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Say hello to voice biometrics

Advances in smartphone technology have already changed the way we live, allowing us to do so much more on our phones. However, mobile payments, mobile banking and the data stored on our phones present serious security risks. To tackle that security deficit, banks, businesses and governments need to rethink how they authenticate end users.

 A recent report  looked into  how the security industry could use voice biometrics to secure data and banking transactions. It found that voice biometrics, used correctly, can fill this gap by accurately identifying that the end user is genuinely who they claim to be. The report notes that the public is becoming accustomed to using voice for mobile search, device control and dictation, and predicts that the global number of registered voiceprints will increase from 10 million today to over 25 million in just three years – a fascinating prospect.

As I’ve highlighted before in these blogs, the key to strong authentication is to have a multi-layer approach, and voice biometrics can be one of those layers. It has the potential to be a vital tool to help banks, businesses and governments to automate processes and prevent fraudulent transactions, saving them time and money. If you think about it, in the mobile payments world, communication by voice is a natural way to enrol, authenticate and validate. If a person is connected then voice can be solicited – entirely natural in the mobile world. Voice biometrics is also a dynamic biometric, unlike a fingerprint or an iris scan, meaning it has the inherent capability to be configured to be rendered useless in the event that it is stolen.

A four-step, best practice approach should be adopted when introducing voice biometrics to customers. These are:

1)    Ensure security is balanced with customer usability

2)    Engage stakeholders early in the process and leverage existing resources

3)    Gain stakeholders’ trust by proving that the technology works, and be ready to adapt

4)    Look ahead and bear in mind future upgrades and new technology

Success in mobile payments is as much about ensuring that customers’ money or data is safe as it is about ensuring good customer experience. Voice biometrics strikes the right balance, and I expect 2012 to be the year that voice biometrics really takes off.


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Pat Carroll

Pat Carroll

Founder/Executive Chairman


Member since

17 Mar 2011



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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

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