April 25, 2002

Emakina to offer phone access to web applications

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Emakina chooses MagicPhone for Telephone Access to its Internet Applications.
Using the MagicPhone platform which supports the VoiceXML standard, Emakina’s Internet applications can now be accessed by telephone, in addition to the existing means of access offered by Emakina: Web, SMS and WAP/GPRS.

Emakina, a specialist e-business solutions company and MagicPhone, the European arm of Tellme Networks Inc., one of the foremost players in automated telephony solutions, have joined forces to promote the development of Internet applications that can be accessed by phone. The two companies say that by working together they will be enabling enterprises to set up revenue-generating Internet applications with multi-channel access. By use of the MagicPhone platform, access by landline or mobile telephone is added to Emakina’s existing forms of access via the Web, SMS and WAP/GPRS.

A paying Internet solution

“As things are, it has been difficult for a company to launch a promotion of any kind, with any target, when not all the means of access could be included: an Internet address, a landline number,… Marketing managers were rather stumped by having to choose between a less costly operation which only reached a small number through just one channel, and an operation which called for a lot of managing and a costly infrastructure but offered a much wider potential audience. Now Emakina has consolidated all these channels into one single platform for applications, making it affordable and feasible to organise promotions that combine the Web, SMS and voice applications”, explains Brice Le Blévennec, a partner at Emakina.

Combining the ease of use of the telephone and the power of the Internet by means of the new technical standard known as VoiceXML, companies will be able to get in touch with their customers easily, quickly and above all at lower cost. “ VoiceXML does away with the need for any extra capital expenditure beyond the existing IT infrastructure, and lets a firm stay in control of its database. Moreover, since data are updated in real time, the customer always gets the latest details.“ explains Luc Deleu, MagicPhone CEO.

This is an important step forward in the development of Internet applications in Belgium, and clearly demonstrates how the convergence of phone and Internet is increasingly becoming a reality. Today, most direct selling business comes from telephone or Internet solutions; but the one is costly and the other only reaches some 20% of the population in Europe. By getting together, MagicPhone and Emakina are offering enterprises an opportunity to target a much wider audience, while lowering costs considerably.

How the joint platform works

  • Following Emakina’s instructions, the MagicPhone platform analyses the caller’s choices (entered on the phone keypad);
  • The information is then sent to Emakina’s Internet platform, where the VoiceXML applications are held;
  • These applications – alongside the Web and SMS ones – interact with the same centralised databases;
  • The information extracted from the databases (by ASP, JSP, PHP or ColdFusion query) are put into VoiceXML format by Emakina ;
  • These VoiceXML files and the associated sounds are then transmitted to MagicPhone’s platform by HTTP over the Internet;
  • MagicPhone’s platform then plays the sound returned so that the caller hears it.

The applications can be surfed at present by DTMF (touch-tone phone system); but the next stage of development is navigation by voice recognition.

VoiceXML

VoiceXML (Voice eXtensible Markup Language) was created in 1999 by AT&T, IBM, Lucent Technologies and Motorola to enable telephones and the Internet to converge. It is a standardised programming language recognised by the W3C consortium, and allows the development of voice applications enabling access by telephone to Web applications, so combining the power of the Internet with that of the telephone. Unlike HTML, which is interpreted by a Web browser to format the content, VoiceXML is interpreted by a “voice browser”: in this instance, the voice browser function is provided by MagicPhone’s VoiceXML. With the adoption of VoiceXML as a standard, the telephone will become an open-standards platform, making it possible to set up entirely new applications and services.

About MagicPhone

MagicPhone, a Tellme Company, devises, develops and hosts interactive voice solutions to help enterprises turn the telephone into a strategic instrument, reducing costs and complexity while enhancing customer satisfaction. MagicPhone is the European arm of Tellme Networks Inc. (Mountain View, CA). Tellme Networks Inc. is a pioneer in voice recognition applications based on VoiceXML, and has the world’s most widely deployed platform; it is a member of the W3C as one of the firms drawing up the specification of the VoiceXML language. AT&T, Amazon.com, Merrill Lynch and E*Trade are among Tellme’s customers.

About Emakina

The e-business agency Emakina covers Web agency, Web integrator and e-business consultancy services. Its integrated service range has already convinced leading firms such as D’Ieteren (Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Porsche), Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Cora, Fortis, Manpower, Glaverbel, and TotalFinaElf.

Press Contact:
MagicPhone – A Tellme Company: Rozenn Péran, Communications Manager
Phone: 02/334 23 26 – Fax: 02/334 23 00
Corporate Wise: Cathy Schoels and Stéphanie Liévin
Phone: 02/775 80 92 – Fax: 02/770 39 74

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