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									                                                                                                                                              The Latest & Greatest
     IN BETA                                                          Some products were in
                                                                      pre-alpha release, while
                                                                      others were in beta, but all
                                                                      received a great deal of
                        By Moshe Yudkowsky                            attention from show attendees.


      ive companies joined the “In Beta” session to         a central directory of phone numbers and a central

F     demonstrate technology that wasn’t quite ready
      for full-production release but was certainly
interesting, enlightening, and useful. These products
                                                            “reach” number. The system compensates employ-
                                                            ees for inbound and outbound business calls; per-
                                                            sonal calls remain private. The system also
ran the gamut, from in-the-weeds technology to busi-        integrates with customer relationship management
ness management. Some products were in pre-alpha            software applications, such as SugarCRM.
release, while others were in beta, but all received a
great deal of attention from show attendees.                   RebelVox showed its pre-alpha re-engineering
                                                            of the basic telephone call. Instead of dialing a
   Deutsche Telekom Laboratories showed its pre-            number and then waiting for the other person to
beta tool, Multimodal Application Builder. If you’ve        either pick up or for the call to go to voicemail, the
ever tried to build a multimodal application, you           user simply selects the other person’s telephone
know just how difficult it can be to juggle all of the      number from his smartphone’s screen and begins
moving parts.                                               to speak. The recipient can break in and listen to
   The goal of this tool is to generate 80 percent of a     the call live; or, if he chooses not to take the call,
multimodal application’s code automatically, and to         the call is saved as a recording.
create output that is compatible with the standards            RebelVox intends to integrate the underlying
work of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Multi-              platform into other products and to offer a full
modal Working Group. The tool is built on top of the        multimodal application programming interface.
industry-standard Eclipse development editor and            Some interesting unanswered questions about this
accepts drag-and-drop graphics and/or XML descrip-          platform still linger: For example, if someone calls
tions as input; the output is CCXML, SCXML, speech          me, and I break into the call toward the end, then
recognition grammars, HTML and/or Flash for                 is it possible to hear what was already said so the
graphical interactions, etc. Developers then add the        person who calls me doesn’t have to repeat him-
back-end integration that lets the application manip-       self? Because this platform transforms how we
ulate the data.                                             think about phone calls, I think it’s safe to say we
                                                            will see some interesting emergent
								
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