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March 2, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

A group of communications firms have got together to develop a new mark-up language that enables web site information to be accessed through a phone. Motorola Inc, Lucent Technologies and AT&T are developing Voice eXtensible Mark-up LANguage (VXML), which is derived from XML. The companies will merge their existing languages that offer phone-to-web access, VoxML and Phone Mark-up language to provide the first specification of the new language. Mitesh Patel, director of the mobile applications platform, internet and connectivity division at Motorola expects to present the specification – 0.9 – to the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) before the end of the year. However, the exact timeframe has not been determined, as the specification will be broadly available and Patel expects contributions from interested parties such as IBM Corp. Patel says that the language can be used with HTML. Code can be added or modified at the server side, allowing developers to add phone-to-web links to existing sites. The voice recognition elements will be handled by a VXML ‘interpreter’ that works on the same principle as a HTML rendering engine. Patel sees a multitude of applications for VXML web sites, such as ticket sales and travel information applications. VXML is being supported by 3Com Corp, Hewlett- Packard Co and Dragon Systems Inc, among others.

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