Microsoft tests Speech Server 2007

Microsoft last week offered customers new test versions of its Speech Server 2007.

The company released a beta for Microsoft Speech Server 2007 which is expected to be available in full release later this year.

Companies use Microsoft's Speech Server to build voice-recognition and interactive voice response (IVR) applications.

Microsoft has said its goals for Speech Server 2007, the second major release of the product, are to make it easier for developers to build speech applications and ensure those applications provide a satisfying user experience. Customers still find current IVR and speech-recognition applications difficult to communicate with.

One feature in the Speech Server 2007 beta that Microsoft hopes will help developers reach those goals is native VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) support. Previously, customers needed third-party VoIP hardware in order to deploy a Speech Server-based application over IP phones.

The test preview also includes support for VoiceXML (Voice Extensible Markup Language), a development standard for voice applications. Developers building voice recognition and speech applications use either SALT (Speech Application Language Tags) or VoiceXML as part of the development of those programs, Microsoft said. Previously, the company only supported SALT natively in Speech Server.

Microsoft is still accepting applications for the Speech Server 2007 beta program. The company expects hundreds of testers to join the program but is not providing an exact number of participants.

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