Nuance Upgrades Voice Biometrics Solution
Nuance Communications has released a revamped voice biometrics platform that offers smart adaptation of voiceprints, a 50 percent improvement in accuracy, and capabilities that automatically add fraudsters to databases.
The new platform allows users to bypass the task of remembering PINs, passwords, and the answers to security questions, and provides secure authentication.
Greg Pal, vice president of marketing, strategy, and business development for Nuance's enterprise division, says his company sees all too often that people have to adapt what they do or how they are trying to complete a task to what technology dictates as opposed to the other way around.
"What we are trying to do is make these interactions much more natural and intelligent and reduce the level of effort required on behalf of the part of the end user," Pal says. "We see voice biometrics as a key enabler of those types of interactions. Now [with the new platform] we're seeing a dual benefit of both making the experience better and making it more secure."
According to Nuance, recent surveys have shown that 85 percent of people are dissatisfied with current authentication methods.
"This is a real pain point," says Brett Beranek, solutions marketing manager for Nuance's enterprise division. "When we looked at why people were frustrated, one of the key things that people hated was failing the authentication process, not being able to log into a system. When we ask people if they would prefer to use voice biometrics over PINs, passwords, and security questions, ninety percent of them said they would prefer using voice biometrics. This voice biometrics release can deal with this pain point very effectively."
The Nuance voice biometrics engine looks at approximately 150 characteristics in a person's voice, Beranek explains. Some of those are physical characteristics, such as the shape and size of a person's vocal tract, teeth, and mouth, which effects how a voice sounds as you speak. Other characteristics are behavioral and tied to learned behavior, such as accents and voice modulation. The combination of these characteristics allows Nuance biometrics to uniquely identify a voice very accurately and allows the platform to tell the difference between identical twins and professional fraudsters, for example.
A key feature of the platform is the ability to detect fraudsters and add them to a database automatically. Previously, organizations that deployed voice biometrics needed to manually add imposters to a database, requiring a fraud specialist to flag audio clips.
"With this new platform, we can automatically build that list," says Beranek. "For example, if an individual calls in to multiple accounts, that's behavior that's not normal for a customer, so that's one way how we can automatically detect somebody and automatically add them to the fraudster database. This is a huge improvement in the ability to proactively stop fraudsters without requiring human intervention."
Additionally, Nuance has added smart adaptation to the voice biometric platform. Beranek says that one of the things that have been inherent with any biometric system, whether it's fingerprint or voice biometrics, is that the enrollment process may not be ideal. For example, if someone is enrolling in a voice biometrics system in a noisy environment or if she's enrolling while sick and her voice sounds different than usual, that can have a detrimental effect on one's performance with a voice biometric system.
"The average individual [will] have a very high level of authentication, but the other person would have a higher failure rate," Beranek says. "Smart adaption will automatically pick up on this and as [the person]call[s] back into a system, it will use the audio during the verification process to update the voiceprint and enhance it, so progressively a person's authentication rates will improve as [he] uses the system."
Nuance is betting on the future of voice biometrics and sees it extending its reach beyond where it is today.
"With this new platform, one of the things we think is going to change in the market is much wider adoption of voice biometrics across different use cases," Beranek says. "We've had a lot of success in the IVR and the contact center world and we feel that with these improvements and new capabilities, we're going to see much greater adoption in the world of securing Web payments and securing high risk credit card transactions."
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