SpeechWorks Secures New Patents for Speaker Verification Software

BOSTON, MA - SpeechWorks International, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPWX) announced that the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded the company two patents for new capabilities related to its SpeechSecure speaker verification software. The Model Adaptation Patent (# 6,519,561) discloses a technique to dynamically update stored biometric models and the System and Method for Detecting a Recorded Voice Patent (# 6,480,825) provides methods for detecting recorded voice utterances. The Model Adaptation Patent enables SpeechWorks to provide customers with a method for accurately maintaining caller voiceprints by compensating for subtle changes due to aging. The second patent enhances internal and external security for password access by more reliably preventing the use of a recorded voice. Speaker verification technology relies on the unique biometric characteristics of a person's voice, and is therefore more secure than using personal identification numbers (PINs) or passwords alone for user authentication. Speaker verification software can verify if a caller is authorized to access desired information by comparing a caller's utterance with the reference voiceprint associated with the claimed account. This not only provides another layer of security against external intruders, but also prevents sharing of passwords between employees and others with internal access to secure systems. "I'm delighted about these patents. Greater use of speaker verification is bringing important real-world challenges to speaker authentication and other biometrics. One is the temptation for criminals to spoof voiceprints using recordings. The recording-detection patent reflects a commitment to protecting customers against such attacks. Similarly, the adaptation patent provides additional robustness with regard to challenges such as model aging." said Dr. Judith Markowitz, president and founder of J. Markowitz Consultants. Model Adaptation Patent (# 6,519,561) The Model Adaptation Patent defines a process to dynamically modify a caller's voiceprint model as a voice ages over a period of time. Without this capability, callers might note an increasing level of false rejections that may occur across a period of months. A false rejection is when a caller is prevented from accessing a system despite his or her access authority for the system. This self-tuning adaptation provides higher accuracy and an ability to improve caller satisfaction by compensating for natural voice changes while maintaining security. System and Method for Detecting a Recorded Voice Patent (# 6,480,825) One of the most frequently asked questions by organizations evaluating speaker verification software is whether an individual can access secure information using a recording of the enrolled voiceprint. This patent covers four techniques that can be used by speaker verification software to identify if an individual is using a recorded password to illegally gain access to secure information.
  • Match Too Close - Analysis determines that the verification utterance is too close a match to the voiceprint model given natural human variances in speech.
  • Expected Channel Variances - Ability to identify characteristics that would indicate a recording.
  • Training a Pattern Recognizer- The speaker verification pattern recognizer can be trained to discriminate between recorded and live speech.
  • Audio Watermark - Ability to embed a random audio pattern or timestamp within every verification to ensure uniqueness and pinpoint illicit recordings. "A prime concern for modern organizations is information access - providing it and protecting it," said Steve Chambers, chief marketing officer at SpeechWorks. "SpeechSecure speaker verification provides both security and convenience for customers, enabling them to easily protect their internal assets using their unique voiceprint. Our patented technology is a critical component of the expertise and innovation in speech solutions that SpeechWorks continuously strives to deliver to its customers."
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