PISCATAWAY, N.J., Oct. 23, 2001 — The VoiceXML Forum today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It marks the VoiceXML Forum’s release of the trademark to the public domain. The signing of the MOU also coincides with the W3C release of the first Public Working Draft of VoiceXML version 2.0.

VoiceXML is the voice markup language that’s driving the voice-enabled internet – with applications as far-reaching as Call Center automation, on-board navigation, voice-activated emergency systems, audio-enabled email, and other instances involving interactivity between the web and a telephone.

"The MOU between our two organizations paves the way for each to focus on different aspects of VoiceXML – while maintaining our close working relationship," said Jean-François Abramatic, Chairman of the W3C.

"The W3C developed the version 2.0 specification," Abramatic further explained, "and will continue to lead its technical development. The VoiceXML Forum, in coordination with the W3C, is providing certification programs to ensure to the buying public and vendors alike of VoiceXML interoperability. In addition, the VoiceXML Forum is taking leadership of the educational issues needed to implement the specification, as well as marketing it to gain an even larger installed base."

An RFP to independent technical laboratories will be issued on Monday, Oct. 29 by the VoiceXML’s Conformance Committee, to coincide with the release of VoiceXML 2.0. Interested vendors should contact Ken Rehor, Chairman of the VoiceXML Conformance Committee.

The Conformance Committee is open to all Promoters and Sponsors of the Forum, and includes many of the same member companies who worked with the W3C Voice Browser Working Group on VoiceXML version 2.0. The mandate of the Conformance Committee is to devise the test suites by which VoiceXML products and services can be certified compliant with the specification. An open process involving Promoters and other members will ensure interoperability. An independent certification laboratory will be selected to carry out the stringent tests. Only products that pass will be entitled to label their equipment as certified by the VoiceXML Forum.

In addition to issuing the RFP for technical labs, the VoiceXML Forum’s Board of Directors announced that the number of Sponsor members who participate on the Board will be expanded beyond the four founding companies, beginning in 2002. "VoiceXML is a burgeoning industry – with hundreds of real-world applications already in place. Given the deep investment by vendors and enterprises, the Board wants to reflect the broader array of what this technology has to offer," said William A. Dykas, Chairman of the VoiceXML Forum.

Since the formation of the Forum in March 1999 membership has surged from the four founding members to more than 550 companies worldwide. The Forum, which developed the Working Draft of VoiceXML 1.0, is a program of the IEEE-Industry Standards and Technology Organization (IEEE-ISTO). More information about the VoiceXML Forum’s conformance activities can be found at www.voicexml.org/conformance. For more information about the VoiceXML Forum, please visit www.voicexml.org, or contact Greg Kohn, Program Manager at +1-732-465-6486 or at greg.kohn@ieee-isto.org.

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