Your voice is the key to transforming the smart home

Voice biometrics integrated as part of a holistic conversational IoT experience will make it incredibly simple to access home security and control services, secure connected devices and data access, and personalize music, retail, content and more.
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Voice biometrics is the key to the smart home.

The Smart Home is officially becoming ‘smart.’ We’re entering an era where in-home hubs, systems and services can do more than just take a simple command – they can now engage in a thoughtful dialogue to accommodate our needs. So, what’s changed in just these last few years?

While less of a change and more an evolution, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being applied in new ways that advance both an assistant or a system’s ability to understand and meet your needs in a way that is incredibly personalized by knowing who you are – and learning your preferences over time. So, whether its knowing what playlist to queue up for Friday night pizza night, or that you’re typically home around 7 p.m. to turn the lights on, it’s all being coordinated by just the sound of your voice.

We spend an average of 37.1 hours at home each week – which is why the AI-enabled smart home is the next frontier for not only the mega-techs, but also communications service providers. Service providers own the living room and any other space where you watch TV or consume content. Voice is already quite pervasive across the TV and content market, with popular voice-enabled cable services and remotes that make finding and accessing shows and music easier than ever. That experience coupled with greater personalization and interoperability will transform the smart home experience. The key is creating a system that in fact knows you and your preferences in an environment that is often shared with other people – who also will want a personalized experience just like you.

This is where AI combined with voice biometrics is becoming a game changer for the smart home experience.

Everyone has a unique voiceprint that can be used as an incredibly intuitive and simple way for today’s intelligent systems to know exactly who’s speaking to them. From the moment your voiceprint is recognized, a personalized experience begins. In fact, over 150 million consumers already experience the simplicity of voice biometrics for authentication with banking systems and other applications, where your voice is literally your password. In the smart home, this simplicity of engagement means from the moment you say “hello,” your assistant is ready to, well, assist.

According to Opus Research, there will be more than a half billion voiceprints authenticating consumers across multiple applications and scenarios by 2020. Voice biometrics provides a powerful interface for users to a whole range of services and industries and requires minimal hardware investment. The study “Securing a Smart Home Network using Voice Biometric” by Oinam Joymala and Neha Khare proposes voice as the best choice for authentication above all other biometric options for its hands-free and frictionless experience.

Traditional use cases for voice biometrics include waking up an assistant for content and music on a smart home hub, or for quick access to a mobile app connected to an appliance. But your voiceprint can also be the key to your home. Imagine that you are walking to your front door, your hands full with grocery bags and struggling to get the keys out of your pocket. With a smart security system, you could just say, “my voice is my password” – and your home will authenticate you and unlock the door. From there, lights turn on, temperature adjusts to your preferred level of comfort, and the local news comes on to bring you up to speed on your day.

Authentication is also important for purchasing goods and services, where voice biometrics can ensure that you’re the only one placing a retail order, and quickly verify credit card information. This is where service providers have a great opportunity to make it easier than ever to manage and order subscription content and movies – where a simple voice command verified by a voiceprint can confirm that yes, you do want to pay $20 for that new action hero movie just released OnDemand.

Just get a text message that your kids are coming home – with the rest of the soccer team? “Home, order four large Barbecue pizzas from my favourite pizza joint.” Then just complete the order with “my voice is my password” when it’s time to pay.

Voice biometrics integrated as part of a holistic conversational IoT experience will make it incredibly simple to access home security and control services, secure connected devices and data access, and personalize music, retail, content and more. This level of personalization creates the next frontier of the Intelligent home, where people can simply interact every “thing.” Now that’s smart.

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About Dan Faulkner

Dan oversees Nuance’s Voice to Text solutions, and has been an important part of Nuance’s business development and strategy since joining the company over a decade ago. Dan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Manchester, and two Master’s degrees in Marketing and Speech & Language Processing.