Voice applications can help overcome some of the challenges commonly experienced when building wireless Internet applications, such as limited screen size, unreliable wireless coverage, and difficult data entry. More than 1 billion telephones in the world can take advantage of these applications.
The industry-leading technology for creating voice applications is VoiceXML. VoiceXML architecture is very similar to the Internet architecture, but instead of a client-side visual Web browser, VoiceXML employs a server-side voice browser. In doing so, VoiceXML brings together many technologies, including text-to-speech, automatic speech recognition, and DTMF input to create user-friendly voice applications. The specification for VoiceXML is managed by the W3C.
The market for voice applications is in its infancy. The number of VoiceXML applications will grow dramatically as corporations start to see and experience the benefits that voice integration can provide.
The next chapter brings us to Part IV of this book. There we will cover technologies for extending email and other personal information management applications, as well as mobile device management solutions.