VoiceXML. Erik Harborg SINTEF IKT. Presentasjon, 4. årskurs, NTNU, ICT

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1 VoiceXML Erik Harborg SINTEF IKT Presentasjon, 4. årskurs, NTNU,

2 Content Voice as the user interface What is VoiceXML? What type of applications can be implemented? Example applications VoiceXML language features 2

3 What s so hard about Voice? Poor VUI isn t just annoying it s crippling Example Linear, single channel of communication Cognitively taxing Based on imperfect technology Error-recovery is critical but is rarely given proper attention by developers 3

4 VUI Basic Elements Dialog specification Call-flow shows states of application Each state contains Prompts Upon entry to state Upon errors or requests for help Grammars What can be recognized? Dialog Logic What should be done when something is recognized? What should be done in case of error? Main Where to? Accounts Accounts Would you like to... List them List Accounts 4

5 VUI Prompts Directs caller through system Most noticeable component of VUI Makes first impression Great prompts bring a system to life Poor prompts lead to distraction, confusion Callers prefer human speech Ideal: pre-record everything More realistic: concatenate prompt tokens Concatenation must be done well e.g., Telephone number playback More practical Text-to-Speech e.g., Nuance Vocalizer e.g., Nuance RealSpeak 5

6 VUI Grammars Recognize what is spoken in response to prompts Must accurately model expected responses Should pay attention to prompt wording Example Tip: Avoid including unlikely responses $rule = $Digit+; // overkill! Directly impact recognition accuracy Ideally -- completely transparent Only notice when there s a problem! Makes or breaks application 6

7 VUI Dialog Logic Process what is recognized (or not) by grammar Determine what the system should do next VUI-specific logic Confirmation Because recognition is not always right Low confidence hypotheses, transactional states N-best Lists Use domain knowledge to search through hypotheses Use dialog history to avoid repeating errors Error-recovery Provide help as necessary (especially if requested!) Anticipate errors Include I don t know in grammar logic Pay attention to cognitive load 7

8 Voice Developer s Landscape IVR Application Generators Traditionally closed, proprietary JavaSpeech API (JSAPI) / Microsoft Speech API (SAPI) Aimed at desktop, command-and-control SpeechObjects (SO) Encapsulate common tasks for reusability Nuance SO: Java-based Application Framework VoiceXML XML-based W3C standard for scripting dialogs Ideal for usage in J2EE environment + more 8

9 What is VoiceXML? VoiceXML is a mark-up language (an XML dialect ) for speech enabled telephony services VoiceXML documents describe: Recognition of spoken words and phrases Recognition of DTMF (touch tone) key presses Recording of spoken input Output of synthesized speech (text-to-speech) Output of audio files and streams Control of telephony front-end (call transfer, disconnect) Control of dialog flow Mechanisms for proprietary extensions (e.g. object element) 9

10 What is VoiceXML? High-level programming language Supports simple or complex speech dialogs Control speech and telephony resources in uniform manner High-level abstraction of platform capabilities Shield application programmers from platform details no need to know ASR, TTS, telephony APIs Enables portability run on any supported platform, whether an enterprise system or in telephone network Common service creation Content providers, Tool providers, Platform providers 10

11 VoiceXML is standardized by W3C W3C Voice Browser Working Group: Founded March company members Mission Standards group to prepare and review markup languages to enable internet-based speech applications Publishes requirements and specifications for languages in the W3C Speech Interface Framework 11

12 W3C Speech Interface Framework 12

13 VoiceXML Forum Industry Group to promote VoiceXML Founded March 1999 (AT&T, Lucent, IBM, Motorola) ~150 member companies (April 2007) Submitted VoiceXML 1.0 to W3C in May 2000 Key areas of Forum responsibility: Education Marketing Conformance 13

14 The ingredients... Internet Mobile Speech user interface..for creating speech based access to the mobile Internet 14

15 What is he talking about? Listen to Internet content through your phone Use your voice for control and input A new Internet - way of creating voice services! Todays news Here is todays news... Internet 15

16 So how does it work? speechweb a VoiceXML platform <?xml <?xml version= 1.0?> version= 1.0?> <vxml <vxml version= 2.0 > version= 2.0 > <form> <form> <block>welcome <block>welcome to to speechweb</block> speechweb</block> </form> </form> </vxml> </vxml> Voice Commands and/or DTMF Automatic speech recognition Speech synthesis and Audio playback Web server speechweb: fetches web pages builds dialog generates output interprets input Tel. nr URL:s

17 Main components of a VoiceXML platform VoiceXML interpreter Speech Recognition ASR Text To Speech synthesizer TTS Telephony handling Resource allocation Platform administration; management, provisioning billing etc. 17

18 VoiceXML a standard for creating voice services based on Web technologies 18

19 Voice Interface: What functionality? Basic IVR Computer: For stock quotes, press 1. For trading, press 2. Human: (presses DTMF 1 ) Basic speech IVR? C: Say the stock name for a price quote. H: Lucent Technologies Advanced speech IVR C: Stock Services, how may I help you? H: Uh, what s Lucent trading at? Near-natural language C: How may I help you? H: Um, yeah, I d like to get the current price of Lucent Technologies C: Lucent is up two at sixty eight and a half. H: OK. I want to buy one hundred shares at market price. C: 19

20 What type of application can be built? Traditional speech and IVR applications auto-attendants, voice dialers Web-centric applications reading information services (news, horoscope, etc) transaction services (stocks, banking, etc) voice portals Mobile-centric applications location services m-commerce services VoiceXML VoiceXML will will most most likely likely replace replace any anyother technology technology for for creating creating telephony telephony based based voice voice applications applications!! 20

21 Example application a voice Portal One number Music selection reader Favorite Sports Today s news Stock Prices My Buddy list Entertain me Welcome to speechweb Portal Here are your options Stock prices Here are the latest stock quotes from the... 21

22 Welcome to speechweb Portal 22

23 Voice portal requirements Handling of a variety of services Dynamic content Handling of personal profiles Voice U/I design strategy Support for VoiceXML 23

24 Mobile Internet --> Multi-channel Internet Access to a service is determined by: Type of terminal Type of content Usage situation e.g handsfree User preference X.. Desktop browser WAP SMS Voice 24

25 Application architecture example Tier 1 speechweb is the browser Tier 2 voice oriented presentation logic Tier 3 not modified! Web browser Application server JSP Internet EJB speechweb Tier 1 Browsers Tier 2 Presentation logic Tier 3 Business logic/ database 25

26 Multimodality, combinations of e.g.: Voice and SMS Voice and WAP Voice and data 26

27 Multimodal = Voice + Display Say which City you want weather for and see the information on your phone Say which bands/cd s you want to buy and confirm the choices visually 27

28 Multimodal example coming up Mobile phone + SMS Travel guidance 28

29 29

30 Nokia 30

31 Opportunities with VoiceXML 31 Wakeup call Ringtone download Send a voice message Voice adventure Where am I service Listen to your Dating service The Voice Portal The ASP scenarios New channel for existing services Horoscope Pay your parking fee Wakeup call Karaoke Todo list Voice commerce Voice infotainment IVR replacement Birthdate greeting call and more...! Read out addresses Voice dialing My calendar Read SMS

32 Benefits with VoiceXML Rapid service development by using markup language Separation of application from resource platform Run speech applications on web infrastructure Leverage on Internet competence Open industry and W3C standardization process 32

33 VoiceXML Status High level of industrial support VoiceXML Forum (~150 members, April 2007) W3C Voice Browser Group (~50 active members) VoiceXML 2.0 specification released 23/ (W3C working draft) VoiceXML 2.0 Recommendation: 16 March 2004 VoiceXML 2.1 Working Draft: 28 July 2004 VoiceXML 2.1 Last Working Draft: September 2006 VoiceXML 2.1 Candidate Recommendation expected:???? VoiceXML 3.0 first public Working Draft expected in 2007 VoiceXML 3.0 Candidate Recommendation expected:???? Related standards (e.g. speech recognition grammar, speech synthesis, semantic interpretation, call control) 33

34 Related languages SGML Standard Generalized markup language ISO standard for defining descriptions of the structure of different type of electronic documents (tables, figures, fonts, breaks, ) XML Extensible markup language Derived from SGML (simplified) Makes it easy and straightforward to use SGML on the Web Metalanguage: Provides a framework for defining other languages (e.g. xhtml, VoiceXML) 34

35 Related languages HTML HyperText Markup Language Language for creating content on the Web Defines a very simple class of report-style documents (headings, paragraphs, tables, ), plus some hypertext and multimedia. XHTML extensible HyperText Markup Language Successor of HTML HTML in an XML wrapping with further improvements (modularization) 35

36 Related languages SALT - Speech Application Language Tags Enables multimodal and telephony-enabled access to information, applications, and Web services from PCs, telephones, tablet PCs, and wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs). XHTML+Voice (X+V) Proposal by: IBM, Motorola, Opera Includes VoiceXML as a module Extends capabilities in XHTML xhmi extensible Human-Machine Interface An open, XML-based dialog configuration language that enables efficient development of more natural, conversational applications Merge with future VoiceXML updates? 36

37 The VoiceXML Language VoiceXML is designed for creating interactive speech dialogs: Output of synthesized speech (TTS) Output of audio files and streams Recognition of spoken words and phrases (ASR) Recognition of DTMF (touch tone) key presses Recording of spoken input Control of dialog flow (scripting) Control of telephony front-end (call transfer, disconnect) Mechanisms for proprietary extensions (e.g. object element) 37

38 VoiceXML Usage fetch VoiceXML document build speech dialog generate output interpret input 38

39 Application Structure Applications use an application root document for shared data & dialogs Subdialogs are used for decomposition & dialog reuse (e.g., dialog libraries) Dialogues specify grammars and event transitions 39

40 Language Design Requirements Responsiveness Allow specification of multiple interactions per page to reduce client/server network and processing delays State machine-based dialogs Ease of Use Make common dialogs easy to write Enable complex dialogs Error/Event Handling Include explicit mechanisms for handling various common issues: unexpected user response (inappropriate response, help etc) ASR errors network anomalies hardware/software platform errors Enable Directed and Mixed Initiative dialogs 40

41 VoiceXML Features 41

42 VoiceXML Dialog Features Menus, Forms, Sub-Dialogs <menu>, <form>, <subdialog> Inputs Speech Recognition <grammar> Recording <record> Keypad <dtmf> Outputs Audio files <audio> Text-To-Speech <prompt> Events <nomatch>, <noinput>, <help>, <catch>, <throw> Variables <var> Transition, Submission <goto>, <submit> PS. <nomatch> is shorthand for <catch event= nomatch > 42

43 Supported Dialog Styles Menus Computer: For California, press 1. For Oregon, press 2 Human: 1 Computer: For Los Angeles, press 1, For San Diego, press 2 Forms Directed Dialogs C: Please say the state for which you want the weather H: California C: Please say the city for which you want the weather H: Los Angeles Mixed Initiative Dialogs C: For which area would you like the weather? H: Los Angeles, California 43

44 Telephony Features Simple Connection Control Transfer to 3rd party <transfer> Add 3rd party <transfer bridge= true > Disconnect user <disconnect> Telephony Information Automatic Number Identification Dialed Number Information Service Information Indicator Digit User-to-User Information (ISDN) 44

45 Telephony Features 45

46 Platform Features Accommodate platform strengths Invoke platform-specific functionality <object> e.g. SpeechObject custom credit card dialog e.g. cell phone current location (lat/lon) Control platform properties <property> e.g. speech recognition threshold level 46

47 Performance Features Challenge: Minimize Dead Air Response: Caching standard HTTP or re-load semantics Prefetching identify pre-fetch candidates Fetching limit delays music on hold 47

48 VoiceXML examples Hello World! example: <?xml version="1.0"?> <vxml version= 2.0"> <form> <prompt> <emp>hello</emp>, World! </prompt> </form> </vxml> 48

49 More advanced example including error handling <?xml version="1.0"?> <vxml version="2.0"> <form id="main"> <field name="what"> <prompt> Which is your favourite day of the week? </prompt> <prompt count>="2"> Please say a day of the week, like monday or tuesday. </prompt> <!-- use only very basic VoiceXML grammar --> <option> monday </option> <option> tuesday </option> <option> wednesday </option> <option> thursday </option> <option> friday </option> <option> saturday </option> <option> sunday </option> <option> goodbye </option> <filled> <if cond= what == goodbye > Goodbye. Disconnecting. <disconnect/> </if> Got it. I think you said <value expr="what" />. Try again <goto next="#main" /> </filled> <!-- what to do if nothing was heard --> <noinput> Sorry, I did not hear anything. Try again. <reprompt/> </noinput> <noinput count="2"> Sorry, I seem to have a problem hearing you. Goodbye. <disconnect/> </noinput> <!-- what to do when something was heard but not understood --> <nomatch> You said something but I did not understand it. Try again. <reprompt/> </nomatch> <nomatch count="2"> Sorry, we don't seem to communicate. Goodbye. <disconnect/> </nomatch> </field> </form> </vxml> PS. <reprompt/> is shorthand for <repromt></reprompt> 49

50 Voice XML References W3C Voice Browser Activity: Voice XML Forum: 50

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