If you haven't been in the "IVR world" prior to Microsoft acquiring Tellme, you may not be with all that familiar with what Tellme does..
You may have heard of Google's efforts at a telephony based search solution, GOOG-411. Tellme has been offering this type of service for years and it is way better than GOOG-411.... Compare for yourself, call Tellme's 1-800-555-TELL.
Tellme also offers other free to use mobile speech applications. So what does Tellme do to pay the bills?
Essentially they host IVR applications for customers. Much like a web hosting company host web sites, but instead of a URL you get a telephone number. They do more but this is the jist of it..
What's in it for developers?
Tellme offers a great web based tool which you can code and even host your application for you (for free, up to 4 simultaneous calls). It's a great way to quickly prototype an application, using some of Tellme's already written code, and show it off. The downfall I, at least for me, is that it's only for VoiceXML.... Don't get me wrong VoiceXML was great in its day. VoiceXML (& SALT) solved a problem that plagued the IVR industry for years...proprietary languages. Every IVR platform had its own language completely different than, every other IVR... Big problem when you wanted to switch platforms and/or find staff to fix/add to your existing IVR application.
Ok so that makes sense, but believe it or not it's still hard to find an experienced VoiceXML developer...
What's the alternative to VoiceXML?
Develop your IVR application as you would any other application such as a Desktop or Web application. Using an Object Oriented Programming language, such as .NET (or dare I say Java). If all the IVR platforms have a .NET API and they don't have to be the same API, an experienced .NET developer should be able to pick it up quickly. Plus the fact that all Computer Science graduates knows what Object Oriented Programming is. (or at least should, if you didn't learn about OOP as a Computer Science graduate request an immediate refund on your tuition!)
Enough ranting on VoiceXML. If you are developing a VoiceXML application and don't want to invest in an infrastructure to actually share & test your applications Tellme has the answer. Tellme Studio.
It is pretty simple web based interface with loads of pre written code you can use. It even gives you a telephone number with a PIN so that you can give that telephone number to others to play with your application, for free!!!
You can sign up for a Tellme Studio account here: https://studio.tellme.com/