Interactions Launches Voice Biometrics Offering

Speech and natural language technology vendor Interactions has added voice biometrics to its Intelligent Virtual Assistant application, allowing companies to offer seamless caller authentication and identification using the unique characteristics of each human voice. Interactions Voice Biometrics can also be added to new or existing customer care applications.

"Voice biometrics has been around for a while, but there was a huge uptick in it last year," says Mary McKenna, Interactions' director of product management. "It's a very simple implementation with our voice virtual assistant. Since this is a hosted solution there is no hardware to buy, storage management, maintenance, or tech people to bring in. It is very easy to turn on."

Though turning it on is simple, companies still need to determine the thresholds for false acceptances and false rejects, McKenna says, so it's not a matter of buy it today, install it today.

The technology is far superior to what has been available, according to McKenna. While voice enrollment (the process of registering the initial voiceprint upon which all subsequent utterances are measured) typically takes around 40 seconds, and the actual authorization takes about 20 seconds, Interactions Voice Biometrics cuts those figures down to single digits thanks in large part to the biometrics being built on the company's Curo Speech and Language Platform.

The solution doesn't require call center agent intervention for enrollment, eliminating professional services costs common with other voice biometric solutions, according to the company.

McKenna foresees wide implementation possibilities across financial services, insurance, telecommunications, government, healthcare, e-commerce, and other industries that have high call volumes requiring customer authorization.

Approximately 30 percent to 50 percent of all fraud incidents are initiated with a phone call, according to Interactions. The financial services industry alone reported more than 1 million incidents of fraud in the first half of 2016, equating to one incident every 15 seconds, a 53 percent increase compared to the same period last year. 

Financial services firms are moving strongly in a mobile-first direction, and Interactions' voice biometrics offers these institutions ways to offer industry-standard dual verification, but also, if desired, triple verification, McKenna says. Dual verification involves voice coupled with an account ID or PIN. Three-factor verification involves voice, account ID or PIN, and automated verification of the device from which one is calling.

Users can choose active or passive authentication. Active authentication matches a caller's unique voiceprint to a passphrase that is predetermined or generated at the time of the call. With passive authentication, the voiceprint is matched as the caller speaks naturally and no special phrase or password is required.

When voice biometrics is used for authentication, companies can reduce the average handle time for live agent authentication by 30 seconds or more per call, resulting in significant cost savings, the company also claims.

McKenna adds that gaining the benefits from the voice biometrics will rely on companies successfully enrolling high percentages of their customers in voice verification. Enrollment success will depend largely on marketing and how companies set up the enrollment process, McKenna says further, adding that in trials some companies have had enrollment rates as high as 90 percent with some voice biometrics solutions.

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