IBM Integrates Speaker Verification into WebSphere Middleware

ARMONK, N.Y. -- This week, IBM announced plans to include voice biometrics security into its WebSphere middleware product, marking the first time speaker verification has been so closely linked to middleware, according to one analyst.

WebSphere allows companies to increase security by capturing callers’ utterances and comparing them to stored voiceprints. The program then calculates a voice match score, while a policy manager uses the score to determine the quality of the match. The policy manager then informs the application to proceed or not.

While financial institutions comprise WebSphere’s greatest customer base, the analyst, Derek Top of Opus Research, claims the application could also have applicability in government, e-commerce, and healthcare, the analyst, Derek Top of Opus Research, says.

 With dozens of patents and decades of experience in both voice biometrics and voice processing, the company’s moves in this area should begin paying off soon. In a July 2007 study published by ContactBabel, analysts found that companies with call centers that receive 10 million calls a year can save more than $6 million by using voice biometrics for identity verification.

The application works with the company’s other products, and IBM encourages customers to build these around the WebSphere application. "WebSphere is closely linked with a number of tools that IBM provides to its integration and go-to-market partners. It also has close links to other IBM product lines, like Rational, Tivoli ,and Lotus for application development and monitoring, business process and policy management, and collaboration, respectively," says Dan Miller, the senior analyst at Opus Research.

Because WebSphere is language-, grammar-, and text-independent, the application also stands out because it accelerates the call flow process. By stating various requests, such as, I want to close my account" customers avoid cumbersome IVR structures while companies increase call completion rates. Top says the application’s aim of improving customer satisfaction represents a crucial step in IBM’s varying customer base. "It is an opportunity-driven company and this initiative signals stepped-up interest among its community of enterprise customers."

The application is currently in pilot testing at a large German Bank. IBM partnered with VoiceTrust, a German firm specializing in voice-based security measures, which added IBM’s speaker verification pack to its offerings.

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