have nominal fees charged to a users' SkypeOut account, which are shared by the developer, Skype and Tellme.

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