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Video: What Is the Minimum Amount of Speech for Authentication?

Learn more about voice authentication at the next SpeechTEK conference.

Watch the complete panel discussion from SpeechTEK 2019, C103. Panel: Using Biometrics & AI to Establish Trust, in the SpeechTEK Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Ben Cunningham: As we determine what's the minimum amount of speech, we try to think of it realistically. So, we've found that in testing the minimum, and I don't think this will surprise anyone, it's three syllables. And, it's not a coincidence that that's how many syllables are in Alexa, and "Hey, Google," and who's the--I don't know what Microsoft's Wake Word is--but, it's essentially the same thing.

It's designing for one-breath utterances. That's where you kind of aim to.

But the reality is, your device, the background noise, everything influences it. You could have someone do it three times perfectly, and then they call from a convertible in a Bluetooth phone and they're like, "I don't know why it doesn't work." I think we also have to account for that that's working under optimal conditions, and we could all debate on equal rates, all day.

We see it differently. We see it as: How do I authenticate, or how do I find fraud in a lifecycle of a phone call? We can do it without any voice, so, again, going back to to that multimodal or multifactor, 80 percent of IVRs aren't voice-enabled.

So what do you do with that? You can't get 45 net seconds of speech out of someone not saying anything, so you have to look at other factors. We can use metadata analysis and actually, we could authenticate, at some level, 70 percent of people that call in based on if you have their phone number on file. Just because we can vet the Caller ID, essentially. We can say, "Hey, that Caller ID, it's not spoofed. There's no risk. So if you want to just let 'em check their balance, things like that, that goes ahead."

Other things factor in like enrollment rates: It varies on how often your callers call back in. So retailers, how many people call Home Depot more than once in their lifetime? Probably not too many. You have to think about, what does the enrollment process look like? And I'm going to go back to best practices for a second.

If you just roll out voice biometrics and just say, "Okay, everyone enroll now," there's a couple things wrong with that. One, you could, without any risk validation of who's enrolling, you don't know who's enrolling the first time. So you could be enrolling a fraudster. Secondly, if you have to spend 45 seconds, or have someone repeat the same phrase in an active situation, if your goal is to reduce average handle time, that's really gonna blow the metrics outta the water. Because now you have to take an additional two minutes to stop and explain what they're doing, how many times, what they have to repeat.

We don't really see that as optimal. So, our solution really is passive, like the other ones I've mentioned. We just stitch however much speech we get to together, and the more they talk, the more we have on file. But we're also looking at device printing, metadata analysis, and all those combined. So, even if they don't talk through the entire conversation, there are still elements there that we can say, "Yeah, this person is who they're claiming to be."

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