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The use of Voice Recognition Software in banks has helped its customers get faster access to service by making the IVR process smoother and more reliable. Such biometric devices are based on the distinctiveness of person's speech pattern comprising of a physiological component called the voice tract and the behavioural component called the accent.
The combination of the two makes it impossible for two individuals to have the same voice pattern. Even twins sharing the same gene pool would have different voice patterns, making voice authentication a perfect platform for biometric access control. The robustness of this technology makes it effective in all conditions, allowing a person suffering from a bad case of cold to use this system without any errors. However, voice authentication does not work when the vocal tract is damaged due to a case of laryngitis.
The major advantage of voice recognition system is that it can be seamlessly incorporated in the existing communication network consisting of telephones and VoIP to implement an effective Biometric Access Control System. However, the system performance of the voice recognition system depends upon the quality of the audio signal.
Use of Voice recognition in banks
A normal IVR system used in banks is based on a four or five digit pin number. The user has to speak the pin number to get access to information or service. However, this system is cumbersome at the best of times as the customer has to change the pin number at regular intervals in order to prevent data theft.
Voice recognition or speaker recognition, uses a pre-recorded voice sample to identify whether a person is who they claim to be. A biometric based IVR is quicker and more efficient compared to a normal IVR which is based on a pin number. In this system the user is prompted to speak a random phrase, which is then analysed and compared with a pre-recorded sample. Once the customer has cleared the authentication procedures he can be guided through the proper channels without wasting their time.
The IVR based on voice recognition has several advantages. The customer is spared from answering a number of questions as all the required information is pulled from the customer resource management once the authentication protocol is cleared. The process also quickens the process; therefore the customer can get quicker service, freeing up the IVR for the next customer.
Many customers struggle to remember their pin-numbers. Moreover, they feel frustrated at having to change the pin number at regular intervals. But with the voice recognition system the customer does not have to remember the pin-numbers as authentication is now possible by uttering a phrase. Voice Recognition technology has helped banks improve their service and their reach by reduce cost and increasing productivity.
Biometric Systems across the board use unique physiological and behavioural traits to make environments safer and reliable. Depending upon their requirements private companies and governmental organizations can choose from a number of custom built biometric solutions for physical and logical control. Some of the better known Biometric security solutions include Finger print readers, Iris scanners, Hand and finger scanners voice and speech recognition software and so on.
Voice Authentication uses recorded speech in order to verify whether a person is who he claims to be. This authentication procedure comprises of two steps. The first step is called enrolment wherein the speaker's voice is recorded in order to form a template. The second step is called verification where the recorded template is compared against an utterance or speech extract, in order to make a match.
How does it work?
Every person has a unique voice, consisting of a physiological component represented by a voice tract and behavioural component called accent. The combination of the two is difficult to replicate, making it a reliable method to uniquely identify a person. However, voice based systems can be fooled by using a recorded voice therefore security systems insists upon randomly chosen passwords and general voiceprints. Voice recognition software requires the user to read a random phrase or a sequence of numbers, using a recording device to capture the utterance for later use.
Voice recognition software is more user friendly compared to other biometric devices like Iris scanners, fingerprint scanners, facial scanners and so on. According to a recent Unisys research, Voice based recognition software scored over its nearest rival fingerprint based system, getting 32% of the total votes.
According to DR. Judith A. Markowitz, a speech and biometric consultant based in Chicago, voice recognition technology can be text dependent or text independent. Text dependent technology is dependent upon phrases or a number sequence recorded at the time of enrolment. The user repeats the phrase or sequence of numbers, using it as a password. However, text independent technology does not depend on a fixed pattern; requiring the individual to utter a free speech which is then analysed for unique vocal characteristics.
Advantages of a voice based Biometric system
The basic advantage of voice based system is that it is cheaper than other biometric system. It can be integrated in a telephony based service to provide access to financial data, once the user is able to pass muster with the voice base recognition system.
Voice based verification system can be used to activate or reset passwords, accessing financial data, conducting telephonic inquiries and so on. According to Dr. Markowitz, voice based voice recognition system has been successfully used in Scobey, Montana to check instances of infiltration at the border. The temperatures at the border often falls below zero making it very difficult for conventional biometric based security systems to work properly, making voice based system very valuable.
Dr. Markowitz also highlights how voice based verification system reduced thefts in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Worried by the decreasing law and order situation, the authorities decided to equip some of the city's buildings with voiced based security systems to check employee access after work hours. Thanks to this system there was a reduction in the number of thefts significantly improving law and order situations.
Biometric systems use unique physiological and biological characteristics to provide or deny access to an individual to systems, premises and data. The Banking system has woken up to the fact that the archaic password and pin based security system is no longer foolproof in the modern business environment, characterized by increasing ferocity of cyber attacks and vulnerability of the information.
The Japanese were the first to implement a biometric based banking system after a banking regulation in 2006 made banks liable for unauthorized withdrawals, using stolen cards. Later the same model was followed by banks across Asia, Europe and Africa. The popularity of the new system can be gauged by the fact that people in rural Africa found the biometric system more user- friendly compared to card and pin based system.
Voice recognition software uses a spectrogram to analyze voice data, with the vertical axis showing sound frequency, and the horizontal axis showing the time elapsed. Biometric characteristics like voice data are reliable because they are difficult to duplicate; even twins sharing the same DNA would have uniquely different voices.
Voice Recognition finds favor with users
According to a recent Unisys-sponsored report, voice based systems have found favor with the masses because of its non invasive nature. The report showed that voice based had the greatest acceptance followed by fingerprinting and hand geometry based biometric systems. Voice authentication systems wins hands down in poor environmental conditions characterized by presence of dust and grime. Remote verification is also possible as tracts of voice data can be verified over the phone to deny or give access to the users to systems data.
Australian Bank opts for voice recognition system
The National Australia Bank has deployed a voice recognition system, replacing the earlier system consisting of passwords and pin-numbers. The new system will allow the customers to access their accounts with nothing more than their voice. The system follows the usual protocol of enrolment and verification to access data. Accordingly, the customer will have to provide a voice tract at the time of registration and this data will be used at the time of verification to provide or deny access to data.
A spokesman for the bank said that the new system is expected to provide a new benchmark for customer satisfaction. Banks like these are increasingly resorting to new age technology like Biometrics to improve customer satisfaction by providing quick access to data in a risk free environment.
Voice Authentication systems is one of the least invasive methods of controlling access, using the distinctive behavioral and the physiological components of a speech to secure locations and data against unwanted breach. This very distinctiveness has made it attractive for voice based biometric applications worldwide.
The system uses audio capture devices to record voice data at the time of enrolment and then extracts unique features from this voice data to create a template. This template is used at the time of identification or verification when an utterance is compared against the recorded template to deny or provide access to location or data.
Biometric systems such as these have found favor with the modern industry because of their ease of use and practicality. Some of the industries where this technology has been used to good effect are aviation, BFSI, Health Management Industry, betting industry and so on. The voice recognition system can be used productively in the following cases
- Playing back information
- Handling spike in call volumes
- Routing calls
- Automated identification
Playing back information
The Voice based biometric system can be used to make the dissemination of information faster by doing away with the services of a live operator. This type of service can be used to get quick information about flight departures and arrivals in the aviation industry. This type of technology can be used to cut waiting times between calls leading to better customer service. Dublin Airport was able to service 30 percent more customers with the use of this technology without any corresponding increase in staff. Dublin airport used this technology to route calls seeking information about departures and arrivals to an automated system.
Handling Spike in Call Volumes
The voice recognition software can be used to handle unusual spike in call volumes. For example the call volume in the betting industry is characterized by spikes and troughs. The period before the race start is characterized by unusual call volume activity. The system can be configured in manner that calls related to placing a bet can be routed to an automated system and more complex calls routed to live operator.
The voice based recognition system can be used to route calls to the correct department. Standard life Insurance has successfully implemented this technology to route customers to the appropriate staff. The system helped Standard Life Insurance to cut misdirected calls by 66 % and increased the call handling capacity by over 25%. The system also revealed valuable information on why the customer was calling, helping in designing smarter systems.
The voice based recognition system can be implemented in the BFSI sector to provide flawless customer service. The current pin and password based security system fails to address the requirements of the modern era with its demands on security. The voice based recognition system bypasses the pin and password based security system, providing ease of access and security. Australia's eight largest insurer ahm Health Management has successfully incorporated voice recognition biometrics to allow its customers to speak to its customer service representatives.
Voice or speaker recognition uses an individual's voice for identification purposes. This technology is different from speech recognition which recognizes words on the basis of their articulation. Voice recognition on the other hand is truly biometric as it depends on uniqueness of the voice tract and other biometric characteristics to identify an individual.
Voice recognition software has become the preferred technology for remote authentication because of the advances made in telecommunications and networking and its ease of integration into existing systems. Unlike speech recognition voice recognition is a dynamic process and lasts for several seconds at a time.
How does Voice Recognition Work?
The pioneering work in this field was done by the Swedish professor Gunnar Fant, who published a model that took into account the physiological traits of voice production. In order to gather inputs for this model Fant X-Rayed the voice tract during voice production. The information gleaned from this research was used by Dr. Joseph Perkell who expanded this theory by including the role of the tongue and the jaw during voice production.
The voice tract consists of the airway and the soft tissues cavities that play a major role in how sound is emanated. This in conjunction with the movement of the larynx, tongue and the jaw provides a unique tonality to each individual's voice which is leverage by the existing biometric systems to identify an individual.
Voice recognition factors text independent and text dependent speech while designing the voice recognition system. In the text dependent model the individual has to utter a password or a sequence of numbers to pass muster with the security systems. The text independent model on the other is free form and more dynamic in nature. This information is recorded and then analyzed in wave form, with time on the horizontal axis and loudness on the vertical axis. In particular characteristics like the quality, duration, pitch and intensity of the signal is studied for identification purposes.
Uses of Voice Recognition Systems
The durability and ease of implantation of voice based authentication systems have made it popular in organizations across the spectrum. Some of the applications are given below-
The voice authentication system can be used by individuals to reset their passwords through remote voice authentication from anywhere. The flexibility of this system allows an individual to log into the system anytime and make the changes. This system has been used by banks, insurance companies to improve their productivity and efficiency.
Voice authentication systems can be used as a tracking tool by parole officers. This tool can be used to verify whether the individual is at the mentioned place at the specified time. This helps in improving prison administration.
Typically used in a banking environment where a caller is directed to an agent or IVR after identity is verified through a voice pattern recorded at the beginning of the call. This system can be combined with two factor identification, involving a secret question, to build additional flexibility in the system.
This method can be used to prevent misuse of credit card or debit card information. This method can be used to provide credibility to online gaming platforms and mobile companies looking for innovative payment models to spread their business.