Piscataway, New Jersey – May 26, 2010
Today, the VoiceXML Forum, a global industry organization focused on accelerating the adoption of VoiceXML, speech recognition and related technologies and standards, announced the public launch of its VoiceXML 2.1 Platform Certification Program. VoiceXML Forum members Nuance Communications, Loquendo (a Telecom Italia company), and Genesys (an Alcatel Lucent company) have undergone testing and successfully completed this certification program.

Interoperability is a primary objective of VoiceXML standards, benefiting both customers, who are afforded more freedom to choose standard-based platforms, and vendors who gain access to more customers. Interoperability is not, however, assured by the existence of the standard alone. A test program that certifies platform conformance to the standard is critical. The VoiceXML Forum’s Platform Certification Program provides for that vendor independent, industry-standard certification that will support all members of the VoiceXML ecosystem.

Certification provides a new level of vendor differentiation on the VoiceXML platform level,” said Daniel Hong, Lead Analyst of Customer Interaction at Ovum (www.ovum.com). “It is no longer a question of VoiceXML or traditional IVR. Two years have passed since the market has witnessed the inflection point where VoiceXML licenses eclipsed that of proprietary IVR systems. As we roll out the tape over the next couple of years, enterprises need to evaluate platform interoperability and monitoring and analytics capabilities, in addition to performance, to choose an IVR platform that effectively meets changing business needs, while protecting investments.

The VoiceXML 2.1 Platform Certification Program

The VoiceXML Forum’s 2.1 Platform Certification Program consists of a conformance test suite, which is a collection of test scripts based on the W3C Implementation Reports for the relevant VoiceXML standards. The program also has a test harness, which facilitates testing a platform against the scripts in the conformance test suite. The conformance test suite and the test harness were designed by the Promoter and Sponsor level members of the VoiceXML Forum, but are now publicly available. During the certification process, the target platform is tested against the conformance test suite by an independent third-party test lab.

The previous version of the conformance test suite covered the VoiceXML 2.0 Recommendation. To date, 26 VoiceXML platforms, including offerings from nearly all of the leading vendors, have been certified in the VoiceXML 2.0 certification program. The VoiceXML 2.1 platform certification program enhances the 2.0 program in a number of important ways:

  • The 2.1 conformance suite covers VoiceXML 2.0, Speech Recognition Grammar Standard (SRGS) 1.0, VoiceXML 2.1, and a small subset of Speech Interpretation for Speech Recognition (SISR) 1.0.
  • In addition to adding tests for SRGS 1.0 conformance, the 2.1 test harness now mandates the use of SRGS 1.0 and SISR 1.0 in all test scripts, including those in the VoiceXML 2.0 module.
  • The 2.1 conformance suite consists of three modules: one for VoiceXML 2.0, one for SRGS 1.0, and one for VoiceXML 2.1. Vendors may choose to certify against any set of modules.

Broad industry support for the VoiceXML 2.1 Platform certification program

Newfound Communications (www.newfoundcomm.net) is an independent, third-party test lab that has been contracted by the VoiceXML Forum to perform the platform testing. The test lab will support testing of platforms shipped to their lab, or remotely from a hosted platform. This additional remote testing option now allows vendors of hosted services to certify their platforms as well.

The 2.1 Platform Certification Program recently concluded its pilot test phase in which several VoiceXML Forum members successfully certified their platforms against VoiceXML 2.1, SRGS 1.0 and SISR 1.0 conformance tests. Nuance Communications (www.nuance.com), a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions, certified the release 4.0 SP1 of Nuance Voice Platform, the platform underlying the Nuance OnDemand hosting environment. Loquendo (www.loquendo.com), a global speech technology provider, certified release 7.1 of VoxNauta, the platform supporting most of Telecom Italia’s voice-based services. Genesys (www.genesys.com), an Alcatel Lucent company, certified their Genesys Voice Portal release 8.1.1 platform.

Dr. Valentine Matula of Avaya, VoiceXML Forum Chair, said, “Platform certification is one of VoiceXML Forum’s primary responsibilities towards the industry. It is a service designed by the VoiceXML Forum members, for all the members of the speech recognition and IVR industries. We encourage all platform vendors to seek VoiceXML2.1 compliance certification for their platforms and hosted services.

The VoiceXML 2.1 Platform Certification Program is now available to the industry. Fees for the program start at $20,000 USD, with discounts available to VoiceXML Forum members, and to companies that have previously certified a platform.

About the VoiceXML Forum

Founded in 1999, the VoiceXML Forum is an industry organization whose mission is to promote and to accelerate the worldwide adoption of VoiceXML and adjacent technologies. As the world’s leading VoiceXML advocate, the VoiceXML Forum works to certify VoiceXML platforms, to collaborate with standards organizations, and to create publications, including requirements, best practices, and use cases. The Forum’s mission is to make it easier to understand, develop, deploy, and experience VoiceXML applications. Membership in the Forum is open to any interested company. Current members include leading organizations from the speech, telecommunications, mobile and wireless, and information technology industries. For information, please visit https://voicexml.org.