IBM has announced new software products and tools that are designed to make it easy for developers to build and manage voice portals as well as extend enterprise applications, such as mobile databases, to new devices. Adding to its portfolio, IBM unveiled the new WebSphere Voice Application Access product: middleware that simplifies building and managing voice portals and more easily extends Web-based portals to voice. Leveraging the scalability, personalization, and authentication features of IBM's WebSphere Portal, it is intended to enable mobile workers to more easily access information from multiple voice applications using a single telephone number. This new offering includes IBM's WebSphere Voice Server as well as ready-to-use email, personal information management (PIM) functions, and sample portlets. It also supports VoiceXML and Java--including development tools based on Eclipse, the open-source, vendor-neutral platform for writing software--and uses open-standard programming languages to create voice-enabled applications that will interoperate with a range of Web servers and databases. In keeping with IBM's strategy to provide solutions across multiple platforms, IBM will be working to make WebSphere Voice Application Access interoperable with offerings from third party VoiceXML vendors, such as Nuance and Cisco. In addition, IBM is also working with independent solutions vendors including V-Enable, Voxsurf and Viecore to extend their current solutions. WebSphere Voice Application Access is expected to be available Dec 20, 2002. All other offerings are available today. The beta version of WVAA is available for download on alphaWorks.