An interactive voice response (IVR) front end to a data retrieval system. This does not differ in core technology from traditional IVR; rather, the difference is in the application presented. Where old-style IVR was mostly a routing application (press 1 for sales, 2 for service, etc.), voice portals are being positioned mainly by carriers as wide-scale applications, offering things like specialized audio "infotainment" services, real-time news and stock quotes.
Unlike their forebears which used Touch-tone input, voice portals are often front-ended by speech recognition systems that are designed to help the user obtain the desired information faster. VoiceXML provides a simple interface between an IVR system and other XML applications, such as websites, allowing, for example, the spoken retrieval of email messages. See IVR