Seems like yesterday that we released VoiceObjects 9. And still here we are with Revision 1 (R1) of VoiceObjects 9.0.
Yes, it fixes a couple of issues that we found or that you reported to us (thanks, and keep the feedback coming!) – but more than that it is chock-full of new features and functionalities to the point that merely calling it a revision is really hiding its light under a bushel. So this blog post gives you a high-level overview of what you can expect to find when you step up to R1.
It’s available immediately over here and on the VoiceObjects Service Portal.
Desktop for Eclipse
One of the new features coming in Desktop for Eclipse (including Developer Edition) you may already have seen in a previous blog post: The ability to switch between standalone and network mode at startup and from the VoiceObjects menu. Very convenient if you frequently change your working environment.
Another convenience function introduced with R1 is the ability to backup all of your projects at once. Simply select the new entry in the VoiceObjects menu and define a location for the backup. You can even choose between separate export files, a single combined ZIP archive, or all of the above.
Finally, the Search view has received a complete makeover. It now presents search results in individual tabs, giving you the ability to keep multiple search results open at the same time. It also shows you a lot more detail on the search conditions, both within the tab header itself and in the corresponding tool tip. Providing these additional capabilities was very high on the list of developer requests, and we’re happy to respond to this feedback.
Do let us know how the newly expanded search works for you!
In the unlikely case that you may have missed it: IMified has joined the Voxeo family, giving you access to all major Instant Messaging networks. Blending neatly with the existing VoiceObjects multi-channel approach, you can now augment your applications to also work as IM “bots” by simply running them with the new IMified driver. Part and parcel of our Unified Self-Service vision:
To be honest, it’s less of a vision by now – it’s reality you can put to use today!
A functionality used by many of our customers is what we call Service Chaining: Shepherding the caller through a number of consecutive applications that give the external appearance of being a single one. Often this is e.g. a shared initial application that accesses the backend for CRM data, followed by the respective application dialled into by the caller (as identified e.g. by DNIS).
The way this was done so far could produce ugly intermediate pages in the text-based channels that required explicit caller interaction to move to the next page. Therefore R1 now uses standard HTTP redirects to trigger invisible and seamless service chaining in these channels.
For certain types of applications, such as e.g. conferencing, VoiceXML in and of itself is insufficient due to its lack of fine-grained telephony capabilities. In these cases, Call Control XML (CCXML) is the language of choice – usually in combination with VoiceXML since CCXML in its turn is not particularly dialog-oriented. To make this combination as smooth as possible, R1 offers a new transfer type within the Transfer object, fittingly called CCXML. It gives you the ability to easily jump from a VoiceXML dialog into the enveloping CCXML application – and return to the dialog at some later time. For details, refer to June’s Jam Session.
A lot of things have happened in R1 around Infostore, the repository for real-time caller behavior analysis.
First of all, it has completed its architectural transition to using a persistent on-disk message queue based on the popular Apache ActiveMQ. This means that regardless of database or network slowdowns or even outages, no Infostore data will ever be lost. Important peace of mind for customers who rely on the insight that Infostore delivers.
VoiceObjects Server provides sophisticated sampling options to ensure that statistically relevant data on caller behavior is collected while keeping the sheer data volume at a manageable level even for installations with very high call volume. This implies that even though Infostore is enabled, not every single call will actually write data to it.
In some situations it is of interest to know within the application itself whether a call has been selected to be written to Infostore or not – e.g. when your application logs custom data that only makes sense in combination with the corresponding Infostore entries. The new Expression object function ISLOGGINGACTIVE() does just that for all the relevant settings including utterance recording.
There’s also another enhancement for customers handling sensitive caller data such as credit card numbers: In addition to the long-existing masking option of using one-way encryption to obtain a protected yet unique representation for each caller input, it is now also possible to apply a generic, static mask that replaces every sensitive utterance with the same configurable string.
Those of you who participated in July’s Jam Session already know about the new LoadTester tool that allows you to easily stress test your application and deployment infrastructure. Starting with R1 it is bundled with the installer.
With VoiceObjects 9.0R1 we are also proud to release the integration with Nu Echo’s NuGram IDE. Making full use of the Eclipse workbench approach, you can now develop, maintain, and manage your speech recognition (and DTMF) grammars in what is recognized by many as the market’s best grammar development tool. Bundled right into VoiceObjects Developer Edition, a single download now gives you more power than ever before.
To learn more about VoiceObjects and NuGram, join us for our next Developer Jam Session on September 16.
And if you want to learn more about the Voxeo VoiceObjects platform in general, why not join one of our free training classes at Voxeo University? Seats are limited, so sign up today for the next courses in September and October by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Finally, if you’re in New York City during this week of August 24, please make sure to visit us at SpeechTEK in the Marriott Marquis!
You can find us in booth 800. We’re looking forward to talking to you.