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VBC-SF 2014 Agenda Update: Sharing Experience and Preparing for the Future

2014 April 18
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300x250VBC_SF__14-15_2014The agenda for Voice Biometrics Conference – San Francisco 2014 (#VBCSF2014) has rounded out nicely. We’ll start with a rigorous assessment of the state of the market and culminate, a day and a half later, with an expert panel to discuss opportunity areas and technologies to support multi-factor authentication for a broad set of vertical markets and use cases. In between attendees will be treated to an overview of the mounting threat that phone-based fraud poses to banks, healthcare organizations, government agencies, telecommunications companies and retailers (courtesy of PinDrop Security). It will be followed by a descriptions of the mechanics and financial impact of security breeches at major retailers and card issuers “ripped from the headlines” of the business and general news media (presented by Verint).

A panel of experts will then describe the latest developments in efforts to use voice and other factors to secure mobile devices and apps. Strong, simple authentication is becoming increasingly important as smartphones emerge as the highly personal tools for communications, navigation, search, entertainment and commerce. A number of alternatives – including fingerprint, face, iris, even ear prints – have emerged as biometric candidates for securing and personalizing those smartphones, as well as tablet, phablets and laptops.

Day One culminates with a keynote case study from Beth Gallagher, VP of Payment Innovation at U.S. Bank. Beth will walk through the actual nsteps that a major commercial bank took to identify and specify the requirements for a voice biometric-based platform; processes involved in selecting an approach and a vendor; preparation for roll-out, including proof-of-concept, trials, training and managing expectations. She will also share insights gained from internal tests and evaluations. Her presentation will be followed by a reception and networking opportunity sponsored by Pindrop Security.

Day Two begins with a keynote case study from José Ignacio Zorilla, Executive director of Channels at Banco Santander-Mexico. His bank has more than 3 million monthly callers and has started to use voiceprints as a more convenient way for them to authenticate. His talk will be followed by a micro view of the impact of phone-based fraud on a commercial bank (anonymous, of course, but based on real world events and statistics.)

The rest of the day is dedicated to understanding alternative futures for voice biometrics and multifactor authentication, encompassing cloud-based deployments and the pay-as-you-go business model; operational considerations, such as enrollment procedures, standards development, phone line quality, and more; using voice in passive authentication scenarios, password replacement; bimodal approaches to implementation; and weaving simple authentication into e-commerce over a multiplicity of devices for a variety of verticals.

The closing panel will feature executives from Nuance Communications, VoiceVault, VoiceTrust and NICE Systems. I’ll be there to ask questions and provide my own insights, but we’ve always encouraged attendees to join discussions and BYOQ, “bring your own questions.” Voice biometrics-based solution sets and technologies are maturing rapidly. If you are involved with security, mobility, technology planning or user experience development in the industries mentioned above, you can play a very meaningful role in shaping its future while satisfying your own curiosity.

Live Webcast: “Voice Biometrics: The Benefits of a Unified Approach to Mobile Authentication”

2014 April 7

As smartphones now play key roles in e-commerce and personal communications for hundreds of millions of mobile users, our advice is, “authenticate early and often.” As using the prevailing PIN and password-based systems is easier said than done, voiceprints provide the easy-to-implement and easy-to-use alternative that supports a “unified” approach to mobile authentication.

Join Dan Miller, senior analyst and founder of Opus Research, and Nik Stanbridge, vice president of product marketing at VoiceVault, to engage in a lively discussion of:

  • How mobility is driving the need for stronger authentication to build trusted links between and among individuals and enterprises

  • What voice biometrics technologies are; and how they differ from other factors for promoting security and personalization

  • How a unified approach to design and deployment saves time, money and effort for application developers and solution providers

  • How to get started to gain experience with a unified voice biometric product

Executives at firms with an interest in providing the best, most personalized mobile experience for customers and employees should take part in this webcast. So should mobile application developers who recognize that strong, simple authentication is key to supporting secure payments and highly personalized services.

Webcast – Voice Biometrics: The Benefits of a Unified Approach to Mobile Authentication

April 29, 2014 — 1:00 p.m. EST / 10:00 a.m. PST
Sign up below to register the webcast

Nuance Debuts Voiceprint Feature for Dragon Mobile Assistant

2014 April 3

DMA_52_appScreen_06bIn the pursuit of creating a unique, personalized experience for users of the Dragon Mobile Assistant app, Nuance Communications has unveiled voice biometrics technology to recognize and respond only to a specific person. The authentication technology allows users secure access to mobile devices with the ability to awaken the device, navigate and give commands.

Designed as an intelligent assistant, the Dragon Mobile Assistant enables people to speak to their smartphone to make calls, send emails or text messages, set reminders, manage their calendar, search the Web, and update social media. Enabled by the Nuance Connected Cloud, the Dragon Mobile Assistant includes a suite of features that keep users “organized, productive and connected.”

“When designing Dragon Mobile Assistant, we decided that there were a few items we could not live without,” said Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile in the announcement.  “Among those at the top of this list are personalization and security.  With that in mind, we created the latest version of Dragon Mobile Assistant featuring Nuance Voice Print – putting intelligence and simplicity at the forefront of the user experience.”

This past January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nuance showed off its Dragon TV platform with voice-biometrics based authentication to recognize individual speakers, see personalized channel menus, appropriate movies and content suggestions, or other user-specific preferences.

In addition to the voiceprint feature, the updated Dragon Mobile Assistant now supports landscape mode and a faster in-app browser experience rendering content more efficiently.

Check out Google Play to see more of the Nuance app.

New Zealand’s Tax and Social Welfare Authority Boasts One Million Voice ID Enrollees

2014 March 28
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Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.14.23 PMWhen it comes to using voice-based authentication as alternatives to PINs and passwords, the world could learn a lot form New Zealand. In scope, duration and staying power, the Kiwi’s plans for eGovernment and ID proofing put the rest of the world to shame. This point was made manifest when Revenue Minister Todd McClay proclaimed on the government Web site that the department’s Voice ID service had hit and exceeded a 1 million enrollee milestone, going so far as to say that 60-70% of callers to IRD have registered their voiceprints which is “saving taxpayers a staggering 8,500 hours of phone time each year” as they turn to the phone channel to check their account balance, receive child support information, track tax refunds, retrieve IRD numbers, activate online services or reset passwords.

The Inland Revenue Department (Te Tari Taake in native Maori) launched the program in July 2012 and targeted 800,000 enrollees in its first year of operation. For the record, the country has a population of roughly 4.5 million with over 6 million accounts with its taxation office. While there are legitimate reasons for such a ratio is that businesses need to establish their own ID number with the IRD. That said, the agency initially became interested in voice biometrics as a way to reduce fraud.

One case, in particular, provided incentive for IRD to step up to the voice biometric plate. The department became aware of individual who said he had used names and dates of birth to obtain information on 25 people, which he then to create 103 companies and filed tax returns for all of them, each eligible for a refund. According to a report in the Government Technology Review, the fraud was picked up after $53,000 had been claimed (though not paid out). In court, the the fraudster admitted that he had designed the scheme to defraud the government of $2.5 million a year by making multiple claims that fell underneath the government’s threshold.

IRD definitely has first mover status in terms of e-government applications. On the one hand, it has proven how simple and effective the use of voice biometrics can be. It also demonstrates the depth of commitment and thought that must go into taking a holistic approach to both ID and access management (IAM). This point was driven home at the Voice Biometrics Conference in London (November 2013) when John Dardo, Assistant Commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office (the IRD’s nearby cousin), shared his thoughts on his government’s efforts to take a “whole of the customer” approach to e-government and its service delivery strategy.

In essence, we have a situation where multiple government agencies are communicating with and serving individuals who have multiple credentials, identifiers, accounts and devices. To maintain trusted links and carry out trusted communications, strong authentication is getting ever more important. Suffice it to say that there are big plans to make voice biometrics a big part of establishing confidence that an individual is the person he or she claims to be regardless of when, where and how they try to reach the government. In New Zealand, the analogous program is called RealMe, which is positioned as a “single sign on” service designed to replace more cumbersome ways for individuals to prove their identity when they apply for or establish eligibility for government services or programs. The program launched in 2013. Its roadmap includes additional mechanisms for multifactor authentication, full mobile support and support for voice biometrics.

For those who are wondering, registration entails a trip to the post office with a picture and proof of identity that can be presented in person. Adding voiceprints and multifactor authentication to the mix is a big step toward fraud-reduction and trust. Because it is based on “who you are,” not what you know, it should be more impervious to impostors, yet simple to use.

To learn more about voice authentication case studies be sure to check out Voice Biometrics Conference San Francisco (May 14-15, 2014)

U.S Bank and Banco Santander Mexico to Highlight Mobile Banking, Customer Care at VBCSF

2014 March 26

BethG_smallVoice Biometrics Conference San Francisco 2014 will feature Beth Gallagher, VP of payments innovation with U.S. Bank, and José Ignacio Zorrilla, executive director of channels at Banco Santander Mexico, describing how voice biometrics can be used to authenticate banking customers over the phone or for mobile banking applications.

Both U.S. Bank and Banco Santander Mexico are currently deploying voice biometrics as a means to identify and authenticate banking customers rather than relying on passwords or knowledge-based questions. Each organization will discuss how to build an authentication strategy that helps better serve customers, streamline operational efficiencies and save money.

VBC San Francisco (May 14-15) will address the pressing issues facing executives in financial services, contact centers, healthcare, insurance and communications that enable secure interactions with customers.

Click here to see the VBC San Francisco 2014 agenda.

Voice Biometrics Conference San Francisco is the only global event dedicated to voice security and multi-factor authentication and features a who’s-who sponsor list of industry stalwarts and technology visionaries in voice biometrics, fraud prevention and security & authentication. The sponsor list includes:

  • Platinum Sponsors: Nuance, NICE, Verint, VoiceVault
  • Gold Sponsors: ValidSoft, Pindrop Security, VoiceTrust, AGNITiO
  • Event Sponsors: RSA, ImageWare Systems

VoiceVault Makes Mobile Push with ViGo Platform

2014 March 24

ViGo_handAs mobile devices are an increasingly common channel for consumers to make purchases, pay bills or check account information, VoiceVault has developed a voice biometrics platform exclusively for mobile.

Known as ViGo, the standardized technology package is intended for making it easy for businesses to develop ways to authenticate users in mobile apps.

As noted in the announcement, “ViGo eases the burden on organizations eager to provide their customers with a secure and convenient addition to multifactor authentication solutions.”

The platform, featured in a redesigned VoiceVault website, is marketed for any business or enterprise looking to rapidly build and integrate voice-based mobile apps. Pricing for ViGo will be in a tiered structure “exclusively based on annual user registrations.”

The topic of authentication for mobile devices will be featured prominently at Opus Research’s Voice Biometrics Conference San Francisco (May 14-15) with panel discussions and presentations from VoiceVault and U.S. Bank, among others.

Pakistan’s United Bank Limited Chooses VoiceTrust for Voice Authentication

2014 February 26


United Bank Limited (UBL) has selected VoiceTrust to provide a voice biometrics-based platform to verify the identity of retail and enterprise customers.

In an announcement, VoiceTrust says the Pakistani bank will integrate the Altitude uCl suite into its IVR system to authenticate customers, government employees, and pensioners using their voice. The system will work for both English and Urdu speakers.

According to the press release, the bank will also use the “VoiceTrust Proof-of-Life® solution to prevent pension fraud and overpayments with voice biometrics.” By verifying customer identity over the telephone to release funds, the system will make the process more convenient, saving the customer the hassle of traveling to a branch and waiting in line.

UBL, founded in 1959, operates a network of more than 1,200 branches across Pakistan and has 17 overseas branches. In 1971, the bank was nationalized by the Pakistani government, before being sold in open auction to private investors in 2002 to form United National Bank Limited.

Banco Santander Mexico to Keynote Voice Biometrics Conference San Francisco 2014

2014 February 18

SantanderOpus Research is pleased to announce José Ignacio Zorrilla, with Banco Santander Mexico, will present key findings from a new contact center strategy for customer authentication in a keynote presentation for Voice Biometrics Conference San Francisco (May 14-15, 2014).

With more than 3 million calls into contact centers monthly, Banco Santander Mexico is using voice biometrics as a means to identify and authenticate banking customers rather than relying on passwords and knowledge-based questions. The new strategy helps improve contact center efficiency, says Ignacio, in reducing the time it takes for agents to identify customers and helps streamline the customer experience.

As Executive Director of Channels at Banco Santander Mexico, Ignacio is in charge of the operation of state-of-the-art contact centers, Internet banking, mobile and ATM networks for a commercial bank serving 6.5 million customers. Ignacio will highlight the organizational strategy for Banco Santander Mexico in assessing new technologies for customer authentication and outline the opportunities and challenges in implementing the voice biometrics solution.

Santander México is the country’s third largest financial group by business volume, with market shares of 14.8% in deposits and 13% in loans, and the first Santander country to implement voiceprint technology.

Voice Biometrics Conference San Francisco is being held May 14-15, 2014 at the Fairmont San Francisco. To learn more about the conference agenda and early-bird registration deadlines click here.

U.S. Bank Touts Voice Biometrics for Mobile Banking App

2014 February 13
by Derek Top

usbanklogoU.S. Bank is currently piloting the use of voice biometrics as a means for user authentication in accessing its mobile app to check account balances, search transaction or make a payment. The announcement, by the fifth largest U.S. commercial bank, signifies the growing acceptance of voice biometrics as a natural method to identify users for retail banking mobile apps.

As part of the announcement, Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for U.S. Bank Payment Services, outlines the case for voice biometrics in improving the customer experience: “Customers are becoming accustomed to using their voice to interact with their smartphones and can become frustrated with key entering passwords. Exploring a spoken passphrase login through this technology is a logical next step in our work in biometrics,” said Venturo.

Adding the voice biometrics feature to its mobile app is an extension of a pilot by U.S. Bank last April in deploying a branded version of Nuance Communications’ Nina Mobile to support a speech-enabled mobile virtual assistant.

“Innovative organizations like U.S. Bank recognize that voice biometrics can bring a new level of convenience and security to the customer service experience,” said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance Enterprise Division in the press release. “By eliminating the interrogation process that consumers are typically put through and replacing it with a natural, conversational voice interaction, companies can really start to reinvent their customer service experience.”

U.S. Bank oversees $364 billion in assets and operates 3,081 banking offices in 25 states and 4,906 ATMs. The company is known for it early adoption of advanced payment features, including trials of near field communications (NFC).

Dimension Data on the Value of Voice Biometrics

2014 February 3
by Derek Top

ddheader-01Interesting article up on IT News Africa where Darren Arnold, Dimension Data’s managing executive for Contact Centre Solutions, lays out the virtues of voice biometrics to solve most authentication problems. He clearly underscores the problem with current strategies of verifying one’s identity — mainly PINs and passwords — as risky and the value of voice biometrics as a technology game changer.

Arnold points out a large cellular was the first South African company to adopt voice biometrics and how JP Morgan recently authorised a transfer of US$550 million using a voice biometrics password.

But while there are clear benefits to voice biometrics technology, Arnold touches on the challenges of widespread adoption:

One of the challenges is that organisations are not clear on the difference between speech recognition technology and voice biometrics. Speech recognition technology is programmed to understand statements or questions from customer and offer a specific response. By contrast, voice biometrics works on the unique tone, resonance, pitch, and biological characteristics of a person’s voice, regardless of the words used. It is the uniqueness of each human voice that makes voice biometrics a security tool.

Based in South Africa, Dimension Data is an IT services provider that was acquired by Japanese telco NTT Group for $3.2 billion in 2010.