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Comparing Microsoft Speech Server 2004 and IBM WebSphere Voice Server V4.2

  • By Xiaole Song
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Call Controls

Both IBM WebSphere Voice Server and MS Speech Server can provide simple call controls such as transfer call, make call, answer call, and so on. In some cases, if you want to implement complex call controls functionality, you have to use the CCXML editor in IBM WebSphere Voice Server and use CSTA data extension controls in MS Speech Server.

CCXML, the Call Control eXtensible Markup Language, provides telephony call control that can be used in VoiceXML or SALT-based, speech-enabling applications. CCXML can provide the call management, event processing, conferencing, and such that VoiceXML and SALT lacked. Currently, MS Speech Server 2004 cannot support CCXML.

The CCXML editor of IBM WebSphere Voice Server extends the base XML editor in WebSphere Studio to provide a development tool for CCXML Call Control markup, for purposes of creation and modification of CCXML documents. This editor provides a set of functions similar to the VoiceXML editor (Preference management, formatting, validation, and so forth) except that it is based on the proposed CCXML standards.

CSTA, Computer Supported Telephony Application, is a set of API calls that provides an international standard interface between network servers and telephone switches; it was established by the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA). In the MS Speech Server, the SALT interpreter CSTA data extension establishes a communication channel to the TIM for implementing call controls. When exchanging messages, typically the speech application makes requests to TIM and the TIM responds it. Right here, the <smex> element of SALT is used to exchanging messages, where XML messages are sent to the TIM by using the sent property of smex and received from the TIM by using the onreceive event. The XML message consists of CSTA XML service requests and events as defined in CSTA Phase III. The CSTA-compatible call controls functionalities can be implemented.

Deployment Environments

Both IBM WebSphere Voice Serve and MS Speech Server can be deployed on either standalone or enterprise architecturea. This fully depends on your real application architecture and application requirements.

Integration with Third-Party CTI and CRM

Both IBM WebSphere Voice Serve and MS Speech Server do not provide CTI support directly, but are able to integrate with third-party CTI products by integrating the speech platform with CTI software, such as Intel's NetMerge CPS (formerly CT Connect), Genesys CTI, and Cisco ICM CTI. You can implement and customize many CTI features such as call routing, softphone, callback, screen pop, web chat, outbound, conference, and the like. They both also can easily integrate with CRM platform such as Siebel, PeopleSoft, MS CRM, SAP, and Oracle CRM.

OS Platform and Speech Recognition Language Support

The IBM WebSphere Voice Server V4.2 is able to be run on AIX, Windows, and Linux platforms. On different OS platforms, it supports different multi-languages. On AIX, it supports most languages, including Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, UK English, and US English. The IBM WebSphere Voice Server V4.2 supports a couple of languages on the Windows platform, such as Australian English, Brazilian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, UK English, and US English. The IBM WebSphere Voice Server V4.2 can be run on Linux, but supports German and US English only.

So far, MS Speech Server 2004 just works on the Windows 2000/XP/2003 platform as well as supports US English for speech recognition. The multi-languages support is in an ongoing beta stage until now.


In preceding sections, we described and compared the features of IBM WebSphere Voice Serve and MS Speech Server. These can help you make a suitable decision when you want to develop and deploy speech-enabled applications.

About the Author

Xiaole Song is a professional on designing, integrating, and consulting CTI, Contact Center, IVR, IP Telephony, CRM, and Speech application. He has performed various roles for Intel, Dialogic, Minacs, and so forth. Feel free to e-mail any comments about this article or consulting services to xiaole_song@yahoo.com.

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This article was originally published on July 16, 2004

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