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What is VXML?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 16, 2024
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VXML, or voice XML, is a kind of programming language that helps computers and other devices operate through telephone lines. VXML is part of an extensible markup language set. It provides much of the direction for landline telephone and cell phone programs, including voice command and voice prompt systems.

Extensible markup language, or XML, is a kind of coding convention for developing different kinds of applications. A similar markup language, HTML, is used to create web pages. Like HTML, the Voice XML language uses “browsers” to read the code that programmers write into it.

With Voice XML, a lot of the code that goes into a browser gets read as voice communications. When you listen to a personal voice assistant, an automated phone service, the words that they are saying may have been programmed into a VXML code module. VXML also helps service to interpret what you say, and to respond to it appropriately.

Voice XML code often goes through the PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone Network, to allow all landline and cell phone customers to use the applications built with it. Many of these applications handle phone customer service for a variety of companies. More and more companies in all industries are relying on these kinds of applications to interact with their customers.

Voice XML and the other XML languages, along with HTML, are part of a set of languages developed by the W3C, or World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C is an organization that helps to provide standards for all kinds of coding, to help the international community of developers to avoid problems arising from diversity in coding and programming styles. The W3C is active in promoting the use of XML type languages, including VXML. It does a lot of work behind the scenes to offer modern functionality to the IT field for browser based setups.

Although the Voice XML language is standardized, companies use a wide array of browsers to get access to a VXML platform. The W3C continues to come out with versions of Voice XML for use across these channels. Beyond what is currently offered, major telecom players recognize the great potential in voice command, and other VXML technologies, for even greater functionality in the future. Other independent nonprofit groups assist in tracking the growth of telephone automation and looking at ways to make it more effective and efficient with the newest technology on the market. Any company with additional needs for customer communications can look at a wide variety of VXML based services and products for setting up a more robust telecom presence for customers anywhere in the world.

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