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< Contents ERCIM News No. 57, April 2004

VoiceXML 2.0 gives Voice to the Web

VoiceXML 2.0 has been recently published as a W3C Recommendation. A W3C Recommendation is the equivalent of a Web standard, indicating that this W3C-developed specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who favor its adoption by the industry.

VoiceXML 2.0 is an XML language for writing Web pages you interact with by listening to spoken prompts and jingles, and control by means of spoken input. The goal of VoiceXML 2.0 is to bring the advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications.

VoiceXML 2.0 allows developers to create audio dialogs that feature:

  • spoken prompts (synthetic speech)
  • output of audio files and streams
  • recognition of spoken words and phrases
  • recognition of touch tone (DTMF) key presses
  • recording of spoken input
  • control of dialog flow
  • telephony control (call transfer and hangup).

VoiceXML 2.0 has been carefully designed to give authors full control over the spoken dialog between the user and the application. The application and user take it in turns to speak: the application prompts the user, and the user in turn responds.

VoiceXML 2.0 makes it easy to rapidly create new applications and shields developers from the low level and implementation details. It separates user-interaction from service logic.

The adoption rate of VoiceXML 2.0 is already industry wide, as the implementation evidence is very important, with at least eight known implementations in both prototype and fully released products. A complete list of current implementors is available at


ERCIM is the European host of W3C.