FSTC and TouchPoint Consulting Launch Voice Authentication Study
BOSTON, MA and NEW YORK - TouchPoint Consulting and FSTC have launched independent research into consumer views on voice authentication, the technology that utilizes unique characteristics of a caller's voice to verify their identity. Financial institutions, including The Dreyfus Corporation, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Visa, and Wells Fargo, are among the study's primary sponsors. These institutions see potential benefits in security and fraud protection, call center cost savings, and customer convenience. "This study will provide the answers to key questions we have about how our customers might react to voice authentication-based applications in the future", comments Shari Countess, a senior telecom analyst at Dreyfus. Voice authentication has become widely used for internal applications, such as resetting employee passwords. However, before introducing this technology to customers, a number of fundamental questions about consumer understanding, expectations and concerns need to be answered. The answers to these questions will help sponsors introduce this technology in a way that it is natural and compelling for their consumers. "Understanding consumer attitudes towards this technology is key to business managers as they study the ROI and design the user interface", adds Thomas LaCentra, vice president and director of customer service at Wells Fargo Card Services. FSTC and TouchPoint Consulting have partnered to design and develop the study for the sponsor group. This study, the first of its type, will combine qualitative and quantitative research, as well as hands-on consumer testing of prototype applications. "One of the strengths of this project is the critical role that consumer perceptions and preferences will play in the acceptance and usage of this technology," says Dr. Jack Carroll, the director of the project, who is an expert in psycholinguistics and a TouchPoint principal. "What's interesting is that we are revisiting many of the issues involving security and convenience that we addressed several years ago with online (Internet) banking. The difficult issues of that period were resolved into the standard practices that go unnoticed today." "This study is a great example of the type of initiatives FSTC strives to bring forward to our members: an emerging technology study with key questions that need answering through hands-on investigation," said Zachary Tumin, executive director of FSTC. "We are excited about our collaboration with TouchPoint Consulting, and delivering the results of this study to our sponsoring institutions." The voice authentication study will be completed and presented to sponsors this spring. TouchPoint expects to build upon the findings from this study with follow-on syndicated as well as individual engagements including concept testing and business case development, design, implementation and rollout.