Speech Support for HTML?
Information Week’s Tischelle George reported yesterday about SALT Forum’s speech support for HTML in the article, New Consortium Aims To Add Speech Support To HTML. What sounds good to me is that the SALT Forum’s goal is to develop this to extend existing languages such as HTML, XHTML, and XML. They state at their site,
Most importantly, SALT does not define a new programming model; it reuses the existing Web execution model so that the same application code can be shared across modalities. And since SALT does not alter the behavior of the markup languages with which it is used, SALT is future-proof: it can be used with any future XML standard...
The main elements of SALT are:
<prompt ...>for configuring the speech synthesizer and playing out prompts
<reco ...>for configuring the speech recognizer, executing recognition, and handling recognition events
<grammar ...>for specifying input grammar resources
<bind ...>for processing recognition results into the page
SALT, which stands for Speech Application Language Tags, is founded by some major players—Cisco, Comverse, Intel, Microsoft, Philips and SpeechWorks. Together they plan to develop a platform independent standard that can be used via desktop, telephony, handhelds, tablet PCs and more.
There’s been discussion of this for quite awhile now—a vision of users listening to the Web from their handhelds as an everyday occurrence. This programming sounds like one step toward making the voice capability fairly easy to integrate. We’ll see how it goes when we try it. We’ll be able to add these tags to existing web pages, and they’ll be available for output to desktop computers and other voice-activated devices such as cell phones and handhelds mentioned above.
SALT is also developing this as a royalty-free standard. After following W3C’s Patent Recommendations the past couple of weeks, this really jumped out at me, and I’m glad to see this. SALT’s current plans are to make the standard specification available in early 2002 and submit it to W3C or other standards body by the middle of next year.