Star Performers: NICE Unveils a Real-Time Authentication Solution

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In the world of speech technology, Israel-based NICE Systems is well known for its analytics, a field that is alive and well, according to a June 2014 report from MicroMarket Monitor. Researchers projected that the speech analytics market will grow at a compound annual rate of 23.9 percent, reaching $1.3 billion by 2019, up from $352.2 million in 2013. The analysts also named NICE as a global leader in the market. That bodes well for NICE, as the company increasingly puts its speech analytics to use in its voice biometrics offerings.

NICE's Actimize unit offers a software platform for financial institutions to evaluate risk, compliance, and financial crimes such as money laundering. In late 2013, the company rolled out Actimize Benchmark Monitoring, which monitors financial processes and analyzes communications using speech analytics.

The company followed up with the January launch of its voice biometrics–based Contact Center Fraud Prevention solution. The technology features NICE's Interaction Analytics solutions, which employ speech analytics to uncover patterns of talking and identify sentiment and other factors that might raise red flags.

"Well-trained security professionals who routinely listen to fraudulent calls can often spot a bad call just by listening to the first few seconds of it," says Ori Bach, director of solution management and interactions optimization at NICE. "The challenge is that security professionals take a long time to train and are only able to listen to a small fraction of the calls. Our software essentially automates and speeds up this process by identifying who the speaker is using voice biometrics, what he is saying using speech analytics, and where the call is coming from using telephony analytics."

NICE further raised its standing in the voice biometrics arena with the May release of NICE Real-Time Authentication. The solution uses the company's seamless passive enrollment technology, which automatically and securely enrolls customers while also creating voice prints, and requires no additional effort from customers, explained Jade Kahn, solution marketing manager for Fraud Prevention and Authentication Solutions at NICE, in an email.

The Real-Time Authentication solution uses voice-print matching to enroll callers and later matches them with their own stored voice print for speaker verification in real time. The system can assess whether there is a match between the incoming audio and the stored voice print, typically in less than 15 seconds.

The Real-Time Authentication technology boasts an impressive verification rate. Kahn said that within days of one deployment, the solution was able to authenticate thousands of customers with its passive enrollment technology, and provided a verification rate of greater than 90 percent.

In addition, using the Real-Time Authentication solution in contact centers can save companies millions of dollars, Kahn said. "Enterprises across financial, [telecommunication], and insurance sectors typically report authentication times of between thirty and forty-five seconds. The Real-Time Authentication solution enables service providers to skip the entire authentication process."

Industry insiders have praised the solution. "NICE's approach enables contact center operators to leverage the investment they have already made in call recording and provides a tested suite of capabilities that applies both speech analytics and voice biometrics to risk management and fraud reduction," Dan Miller, senior analyst at Opus Research, says. "Large banks and financial institutions [can] find a ready-made ROI resulting from fraud loss reduction in the contact center."

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