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Nuance Aquires PerSay

Nuance hopes to expand its offerings in the voice authentication market.
By Kathleen Savino - Posted Dec 22, 2010
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Without a lot of press or fanfare, Nuance Communications quietly last month acquired PerSay, a voice biometrics solutions company, for an undisclosed amount.

Rumors about a PerSay acquisition had been circulating throughout the company's native Israel for some weeks, but it was only recently revealed that Nuance was the buyer. 

Chuck Buffum, vice president of authentication solutions at Nuance, says his company hopes to expand its offerings with the acquisition, providing solutions to a variety of markets. The acquisition brings to Nuance text-independent authentication and authentication on iPhones. It also expands Nuance's customer base in the voice biometrics space to include some of the largest known customer-facing authentication applications fin the the world. Among PerSay's nearly 200 customers are Bell Canada, Vodafone Turkey, and a number of other large accounts in the financil services, government, and healthcare verticals.

As with most of Nuance's acquisitions, “It was the classic build-it-or-buy-it situation,” Buffum says. “We decided to buy it.”

In the acquisition, Buffum says Nuance gained products in the call center automated verification space, and can now automate calls using voiceprints to deliver voice-based identification and verification solutions. “We’re actively working to put the roadmap together of how to get the best out of both our technologies for our customers,” he asserts.

Buffum says some of the markets that have been or will likely use biometrics include financial services, government, healthcare, and a quickly growing mobile market. Companies that have high-risk or high-value transactions can use a voice biometrics solution, Buffum points out.

“This is basically the ability to have the technology listen in on the conversation from the consumer side, and, in real time, match audio from a consumer with his voiceprint and indicate to the agent, 'Yes, this person is who he claims to be,'” Buffum says.

“There is strong growth and interest [in biometrics], Buffum says. “It’s finally emerging. We think we’ve positioned Nuance to have all the right products and solutions around the world now and to maximize and leverage that growth."

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