A group of companies including Motorola Inc, SAP Labs Inc, Visa International and BroadVision Inc have hooked up with speech recognition outfit Nuance Communications Inc to form the V- Commerce Alliance, a group devoted to promoting speech-enabled electronic commerce applications. The idea behind the alliance is that anybody with a telephone – which Nuance describes as the most-widely used information appliance in the world – will be able to engage in electronic commerce from anywhere using natural language speech recognition built on Nuance’s technology. The members of the group have pledged to build and deploy applications using a voice interface that allow users to complete self-service transactions, alternatively using the web or the telephone – which effectively comes to offer GUI functionality. They will promote a set of standards, which include Motorola’s recently-introduced VoxML (voice mark-up language), for adding speech recognition to any existing e-commerce applications. Current Nuance customers that have already deployed so-called V- Commerce applications include Charles Schwab, American Airlines, Fidelity Investments, General Magic and viaWorld Network. The alliance says that typical V-Commerce applications will combine speech recognition with other products such as e-commerce, application servers, packaged applications, IVR and telephony platforms and hardware and networking infrastructure. On the development front, V-Commerce applications will work with Java and ActiveX Speech APIs and make use of the Nuance reusable SpeechObjects components as well as the aforementioned VoxML. Other charter members of the V-Commerce Alliance include: Artisoft Inc, Aspect Telecommunications Inc, Brite Voice Systems Inc, BroadVision Inc, Calico Technology Inc, Dialogic Corp, Destiny Software, Natural Microsystems Corp, Network Engines Inc, Periphonics Corp, Syntellect Inc, SCITEC Ltd, via World Network, Voice Integrators and webMethods Inc. Additional members will be announced in the coming weeks.