Speech Technology Magazine


Biometrics to Drive Voice Recognition Market Growth

By Leonard Klie - Posted Feb 10, 2014
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Analyst firm TechNavio in early December forecasted the global automatic speech recognition market will grow at a compound annual rate of 16.28 percent through 2018.

According to the firm, one of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing demand for voice biometrics.

Use of speaker identification technology by law enforcement is one of the major drivers of the market, according to the report, which cited a growing need for processes to determine if the voice of a crime suspect matches the voice in forensic samples collected. "This technology enables crime departments to identify criminals with one of the most unique human characteristics, the voice, thereby offering a relatively high level of accuracy," the report said.

Banking is another emerging use of the technology, according to the report.

Also in December, analyst firm Frost & Sullivan noted that market dynamics in the biometrics industry are shifting, as these technologies find increasing use in consumer electronic products. Many computers and laptops already use biometrics, and several tier-one manufacturers—most notably Apple and Samsung—are now looking to introduce biometrics into devices, such as mobile phones. However, the issues with accuracy due to an inability to suppress ambient noise could pose a challenge to the growth of this technology in the mobile sector, it concluded.

According to Frost & Sullivan's "Innovations in Biometrics for Consumer Electronics" report, fingerprint recognition will remain the leading biometric technology used in consumer electronics, but voice and facial recognition technologies likewise should find higher usage depending on the security requirement of the application. Iris recognition and multimodal biometrics will rapidly grow in the next three years due to their accuracy, although the high cost and large amount of storage needed for iris recognition systems could hinder widespread uptake, the firm said.

Frost & Sullivan predicts, though, that for the technology to gain mass appeal, more established, cheaper biometric solutions will need to become available, given that high costs deter end users. Further, biometric features are still not considered essential on consumer electronics, and customers who do use them usually opt for less-expensive alternatives, such as passcodes and tokens.

A lack of standardization was also cited as a hindrance, reducing the ability of biometric software to function across consumer electronic devices, according to Frost & Sullivan. Establishing standards will be crucial to allow for the use of biometric technologies with minimal integration.

Despite these obstacles, the interest in biometrics for mobile devices is still high. "The capabilities of near field communication and cloud computing can be combined with biometrics to explore new market opportunities in mobile commerce applications," said Mousumi Dasgupta, technical insights research analyst at Frost & Sullivan, in a statement. "In fact, mobile network operators and cloud service providers are expected to enter the biometrics for consumer electronics market to fully utilize the security and convenience offered by biometrics."

TechNavio agrees. "Incorporating voice authentication in mobile devices is cost-effective and at the same time provides stronger security. Hence, the trend of integrating voice authentication in mobile banking is expected to grow stronger over the years. Indeed, phone-based banking institutions are partnering with voice authentication vendors, and the incorporation of voice metrics is becoming a key competitive advantage," the report concluded.

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