We suspected it may be happening, but Datamonitor confirms it in a new report: "'Traditional' touchtone interactive voice response (IVR) -- utilized by businesses over the past two decades for the purposes of phone-based routing and self-service functionality -- is firmly in its twilight years." However, it doesn't mean IVR is going away, but, rather, these platforms are increasingly being built with open, Web services-based standards that will ensure interoperability across all systems and channels within an organization.
Datamonitor said it expects revenues from proprietary touchtone IVR across the globe to decrease by more than 35% through 2009. In North America alone, spending on traditional IVR licenses will dip from $277 million to $179 million by 2009.
However, during this same time period, average spending on speech-enabled IVR will increase by more than 13%. A growing number of businesses are investing in emerging open-standard IVR platforms such as VoiceXML and Speech Application Language Tags (SALT), to better leverage Web infrastructure, improve functionality and potentially graduate to speech technology to further improve routing, transactions and self-service capabilities.
While Voice-XML and SALT are designed for voice user interface and speech applications, companies are still deploying these open-standards IVR platforms with touchtone rather than speech to leverage the benefits of open-standards and Web development capabilities.
The SALT 1.0 specification enables multimodal and telephony-enabled access to information, applications, and Web services from PCs, telephones, tablet PCs, and wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs). SALT extends existing mark-up languages such as HTML, XHTML, and XML. Multimodal access will enable users to interact with an application through input data using speech, a keyboard, keypad, mouse and/or stylus, and produce data as synthesized speech, audio, plain text, motion video, and/or graphics.