E-commerce is big and getting bigger. Customers are demanding choice and flexibility regarding receiving information and transacting based on that information. They want the ability to transact anytime, anywhere, using a variety of channels ­ in person, via PC or new devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and, yes, even phones. From these needs for choice, flexibility and ease of use came m-commerce or the ability to transact using wireless non-PC mobile devices such as PDAs, iPacs and even cell phones. In m- commerce, cell phones are used in much the same manner as a PDA, with the customer looking at the screen and pushing a button to indicate their desire to conduct a transaction. Now, enter a new world of v-commerce where the customer can use voice commands for transactions.

A recent trend has emerged where megaportals such as AOL and Yahoo!, as well as some forward-thinking enterprise portals, provide customers the capability to obtain information and act on it based on voice. It's not just people with visual impairment that are taking advantage of these capabilities. It seems as though harried travelers, commuters and other people wanting to utilize time spent waiting in airports, in taxis, or driving or riding public transportation to and from work are using their cell phones to get information and transact. Even people waiting for a meeting to start, with access to a landline, are availing themselves of voice services. What are some of the services these consumers use? They have their e- mail, or the latest weather, news or sports information read to them over the phone. They also get stock quotes and issue trades, or they get their bank balances and transfer money between accounts. The visual readout on a handheld device is great, but many people don't have the time or inclination to type onto a small screen to transact business. They would rather just say it, using voice commands.

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