The Outlook for Voice Biometrics

Having just completed an industry report on voice biometrics, I decided to take this opportunity to talk about some things that came out of my research. First of all, for those of you who collect numbers, I have projected the market for voice biometrics to be approximately $200 million by 2005.

A peek at the voice-biometrics marketplace for 2005

The report profiles more than 40 vendors, VARs, and ISVs, some of whom are newcomers to commercial voice biometrics. This number doubles the number of vendors and VARs profiled in my 1995 market analysis. Only those companies with a stated commitment to deploying systems using voice biometrics were included in the current report. Companies not included were those who have deployed a single test-product using speaker verification, such as Diebold (the manufacturer of ATM machines).

The market is vibrant and growing, particularly for companies with turnkey products. Those of you who have been following my columns may recall that I did a survey of the voice-biometrics marketplace. One of the findings of the survey is that speech recognition is already beginning to open doors for speaker verification. Approximately 38 percent of the non-vendors who responded to the survey reported they intend to use speaker verification with speech recognition. This finding is significant because virtually all the end-user respondents were recruited from biometrics-industry sources rather than voice-processing industry sources.

Even more interesting is that fewer respondents reported they are combining speaker verification with other biometrics. Another interesting finding from the survey was the high level of concern about the lack of industry standards for biometrics. Approximately one-third of the end-user respondents in the survey cited lack of standards as something they would like to see changed. Fortunately, they have already gotten their wish. In March, the disparate workgroups developing API-standards for biometrics agreed to consolidate into the BioAPI effort. This means that representatives from SVAPI, HA-API, and the other standards workgroups will be working together to create a unified API standard. If you have been reading my columns, you know I am happy about this development. 

Judith Markowitz is president of J. Markowitz Consultants, and can be reached at Northwestern University/Evanston Research Park, 1840 North Oak, Evanston, Ill. 60201, or by e-mail at jmarkowitz@pobox.com.

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