IBM adds new WebSphere tool for voice apps

IBM Corp. will release later this month WebSphere Voice Application Access (WVAA), a tool for developers seeking to voice-enable corporate applications for mobile access.

WVAA supports VoiceXML (Voice Extensible Markup Language) and Java, and includes sample portlets and preconfigured functions to speed development time for customized voice portals. Developers can use the technology to build voice interfaces for retrieving information from corporate databases and systems, such as stock quotes or customer information. In conjunction with other IBM development tools, WVAA can enable information to be requested with one device, such as a mobile phone, but delivered to another, like a handheld computer.

The technology is particularly well-suited to mobile workers, said Sunil Soares, director of product management for IBM’s Pervasive Computing Division. IBM has been working with one real estate company using the technology to allow agents to call and retrieve listings using keywords, he said.

A beta version of WVAA is available on IBM’s alphaWorks development Web site, at The software will be officially released worldwide on Dec. 20, with pricing of around US$60,000 per processor.

Nuance Communications Inc., which competes with IBM on voice software, will support WVAA, as will infrastructure provider Cisco Systems Inc. Voice software companies V-Enable Inc. and Voxsurf Ltd. will also support the technology, as will services firm Viecore Inc.

IBM’s Pervasive Computing unit is also announcing this week full availability of a host of offerings given limited releases throughout the past few months, including the 5.0 versions of WebSphere Studio Device Developer and WebSphere Micro Environment, both aimed at aiding development of Java applications for mobile devices.

Also available now is WebSphere Everyplace Software for Telematics and DB2 Everywhere 8.1, the latest version of IBM’s mobile database.