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HSTP: Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol

IBM’s research scientists in India have developed a technology that will offer users the ability to talk to the Web and create ‘voice’ sites using mobile phones according to a news article in the Economic Times today.

Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol (HSTP), a protocol designed to seamlessly connect telephony voice applications, will enable users to browse across voice applications by navigating the Hyperspeech (the voice hyperlink) content in a voice application.

“People will talk to the Web and the Web will respond. The research technology is analogous to the Internet. Unlike personal computers it will work on mobile phones where people can simply create their voice sites,” IBM India Research Laboratory Associate Director Manish Gupta told the Economic Times.

In a 2007 paper describing the technology (PDF), IBM scientists explain the concepts of Hyperspeech using this scenario:

Jonathan is a busy salesman who travels frequently. His work typically requires him to stay in a place for a few days. Once he is in a new place, he has to go around looking for grocery stores in his locality for his daily needs. He prefers taking phone numbers of the identified stores and places orders on the phone subsequently. Home delivery services deliver the goods to his home. However, often the home delivery boys don’t accept credit cards and even if some do, Jonathan tries paying by cash since he doesn’t want to share his credit card information with untrusted home delivery agents. This often causes problems since he often runs out of cash.

During his travel, he visits a city and finds out that there is a yellow pages service in the city that he can call up to receive phone numbers of several businesses. He promptly calls up the service and uses the telephony voice application to browse through the grocery stores in the vicinity of his hotel.

On Jonathan’s prompt, the call gets transferred to a grocery store and goes to the voice application of the store. Jonathan easily specifies the items he needs to buy from the cataloger. The order is placed and a delivery guarantee is made within half an hour

To his surprise, the grocery store’s voice application also accepts credit cards securely over phone. Jonathan selects the option and his call gets transferred to yet another voice application of a secure payment gateway. The secure payment gateway already knows about the amount of money the grocery store wants to charge to Jonathan, and securely authorizes the payment by taking in Jonathan’s credit card details and transacting with the credit card company’s authorization system.

The delivery boy comes within half-hour and delivers the goods to Jonathan.

Given India’s position as the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, this new protocol may be particularly useful in India, where mobile phone sales are booming despite our current economic crisis.

If you’re interested in reading the entire paper, HSTP : Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol, you can download it here (PDF).

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