- Internet Access Locator Project 866.276.2353
One of the primary functions of State government is to provide information to citizens. In fact, recent research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project suggests that the primary purpose for citizen use of government web sites is information retrieval. A recent report by the Project found that "the most popular activities at government Web sites relate to the search for information" (The Rise of the E-Citizen: How People Use Government Agencies' Web Sites: April 3, 2002). However, states continue to struggle with access issues and ways to bridge the Digital Divide.
Research done by the Telecommunications and Information Administration indicates that telephone penetration into households nationally is at about 94 percent. Some recent advances in speech recognition technologies and their acceptance by major Internet players suggest that offering voice access to State web content via a normal everyday telephone might be a way of improving access to government information for Delaware citizens and taxpayers.
VoiceXML is a Web-based markup language for representing human-computer dialogs, just like HTML. But while HTML assumes a graphical web browser, with display, keyboard, and mouse, VoiceXML assumes a telephone or voice browser with audio output (computer-synthesized and/or recorded), and audio input (voice and/or keypad tones).
- Pilot Project Overview
The University of Delaware maintains an online atlas of community access points, where Delaware citizens without Internet access can locate a computer (e.g., libraries, community centers, etc.). This pilot project (conducted in partnership with Diamond Technologies) was focused on developing a system to "voice-enable" the atlas already being maintained by the University. This will dramatically improve access to this valuable information, and it also provides a proof of concept for future Voice XML applications by Delaware agencies. This project is now complete, and a production version of this new "Internet Access Locator System" can be accessed by calling (866) 276-2353.
This project not only enabled the State to test the concept of voice enabling locational information (i.e., the location of certain facilities across the State), it has allowed for the development of an infrastructure that can house multiple VoiceXML applications and to build up a concentration of knowledge on working with this technology. This will allow DTI to support other efforts to voice enable similar information. For example, the infrastructure now in place could support voice applications to provide information on the location of unemployment offices, state service centers or even polling places.