VoiceXML Conformance Report
In this article, we will test six VoiceXML browsers for VoiceXML 2.0 conformance to determine how compatible today's VoiceXML platforms are with each other.
Getting a group of scientists to agree on something is a challenge. Getting a small group of toddlers to play quietly is even more challenging. Getting business people and scientists to agree on anything is nearly impossible. Similarly, getting companies to create conforming VoiceXML browsers that are compatible with each other has so far been impossible.
VoiceXML is in fact a technology that leverages several layers of standardized protocols that are used to transport messages between applications (in our case, a VoiceXML browser and a Web server).
The diagram above depicts the standards that a voice browser relies on to communicate.
Why Conformance is Important
I conducted an informal survey made up of participants that are either evaluating VoiceXML platforms or have already implemented a VoiceXML solution.
When asked why they were considering VoiceXML, the most common responses were:
- New technology
- Based on open standards
- Can move to a different platform later
- Can extend Web applications
Next, I asked participants to rate a list of nine VoiceXML benefits from one to ten, one meaning that the benefit was not important at all and ten meaning that it was very important. The list was created based on a common set of expected benefits that my company, The Ferrum Group, typically gets from customers when they come to us to help them select and implement a speech IVR solution.
The top three VoiceXML benefits important to customers were:
Provides a wider variety of platform choices
Uses open standards
Can port applications to any other VoiceXML platform
Finally, I asked participants What is the most important benefit that you want to see from VoiceXML?
The two most common answers were:
While the survey was not scientific, the results did seem to indicate that customers were most interested in the benefits that come from using an open standard like VoiceXML.
My conclusion as to why conformance is important is that customers naturally expect it as a byproduct of an open standard. Without conformance, the benefits of using an "open standard" are greatly diminished.
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