Brett Beranek’s stories

Fraud is unrelenting. According to the ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations, it’s now a $4 trillion global problem. With data breaches on the rise, and usernames and passwords compromised, it is simple for fraudsters to get access to most any individual’s personal information, rendering traditional knowledge-based security methods obsolete. A recent Nuance survey found 1 in […]

Improving the customer experience is all about removing friction from every interaction. The easier it is to interact with your brand, the more likely your customers are to stay long-term. But what could be more frictionful (if that’s a word) than calling an IVR and having to answer a multitude of security questions? Not only […]

Zero-effort authentication in customer engagement means creating a balancing act between security and convenience. That’s why voice biometrics has become the golden goose for companies looking at authentication solutions providers. Competitive enterprises are discovering how voice biometrics ensures a more secure engagement than passwords provide within voice channels, and certainly a more convenient experience for […]

World Password Day is a great opportunity to evaluate the role of PINs and passwords today and consider their limitations when it comes to safeguarding financial and personal information in today’s digital society – never mind causing consumers serious headaches. Nuance recently commissioned a survey asking 5,000 citizens, aged 18+ across the US, UK, Germany, […]

A recent Finnish university study on voice biometrics has been making headlines – and most of those news stories have been inaccurately summarizing the results with concerns as in our title above, leading many to believe that cyber crooks can compromise even the best speech recognition systems. Before commenting on the article and the study, […]

Expanding self-service in the IVR is a key trend forward-thinking companies should consider in 2017.

I recently read with great interest a report published by Forrester Research on the topic of biometric authentication with the following subhead: “Adoption of User And Mobile-Friendly Biometrics Will Kill The Password.” It’s not commonplace to find such strong and direct language used in a business context, but in the authentication space it is not […]

Voice biometrics must adapt to customer’s changing voice

One of the anxieties that I’ve often heard expressed regarding voice biometrics is how does the technology account for the natural aging of our voice? Through our personal experience, we all know that the voice we had as a child is quite different from the voice we now have as an adult. Fortunately, as I’ll […]

To protect against fraud and voice manipulation, businesses are turning to voice biometrics to boost security

Recently, there has been a rising tide of concerns surrounding voice manipulation software. In sum, this technology allows a person to take someone’s speech recordings and create new utterances that the individual may or may not have said. This type of synthetic speech technology has been around for decades, but the entry of a new […]

Voice biometrics has gone mainstream due to recent increase in fraud and security needs, more mobile consumers, increased attention on other biometric authentication such as iris and fingerprint, and the growing expectations of consumers for an omni-channel experience.

The latest Opus Research census on voice biometrics finds that the industry is expected to have more than 1 billion enrollments by 2020! Leading global organizations are kicking PINs and passwords to the curb at an accelerated pace — enabling customers to use the simple power of their voice for speedy, secure authentication across all […]

With social engineering on the rise, companies can help prevent fraud by using voice biometrics.

For anyone who needs convincing that fraud in the contact center is a problem, I suggest watching this short two minute video that showcases how easy it is to socially engineer a customer care agent. In the video we see Kevin Roose, Fusion’s news editor, have Jessica Clark take over his mobile phone account with […]

With the increasing prevalence and use of voice biometrics, public discourse around the technology is now increasingly focused on uncovering possible vulnerabilities.

The University of Alabama (UA) recently released research claiming voice biometrics systems could be easily compromised. The attack described used off-the-shelf software to mimic the voice of an individual. Shortly thereafter, Opus Research published a sobering response, highlighting existing mitigation techniques to address this type of attack. With the increasing prevalence and use of voice […]

Voice biometrics is helping companies prevent fraudsters from using social engineering to hijack customer credentials.

In a recent report by Infinity Research, the findings revealed that the annual cost of fraud is going to reach $6.3 billion dollars in 2015 for the banking and financial sector, and that number is only expected to grow. That’s a staggering statistic that should have organizations thinking twice about measures to improve their security […]

Better together: Web chat and virtual assistants can deliver higher value for the business and customer.

Intelligent automation has become a mainstay for great customer service – allowing companies to more easily scale to meet increasing customer demands. More specifically, Forrester Research writes that organizations are increasingly turning to live chat and virtual agent tools as a winning combination for online service… And for good reason: the ability to scale immediate, […]

The recent voice biometrics conference, organized by Opus Research and held in bustling London, delivered on its promise of educating attendees on this increasingly prevalent technology. Speakers from Mastercard, USAA and Lloyds voiced their commitment to leverage voice biometrics to authenticate customers and validate transactions. However, from my vantage point, the most insightful presentation came […]


It’s not rocket science – financial customers want quick, secure, accurate and, above all, EASY access to their accounts. Intelligent virtual assistants can deliver on all of these fronts, letting customers handle multiple tasks such as reviewing account information, transferring funds, paying bills and applying for loans. These latest generation virtual assistants (like those deployed […]


From letting you know when the donuts have just come out of the oven so you can eat them while they’re still warm (Krispy Kreme),  to ordering pizza on your way home from work so it arrives hot when you get there (Domino’s Pizza), the smartphone is now the go-to device for everyone who wants to […]


Back in June I wrote a post about the launch of Dom, the mobile virtual assistant that transformed the pizza-ordering experience for Domino’s Pizza customers. The speech-enabled mobile virtual assistant at the time was launched as a beta, and now that his trial period has officially ended, Domino’s has promoted Dom to full-time employee status. […]


Wow. It’s hard to hold back the excitement I have today from attending Tangerine Bank’s “Future of Banking” press launch. Peter Aceto, President and CEO of Tangerine, shared how voice banking capabilities, including a conversational mobile virtual assistant and voice biometrics technology, are going to transform banking by driving new customers to the Tangerine brand […]


Reflecting on the recent Intelligent Assistant (IA) conference hosted by Opus Research in San Francisco, I am struck by how the event provided attendees with a glimpse into the future of consumer interactions. Mention the term virtual assistant and the average consumer will think of the speech-enabled assistant running on their smartphone. The Opus conference […]


When I read the news last night that over 1.2 billion passwords had been compromised from over 420,000 websites, at first I couldn’t believe it. Then I was in shock, as I slowly realized how massive this password breach really is. It makes the password breach that occurred at EBay earlier this year, when only 145 million passwords were compromised, […]

Today’s announcement that Domino’s Pizza is launching a conversational, speech-enabled, virtual assistant within their mobile app is a huge milestone in mobility. There are two key reasons why I think you should be excited. First and foremost, this is just awesome. The days of experiencing that pang of anxiety, that tends to occur while driving […]

Earlier this week, Gregg Stefancik, an engineer at Facebook stated “I hate biometrics.” Naturally, I had to respond to such a strong and provocative statement. I love biometrics. More specifically, I love voice biometrics. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that the reason why I love voice biometrics is that it has proven to […]

I’ve shared in previous blogs some of the great customer presentations that have become the hallmark signature of the Opus Voice Biometrics conferences. These include Tatra Bank’s presentation at the VBC event in London 2013  and Barclays Wealth & Investment Management’s presentation at VBC San Francisco 2013. The 2014 Opus Voice Biometrics Conference, held once again […]

I, along with many others, have written numerous times about the security weaknesses of passwords. However, when the MIT researcher that invented the computer passwords, Fernando Corbató, states that “Passwords are not a super high level of security, but are enough to protect against casual snooping” and that passwords were never design for use on the internet, you have […]

Last week the Pew Research Center published survey results regarding attitudes on future technologies within the Unites States (view study). The study uncovered that 59% of Americans are optimistic that technological advances over the next 50 years will make life in the future better. The survey also asked a series of questions to uncover perceptions […]


Last week, internet security once again bubbled to the forefront of the news in the form of the now infamous Heartbleed, the latest internet security issue that rendered passwords and other confidential information vulnerable to the prying eyes of the malicious hacker. Already, law enforcement has started cracking down on hackers that have leveraged this […]

What do US President Barack Obama and actor Kevin Bacon have in common? They both recently leveraged YouTube and other online video channels to reach the Millennial audience. On March 10th, Kevin Bacon released a YouTube video about “80’s Awareness” specifically targeting the Millennial generation that gained nearly 2 million views in 3 days. President […]

ZDnet recently reported on a prediction by Gartner that 30% of all companies will use biometrics on mobile devices by 2016 (see article here). With smartphone manufacturers embedding fingerprint sensors on their devices, and consumers increasingly adopting biometrics to access their device, it’s easy to extrapolate that enterprises will leverage this same technology to secure […]

As some of the world’s greatest technology leaders, brands, entrepreneurs, journalists and bloggers gather this week in Las Vegas for the 2014 edition of CES, Nuance shares its view on how we, as consumers, can interact with technology in a more human way. We’re showing off several great innovations, from voice biometrics in TVs to […]

Back in August I shared study results that highlighted how people enjoy the virtual assistant experience on their SmartPhone, especially amongst younger generations such as Gen Z and Millenials. With all of the hype around virtual assistants on smartphones, it can be easy to overlook that virtual assistants are transforming how we interact with organizations on […]

Last week, Opus Research conducted another stellar voice biometrics conference (VBC). This is the fourth VBC event that I’ve participated in, and I was very pleased that once again we had the opportunity to hear from several organizations that have benefited immensely from voice biometrics on a number of fronts. Without a doubt, the most […]

  I am excited to announce this morning that Tatra Banka has officially deployed Nuance’s FreeSpeech voice biometrics technology in the call center, allowing customers to verify their identity with the sound of their voice. Previously, Tatra Banka customers who dialed into the bank’s customer service department were prompted to scan a card with a […]

I’m thrilled this morning to send our congratulations to Barclays for receiving the “Best Application of Technology” Award at the 2013 European Call Centre Awards. Announced on October 2, 2013, these awards recognize organizations that are making the biggest impact on the contact centre and customer service industry. Barclays’ Wealth & Investment Management business was […]

Yesterday I noticed that my five year old daughter was speaking with someone on the second floor of my house. I found this strange, because the rest of the family was on the first floor in the dining room, and to my knowledge, we didn’t have any visitors. Was my daughter on the phone? I […]

As I mentioned in my previous post, Nuance just launched a new generation of voice biometric solutions last week. I’m thrilled to see the latest technology advancements rolling out to our existing customers as well as being introduced to new organizations that are looking for a secure yet easy approach to authentication. The announcement last week was not […]

If I had to choose a single message that reverberated loud and clear at the Voice Biometrics Conference in San Francisco, it would be that financial institutions have derived significant and tangible benefits from the use of voice biometrics. This message was keenly delivered by Matt Smallman from Barclays Wealth. In his keynote presentation, Matt […]

We’re excited to announce that Nina, the virtual assistant for customer service, has been expanded to the web, now adding text-based virtual assistant capabilities to enterprise web marketing, ecommerce and support applications. Nina has become smarter, with the ability to engage in customer service conversations and connect to existing enterprise back-office applications. And, Nuance has […]

Nuance has just been named a finalist in the seventh annual Stevie® Awards for Sales and Customer Service Technology Partner of the Year. Nina Mobile, the intelligent virtual assistant that is transforming the way enterprises can deliver mobile customer service, stole the spotlight as one of only a handful of finalists from more than 1100 […]

This morning, we shared some exciting news – Nina is going international! Nina Mobile, Nuance’s virtual assistant for mobile customer service, now speaks and understands 38 languages, making it the first such solution to support such a broad range of languages. Nina was launched in August 2012 in the US to much fanfare, and has […]

A few weeks ago, we shared a real world scenario of how Voice Biometrics is being used in the contact center to lower costs, reduce fraud and deliver a great customer experience.  Now let’s take a look at how Nuance’s Voice Biometric solution enables secure, yet convenient, authentication by users of a telecom provider’s mobile customer […]

Voice biometrics is a fast, convenient and highly accurate way to authenticate customers. Those benefits are why banks, telcos and other organizations are enrolling voiceprints at an average rate of more than 1.2 million per month, Opus Research estimates. But voice biometrics isn’t something that an organization can simply implement and assume success. Instead, four […]

The need for secure interactions via an authentication process has often led to complex alphanumeric passwords that are challenging to remember and enter. Within the IVR, personal identification numbers (PINs) pose users with a similar challenge. For example, callers to a contact center are often subjected to an interrogation process by agents to verify the […]