The SALT Forum, a group of companies with a shared goal of accelerating the use of speech technologies in multimodal and telephony systems, announced the revision of its membership structure and organising principles in response to strong interest from numerous existing and potential members. Currently representing over 70 technology leaders, the Forum is best known as the originator of the Speech Application Language Tags (SALT) 1.0 specification now under consideration within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Until now SALT Forum activities were guided primarily by a six-member board of directors representing the original founding companies, although many other members made significant contributions to development of the SALT 1.0 specification.
The revised organisational structure broadens industry representation by introducing a sponsor membership class with full voting rights on the Forum’s Board of Directors. In addition, contributor members now will be granted voting rights within working groups, formalising the established practices of the Forum. Adopter members will continue to be granted free access to materials developed by the SALT Forum.
“Industry forums are often accelerants for the development of new standards and specifications, but work best when they foster strong levels of participation among their membership base,” said Dan Miller, senior analyst and partner with Zelos Group.
“Voting rights will give contributing members a stronger voice in shaping and honing the SALT specification. This is a tangible effort by the SALT Forum’s founding members to respond to growing interest among developers of speech-enabled multimodal and telephony applications,” he added.
Forum activities will be funded by nominal membership fees paid by sponsors and contributors, which may be waived in specific circumstances to encourage participation by small companies, distinguished individuals and educational institutions.
These activities may include developing updated SALT specifications, holding seminars on SALT application development, creating code samples that illustrate SALT usage, and other projects that complement the standardization work of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Forum members contributed Version 1.0 of the SALT specification to the W3C Multimodal Interaction and Voice Browser Working Groups in August 2002.
“We have received an outpouring of developer interest since contributing the SALT specification to the W3C and expect many more companies will be joining the SALT Forum under our new membership structure,” said Peter Gavalakis, SALT Forum spokesperson. “Yet our most common inquiry concerns the availability of commercial products that support SALT today.”
To help address the demand for information about commercial products that support SALT, a two-part web cast sponsored by Microsoft will announce products from SALT Forum members. The first part, on April 2, 2003, will feature a SALT browser from Vocalocity and a Dreamweaver plug-in from Voice Web Solutions. The second part, on May 1, 2003, will feature an open source SALT browser from Carnegie Mellon University and development resources from enCue Communications.
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