Live from London: Voice biometrics makes passwords a thing of the past

Opus Research returns to London this week to host the 2014 Voice Biometrics Conference. This gathering draws respected analysts, vendors, and customers to reflect on the current state of the voice biometrics industry and what’s expected to come. This year, Barclays and MasterCard will be sharing their experiences, perspective and initiatives with voice biometrics deployments in customer care solutions. Dan Miller, Opus Research founder and senior analyst, is going to kick off the conference by presenting the latest census of global deployments. On behalf of Nuance, we are pleased to be back at the conference to share our 2014 highlights.

Today the 2014 Opus Research Voice Biometrics Conference kicks off in London. This will be my second time in attendance at the VBC and I’m looking forward to what’s in store for the respected industry analysts, leading companies, and customers who are joining this year. Although I’m relatively new to the Nuance team, I’m passionate about voice biometrics and the implications it has on improving the customer experience for individuals and businesses around the world. Voice biometrics allows us to communicate with technology in the most natural way, through speech. The uptake in global deployments indicates that enterprises around the world have realized the impact and effectiveness of the solution and the benefits it delivers. Exactly a year ago, several companies gathered at the 2013 Opus VBC in London to discuss their experiences with implementing voice biometrics, as well as the current state of global adoption and where the technology was heading next. Included below are some of the themes that emerged last year:

  • Growth in adoption anticipated (the industry reported just over 35 million enrolled customers in 2013)
  • Expansion of technology to multi-channel/mobile authentication
  • Use case of voice biometrics will expand to combat fraud in the contact center
  • In 2-3 years voice biometrics will become the standard for authentication in financial institutions.

When I take a step back and look at these predictions from a year ago, it strikes me that most are actually a reality today.

The technology is quickly becoming a globally-accepted form of authentication as a solution to the “password problem” which has led to the continuous large-scale security breaches that have affected consumer-facing companies such as eBay, Target and Home Depot. Data from the Opus Research 2014 Census Report shows that the number of enrolled voiceprints nearly doubled from 2013, reaching 56 million voiceprints, clearly demonstrating that  the technology is growing at a rapid rate and expanding globally.. We’re seeing that the adoption of the technology is worldwide with companies like Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (UAE), Banco Santander Mexico, Tinkoff Credit Systems (Russia), Vodacom South Africa all implementing voice biometrics as a form of authentication for their customers.

Another prediction from last year that is a reality today is the uptake of voice biometrics in multi-channel and mobile use cases. Vodacom, a leading telco in South Africa recently announced the launch of voice biometrics for their customers calling into the call center and using their mobile app. Within one week of each other, ING Netherlands and Tangerine Bank in Canada both introduced voice biometrics in their mobile apps along with the Nuance Nina virtual assistant to deliver an end-to-end speech-enabled experience.

This year, I am eager to see how cross-channel and mobile authentication will continue to grow as consumer preference to use their smartphone to do tasks like manage their finances, order dinner and shop continues to be a trend.

From a fraud prevention standpoint, voice biometrics continues to be an effective method to keep consumers’ personal data safe. Today, top U.S. and EMEA financial institutions are eliminating fraud attacks in their call centers with the help of voice biometrics.

I’m interested to hear from organizations and analysts about the current state of the industry and how voice biometrics is on the fast track to becoming the de facto standard for authentication. My expectations are that presentations will be even more educational and inspiring this year and I am personally excited to learn how  the technology can change the world for the better. Stay tuned to hear from our team about lessons learned from this week and what we can expect down the road for the voice biometrics industry.

In the meantime, want to learn how Banco Santander Mexico challenged the status quo and became Mexico’s banking innovation leader? Download our new case study “Adiós to PINs, passwords, and security questions” and learn how millions of Santander customers use their voice to access their accounts.

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Adiós to PINs, passwords, and security questions

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  • Saul P

    Banks that deploy voice biometrics to automate the log-in process not only enhance customer satisfaction levels, but dramatically reduce their customer care costs through increased automation rates. As a result, a number of large banks worldwide have explored the possibility of adding voice biometrics to enhance their customer roster this year. But why is America banks not implementing this technology?

    • Oksana Walton

      Thanks for this great question! Voice biometrics
      authentication provides numerous benefits to enterprises, banks specifically.
      You’ve listed two main benefits we’ve seen in customer deployments – increases
      customer sat scores and tremendous cost savings though automation and reduced
      AHT. By region, countries like the UK, Turkey and Mexico are leading in
      terms of adoption of voice biometrics and number of enrolled customers.
      Although North America and US banks are slower to adopt, a number of them
      are on the cusp of deploying the solution. For example – U.S. Bank ran a pilot
      earlier this year to use voice biometrics for their mobile banking app.
      Vanguard and Tangerine Bank already have live voice biometrics systems in place
      for their customers to authenticate through the call center and mobile banking
      app. At the London VBC, Opus Research analyst Dan Miller noted that “ North
      America is the proverbial “sleeping giant” with high potential for
      rapid expansion”.

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Oksana Walton

About Oksana Walton

This was a contributed post by Oksana Walton. She earned an MBA from the University of California, Davis and Masters of Science Equivalent in Aerospace Engineering from Moscow Aviation Institute. Oksana is fluent in Russian and enjoys developing and honing her communication and leadership skills with Toastmasters International. To see more content like this, visit the Customer experience section of our blog.