The Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) Forum, an industry organization formed to create and promote VoiceXML, announced on Tuesday that the 2.0 specification for VoiceXML has been granted Proposed Recommendation status by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

This new status puts VoiceXML just one step away from becoming a W3C standard, according to a statement from the VoiceXML Forum.

VoiceXML unites text and human speech and can be used in conjunction with speech recognition and speech synthesis systems. It’s major goal is to bring the advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications.

Using voice input to drive back-end applications is viewed by large companies as a cost-effective way to allow customers who prefer to use a telephone rather than the Internet to perform transactions. In the last week, Telecommunication carrier Telecom New Zealand Ltd. and its Australian subsidiary AAPT Ltd. announced plans for VoiceXML-based billing transactions.

The Forum also announced the availability of the X+V (SHTML + Voice Profile) specification version 1.2. X+V is used for multimodal speech applications and brings spoken interaction to standard Web content by integrating a set of mature Web technologies such as XHTML and SML events with VoiceXML and XML grammars developed by the as part of the W3C Speech Interface Framework.

With support from more than 380 companies, firms such as IBM Corp., Motorola Inc., SAP AG and Verizon, have already demonstrated interest in V+X, the Forum said.

– With files from IDG News Service