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Contributing Writer

Giving e-commerce a voice

Jun 19, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsVoIP

* VoiceXML to boost the use of voice over IP for e-commerce

Forget a killer application. What folks are waiting for is a killer standard that will boost the use of voice over IP for e-commerce. And according to some vendors, voice XML could be just that standard.

VoiceXML enables the link between voice recognition and information extraction. For instance, a person can dial up a traffic site to find out the situation on their route home and the voice recognition system can convert information from a Web site into voice to offer information back to the caller.

It’s a powerful tool for e-commerce on two fronts: Customers can use the ubiquitous phone to conduct transactions while retailers can cut down on the need for live call center help. VoiceXML also allows for information stored across the Web to be accessed by more than just Internet users – extending its value.

VoiceXML is not new. In fact, the standard was first introduced by AT&T, IBM, Lucent and Motorola in 1999. Today, these companies are joined by the biggest names in speech recognition to further development. Currently, standards groups are working on approving Version 2.0 of the VXML specification. More information can be found on this at

VoiceXML is finding tremendous backing these days because of the explosion in cell phone use. Callers want to be able to access information that they would normally find online via their phone. They want to conduct e-business via the phone the same way they would via the Web.

By simply coding their content with voice tags – which resemble other markup language tags – information providers are able to accomplish this.

VoiceXML is definitely a step in the right direction for e-commerce ubiquity. Expect it to really take off as softphones and other voice over IP equipment deployments ramp up.