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<p>For the XML-challenged, NetByTel will perform ODBC-XML conversions. They've also done screen scrapes from HTML agents, a more kludgy way of voice-enabling the web experience. Looking further ahead, We will do VoiceXML where we find a client who has VoiceXML-enabled their site,” comments Dewey Anderson, CTO of NetByTel .</p>

Teknor Applicom Teknor Applicom Inc. (Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada – 450-437-5682), now offers the cPCI-MXS64GX system processor, Teknor's next-gen cPCI 6U SBC with double the memory of its predecessor. Targeted at manufacturers of CT servers, VoIP equipment, and broadband data or intelligent network switches, the cPCI-MXS64GX offers, in a single-slot form factor, up to 1.5 GB of SDRAM.

The Plot: If we accept VoiceXML as the HTML of voice applications, it takes very little imagination and knowledge of web history to picture the next step: a markup language further simplified into templates for generic voice applications. Remember that tools such as Microsoft Front Page and Macromedia's Dreamweaver quickly took the pain (and some of the control) out of HTML and went further, releasing wizards and templates for sample websites (event sites, company sites, personal pages, etc.). The hosts themselves, such as Earthlink, GeoCities, and Yahoo, did something similar on an ASP basis.

To see how this model begins to play out in the speech-hosting universe, check out NetByTel.

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Voice-web host NetByTel is not yet using VoiceXML. They're now working on integrating SpeechWorks' VoiceXML interpreter into their platform, but for now, their template applications are written in C and C++. But like the website templates on the HTML visual side, NetByTel has gone VoiceXML one better by offering fill-in-the-blank CT applications on its hosted platform.

A basic e-commerce, order-by-number application is a template-filling proposition. Input the client's product database, fill in the prompts, and send the ordering data back via XML to the client's back-end processors. And provide the speech interface: NetByTel relies on SpeechWorks' speech recognition, and is in the process of moving from L&H text-to-speech to SpeechWorks' Speechify. It backs up its ASR with touch-tone and live-agent options.

I sampled the ordering application used by Office Depot, which allows account customers to order products by spoken number; the same number that appears on its e-commerce website. It's realizing the voice-web dream of voice-enabling web-resident data. NetByTel customized several modules from both its CRM and revenue-generating suites for Office Depot in a matter of months.

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For the XML-challenged, NetByTel will perform ODBC-XML conversions. They've also done screen scrapes from HTML agents, a more kludgy way of voice-enabling the web experience. Looking further ahead, We will do VoiceXML where we find a client who has VoiceXML-enabled their site,” comments Dewey Anderson, CTO of NetByTel .

An even more forward-looking template application, however, is an IVR already familiar to readers of this column: survey-taking.

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Here is the web-template IVR idea taken to its furthest, most user-friendly extreme: Surf to the template site, enter your questions and possible answers, click to show branching, input your outdial list, give your credit card number, and press Submit. The website sends the entered info via XML to NetByTel's voice platform, whose custom programming takes over. It turns questions into TTS-delivered speech and possible answers into more TTS for prompts and recognition grammars to understand spoken replies. Phones start ringing, data starts accumulating, XML flows back to the survey server, and bar charts of real-time results start publishing themselves on the client's password-protected web page.

This is the latest service being offered, via NetByTel, by QuickTake (Wilton, CT – 203-834-8585). QuickTake, launched in February 2000, is the e-survey offering of Greenfield Online, a full-service market research firm. QuickTake's chief proposition is still text-based surveys conducted via the web, which are brought to respondents' attention via email links. QuickTake clients design surveys online (with professional help from QuickTake). They use radio buttons or check boxes, design question flows, and input lists of email addresses or pager numbers that stay resident for future surveys. After the survey is launched, they get web-based, real-time compiled results.

Splinter said Intel's development fabs in Oregon are leading the transition. The first 0.13-micron Pentium III processors, code-named Tualatin, will hit the market at midyear. The first 0.13-micron Pentium 4 chips, code-named Northwood, will come to market late in the year and cut the MPU's 212-mm die size nearly in half.

Of chipsets and servers

Intel is also adopting a more agnostic approach to its choice of memory interface, adding support in its core-logic chipsets for single- and double-data-rate SDRAM in addition to Direct RDRAM.

Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of the Desktop Platform group, reiterated Intel's belief that Direct RDRAM will be the memory of choice for high-performance desktops and workstations. For mainstream PCs, Intel will let the market choose between RDRAM and DDR, although Burns believes DDR would probably allow the Pentium 4 to reach a lower price.

In the notebook-PC market, where Intel claims a 90% share, the company is under attack by low-power processors from AMD, Transmeta Corp., and potentially by a new integrated processor from Nvidia Corp. Intel will issue a midyear response with the Tualatin, which will run at better than 1.2 GHz and feature a follow-on to the Intel 815 chipset with either integrated graphics control or access to external graphics processors, according to Burns.