VoiceXML Forum to Create Biometrics Standards

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The VoiceXML Forum, through its Biometrics Committee, drafted the first set of standards for voice-based biometrics in May and recently sent copies to its members for approval.

The standards would support interoperability and data interchange among biometrics systems and applications, regardless of whether they are in an open or closed system. Once in place, the standards would allow  institutions that rely on voice biometrics to verify the identity of speakers to be able to perform biometric recognition using each other’s data.

The standards would help organizations using biometrics make faster and smoother transitions when introducing a new biometrics system. Judith Markowitz, president of J. Markowitz Consultants, a biometrics and speech consulting company, and co-chair of the VoiceXML Forum’s Biometrics Committee, says the standards will help organizations avoid possible problems stemming from their voice biometrics systems.

“The standards will improve interoperability,” Markowitz says. “Being able to know that the biometrics will work with an organization’s environment, and not having to make sure, for example, that they will have to spend six months making sure it works with their Oracle database.”

In addition, according to the VoiceXML Forum’s Web site, some of the Biometrics Committee’s goals for the project include identifying use cases for voice-only and multimodal applications and developing best practices for user interface design, application architecture, and the use of speech biometrics in the context of VoiceXML.

Customers of companies using biometrics would also benefit from the changes. For example, even if two financial service organizations used different biometrics vendors, a customer would still be able to complete a transaction at either organization, regardless of differing technologies.

Developing standards, says Markowitz, would help solidify biometrics representation within various speech technology forums. “VoiceXML has been more active with biometrics in terms of making actual specifications than they have for many years,” she states.

As a result, the VoiceXML Forum has included biometrics more actively in its mission. For example, says Markowitz, the biometrics committee was invited to do a formal presentation about speaker recognition to the voice browser working group that drafted the VoiceXML 2.1 last month.

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