What is Voice Biometrics
Voice biometric technology identifies the speaker utilising their unique vocal characteristics such as pitch, tone and rhythm of speech. This is similar to other well-known biometric technologies such as fingerprint and retina scanning – and equally secure – however, it is the only practical means of authenticating a speaker over a remote channel e.g. a phone or PC.
Voice Biometrics is different from speech recognition – it identifies and verifies an individual’s identity – it is not about interpretation of the speaker’s words. It, therefore, measures both physical and behavioural characteristics of a person’s voice.
There are – broadly – two types of authentication:
- Active Caller Authentication which supports automation and self-service
- Passive Caller Authentication which is agent assisted
Active authentication requires the customer or caller to be actively involved in the process i.e. they need to enroll their voice into a voice bank (once off) which will serve as a template against which all future authentications will be mapped. In active authentication, the customer will be required to repeat a specific phrase and is, therefore, text dependent.
Passive authentication, on the other hand, happens passively using biometric technology that captures the speaker’s voice as they speak naturally (text independent) and identifies it against past recordings. The customer is unaware that their voice is being matched or authenticated.
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Advantages of Using Voice Biometrics
The business benefits are significant across active or passive authentication solutions:
- The customer needn’t remember complicated passwords or answer a whole series of ‘secret’ questions
- The customer doesn’t have to disclose personal information to be authenticated
- The risk of identity theft is vastly reduced and offers an enhanced level of security for the customer and the company they are engaging with
- The customer can discuss the problem with the agent immediately, saving time and making the call engagement more efficient and beneficial
- Mundane transactions can be automated and access provided to customers 24/7 wherever they are in the world.
- The cost of implementation is lower than other biometric solutions as no special devices are required e.g. Fingerprint readers or retina scanners.
- Any mobile or landline device can be used to enroll or authenticate identity, the solution can be used in remote areas.
- Verification is fast.
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3rd Factor Authentication
Authentication has evolved over time from 1st Factor to what is known as 3rd factor.
Voice Biometrics is a 3rd factor authentication method in that it is related to something you are rather than something you have (1st factor authentication e.g. an identity book, passport etc.) or something you know (2nd factor authentication e.g. a password, pin or mother’s maiden name).
3rd Factor Authentication Types
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Voice Biometrics Applications
Voice Biometrics around the world, solutions are applied in the following industries:
- Financial Services
- Call Centres/Customer Care environments
- Credit Bureaux
- Utilities e.g. Energy companies
- Government e.g. Social Welfare, Pension, Grant schemes
- Law enforcement e.g. Police forces
- Insurance and Assurance
- Medical Aid Schemes
- Online Transactions – eCommerce
- Labour Broking/Flexible Staffing Providers/Dispersed workforces