Verizon to Open Cell Phones?

This is big. To understand the root cause of this, one need only look to Mountain View, California (the headquarters of Google).

It was Google that pressed the FCC to open up the auction on the 700 Mhz spectrum. And it was Google that got the ball rolling on the Open Handset Alliance.

There is an interesting lesson that can be taken away from this:

Openness + Choice == Innovation!

Or, to quote Lowell McAdam, chief executive of Verizon Wireless:

“The trend we see here is an explosion of innovation. People want to take so much of what’s on the Internet and put it on the phone.”

Lots of other places in the software world that could benefit from applying this philosophy.

The State of the X+V Standard

A very interesting new extension for the Firefox web browser became available recently on alphaWorks (IBM’s site devoted to emerging technologies). The “Tadpole” extension implements the X+V specification for the Firefox web browser.

Those already familiar with X+V know that the Opera browser has, for some time, supported this language for building multimodal applications. However, a Firefox extension for X+V raises some additional possibilities — a mashup between X+V and XUL anyone?

While I lack the courage to build the necessary software prerequisites to run this extension (like the Opera browser’s support for X+V, the Tadpole extension will only work on Windows) reading about it did inspire me to upgrade to the latest version of the Opera browser — 9.24 — and play around with some X+V samples.

It got me thinking about the X+V standard and where it’s heading. It’s very likely that the W3C’s work on the new VoiceXML 3.0 standard will incorporate changes meant to support multimodal applications. A sneak preview of the new standard can be viewed on the W3C site.

To say that I’m excited for the first public draft of the VoiceXML 3.0 standard next Spring would be a monumental understatement!

W3C Publishes Revised Standards Plan

New on the W3C Voice Browser Activity site is the addition of a new schedule for the release of some major voice application standards. There is some very cool stuff on tap for 2008.

First, it looks like the Call Control eXtensible Markup Language (CCXML) will finally reach full recommendation status next year. The last call working draft was first published in June of 2005. I’ve been jonesin’ for this one for a while.

Those looking for an easy to install yet powerful CCXML platform can try out the Prophecy platform from Voxeo. The one downside is that it only runs on Windows, but it already supports most of the functionality laid out in the most recent CCXML last call working draft (released in January of 2007). Those looking to run a CCXML interpreter on *NIX based systems can try the Oktopous platform.

Second, and maybe even more exciting, the first public working draft of VoiceXML 3.0 is expected to be released early next year. According to the W3C, VoiceXML 3.0 will:

“…provide enhancements to existing dialog and media control, as well as major new features (e.g. modularization, a cleaner separation between data/flow/dialog, and asynchronous external eventing) to facilitate interoperability with external applications and media components.”

Looks like the new year will be a happy one for voice application developers!