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News

Voice biometrics for IT access control

Fluency Voice Technology : 18 September, 2007  (Technical Article)
Enrollment, compliance and usability amongst the considerations needed before embarking on Biometric IT access control using voice patterns according to Fluency
Fluency Voice Technology has spoken out about the growing interest in Speaker Verification or Voice Biometrics and asks whether this is a winning use of intelligent speech recognition or the symptom of a world gone a bit paranoid.

Call centre managers and customer services directors won't have failed to notice the hype surrounding Voice Biometrics but is it just that, hype? Identity theft and unauthorized access to account information are on the rise with some serious ramifications to individuals and institutions. As regulatory pressure looms both here and in the US for increased security and two-factor authentication, call centre executives are scrambling to find out more about Voice Biometrics and whether the time is indeed right to embrace this technology in an attempt to be a step ahead of the next great leap in the fight against identity fraud.

Fluency's Chief Technology Officer, Dr Jacob Abboud takes a pragmatic approach to voice biometrics. In a forthcoming seminar timed to co-incide with the CC Expo event in Birmingham, Jacob and the Fluency team will attempt to demystify the subject of voice biometrics and delve deep into the implications, considerations and timing for call centres.

At the seminar, Jacob will warn that, while the technology is good and ready and shows immense potential, organisations must be careful to balance the various requirements of accuracy and reliability, usability and cost to ensure a successful deployment that must ultimately be based on a risk assessment of the 'value' of the information to be accessed or action to be taken. Solutions that require tedious enrollment sessions as customers 'train' the application to recognise their voices through a voice-print, may demotivate customers by presenting them with yet another hurdle they have to jump in order to use the system effectively and transparently.

At the same time, as long as 'false accepts' (where the system grants access to a person that should have been rejected) lurk practically at the 3-5% mark on voice biometrics, which they do with many systems today, the technology is not 100% safe to be used in isolation. Instead, it is best to combine what the caller 'is', i.e. biometrics with what the caller 'knows' using standard identification and verification (ID&V) customer screening techniques.

Jacob comments, "These are all serious considerations for customer service managers seeking to drive the next wave of fraud protection into their self-service applications. It is important to deploy a solution that is going to satisfy security concerns, customer usability and potentially regulatory compliance in a way that can seamlessly integrate to existing infrastructure and call centre technologies."
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