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Why VoiceXML? Why Online?

Citing the worth of mobile voice portals to mobile phone operators and enterprises, Paul Pauesick, Director of Research for Datacomm Research, said the following in a recent report: "Mobile voice portals facilitate hands-free operation, unified messaging, and ubiquitous access to corporate information." Because VoiceXML is entirely server-based (the human voice and the mobile handset represent the entire client-side "application"), it follows that VoiceXML development could also be distributed and web-based. Two of the largest voice portal/platform companies—BeVocal and Tellme Networks—have done just this by making online VoiceXML development and testing tools available to the public at large. In this article, we'll take a look at BeVocal Café and Tellme Studio.

To make things simple, let's use a semblance of the VoiceXML code developed in my first article. The source for the example is displayed below. The user is presented with three options: Quotes, Traffic, and News. Saying one of these options triggers the appropriate form element in the VoiceXML code.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<vxml version="1.0">

  <menu>
  <prompt>
   <audio>
   Please say either Quotes, Traffic, or News to
    select an option. Which service would you like to access?
   </audio>
  </prompt>

  <choice next="#stocks">quotes</choice>
  <choice next="#traffic">traffic</choice>
  <choice next="#news">news</choice>
  <default><reprompt/></default>
 </menu>

 <form id="stocks">
 <block>
 <audio>
   The Dow closed today at 10,416, up 117 points.
    The Nasdaq closed at 1,956, down 6 points.
    Overall trading volume was light. Goodbye!
 </audio>
 </block>
 </form>

 <form id="traffic">
 <block>
 <audio>
  Traffic headed north on I-95 is heavy with an accident
    at the Fairlane Avenue exit ramp. Goodbye!
 </audio>
 </block>
 </form>

 <form id="news">
 <block>
 <audio>
  President George Bush has decided to allow federal funding for
    stem cell research, opening the door for potential cures
    for a host of diseases. In other news, Microsoft has asked
    that the U.S. Supreme Court take up the matter of their
    ongoing antitrust case. Goodbye!
 </audio>
 </block>
 </form>

 </vxml>

We'll use this same example when constructing the application using BeVocal Café and Tellme Studio.

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