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IBM Continues to Enhance Tools Available to Open Source Community to Spur Innovation of Voice Applications

Eclipse-Based Software Aims to Unite Development Community With New Application Programming Interface and IBM Multimodal Tool (March 06, 2006)
IBM today announced new open source development software enhancements for Web developers to use popular browser tools to build, test and run new voice applications.

The new speech application programming interface (API) software has been recently 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. VoiceXML is a leading language for developing voice recognition applications. Ultimately, the project aims to connect Eclipse developers and VoiceXML developers, allowing for common tools and architectures to spur innovation.

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

"This project reinforces IBM's commitment to open source technologies that grow the voice industry," said Brent Metz, Voice Tools Project Lead, IBM. "Now every developer, big or small, can build speech applications. The Voice Tools Project is designed to remove the cost barrier of entry so that developers can add speech to a wide variety of applications."

To give developers the ability to test voice applications before deployment using the new API, Tellme Networks 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.

"Using the Voice Tools Project with Tellme Studio means Eclipse developers can now write IP-based voice applications to reach people using any device with voice input," explains Brad Porter, Office of the CTO, Tellme Networks. "This project is important to the proliferation of voice applications because Eclipse is one of the most widely adopted development environments."

In addition, IBM has released the Multimodal Tools Project for Eclipse on its alphaWorks website. 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 easily 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. You could one day ask your cellphone for "nearby sushi restaurants" and have the resulting list displayed on your mobile device, or ask your television, "show me tennis matches this coming weekend" in order to record them.

In 2004, IBM donated its Reusable Dialogue Component speech technologies to the Eclipse and Apache organizations. RDCs allow developers to simply 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 the major voice standard markup languages. For more information on the project and to download a free copy, visit

About IBM
IBM is the world's largest information technology company with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key business partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable companies to take full advantage of the on demand era. Please visit for more information.

About Tellme
Tellme operates the world’s largest Internet application network for the phone handling billions of calls per year and used by more than 30 million people every month. Applications running on Tellme’s network include customer service for Merrill Lynch, E*TRADE and American Airlines, directory assistance for Cingular and Verizon and e-commerce services for and Fandango. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., Tellme is pioneering a new era of Internet communications by simplifying how people use the phone to find people, businesses and information.

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Related Keywords:software development, api, voice, speech, ibm, open source, voicexml, xml, web services, eclipse

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