Opus Research Banks on Biometrics

When it comes to voice biometrics, context-awareness, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness are crucial today.

So says Dan Miller, senior analyst at Opus Research, in the report "Voice Biometrics Vendor Survey and IntelliView 2012."

"Multifactor, multichannel, and mobile have been the watchwords for new secure e-commerce applications and services," Miller states. "For voice biometrics solutions providers to succeed they have to demonstrate flexibility, context-awareness, and cost-effectiveness."

And so far, most vendors are meeting the challenge. "Today, in response to growing market demand, vendors have been able to standardize around known best practices and provide solutions that are sufficiently standardized to be cost-effective, yet flexible enough to meet unique needs [given a reasonable amount of customization via professional services]."

When applied to user authentication, contextual awareness is synonymous with risk-based, according to Miller, who points out that customer-facing applications providers can implement rules-based systems to determine which factors to apply in carrying on phone-based or other remote commerce.

Miller forecasts a new generation of implementers from the financial services and government sectors will demonstrate the greatest interest in voice biometrics. That trend will be accelerated by a broader acceptance of passive enrollments, in which the voice biometrics engine runs in the background during a natural conversation between the caller and the agent, Miller explains.

In addition to mobile and high-capacity contact center applications, Miller also expects growth to come from "novel applications of the technology."

That's a significant task considering that the industry is still so young.

"In 1999 there was no voice biometrics industry," Miller says. "Instead, a cadre of entrepreneurial technology providers joined with leading interactive voice response and speech processing platform providers to bring the best available solutions to their prospects and customers."

Among the vendors that have done so are Nuance Communications, Speech Technology Center/SpeechPro, Agnitio, Validsoft, Voice Trust, VoiceVault, Voice Biometrics Group, and Auraya, the report notes.

But despite the inherent challenges, the voice biometrics market has matured significantly in the past 12 years, Miller adds. "Market forces have taken over, resulting in the inevitable market concentration, coupled with increasingly mature solution sets."

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