Interviewed By The Asian Banker Live
Julia Webb, executive vice president of sales and marketing at VoiceVault, discusses how the company provides seamless authentication for customers in mobile banking through voice biometrics.
Julia Webb: So, we're VoiceVault provides a simple way to authenticate customers in the context of mobile banking, or within the call centre, so what we specialise in is active authentication with a very small amount of speech, so as an example instead of having to enter a password your mobile app prompts you to say its four digits, we support digits in Korean, in Chinese and in English so addressing needs outside of the US as well, not just for log-in to mobile apps, but also for step-up authentication, so where you’re looking to release a wire transfer, an ACH payment, we can provide a simple mechanism to be able to authenticate customers, they don’t have to remember everything, every time a customer goes to verify in our digit mode, they’re just presented with a random set of four digits, it changes during each verification, so it’s much easier than passwords, it just takes five seconds or less to verify, and there you go, all you need is a microphone.
Sure. So, our largest banking customer here in the US is JPMorgan. And we’re in the process, outside of the US, of working with banks both in China and in Korea, in particular. It’s where we’re seeing interest right now. We do not have any production deployments yet, in Asia, but that’s why we’ve added the support for the Chinese digits and Korean digits within our app.
We have many customers who are using our voice biometric platform in the call centre. It’s the same mechanism to authenticate – so, a very small amount of speech, active authentication, generally, we integrate with the interactive voice response platform, the IVR, within the call centre, so that when the customer hits the IVR, they’re authenticated, and then they can receive personalised service without having to go through a lengthy knowledge-based authentication process.
The accuracy of voice biometrics is just as strong as other leading biometric technologies, like “Iverify” and fingerprint technology, we usually for banking applications set the probability for an impostor to get in at .01%, so extremely accurate.
We always recommend that there are multiple factors, so, voice biometrics being one factor, some of our customers use a swipe pin as a second factor of authentication. We also work with other partners like Bioconnector here at the show, who have a multi-modal biometric platform, so they have Iverify, face, fingerprint and voice, and they’d let the customers choose which modality they’re comfortable using in a given environment.
Would you like to see a demo now? Absolutely…
So, let’s see how we can get the best view…
Okay. So, here you’re going to select the user for authentication. Internet is very slow right now.
So, here the user is presented with a random set of digits in order to authenticate, and so, Tim is going to push the microphone and speak those four digits: “Six, three, four, nine”.
And so, that sending it to our voice-based authentication…
Speak again, this time in a different order: “Three, six, nine, four”. And then, he was authenticated. So, small amount of speech, very quick and four digits gives that randomness to prevent a fraudster to be able to break in and also provides for a liveness check as well.
So, built into our solution is what we call “replay-a-tech detection”, so we have the ability to actually detect if a recording is used in place of Tim’s live voice, and then we also have a new mode in the version or software that just came out, which is “challenge response date”, so for customers who are looking for an additional liveness check, we can prompt for a random date, so that means please say, October 31st 1980, and there will be no way a fraudster predicting what date the system was going to prompt for, for verification, so, that’s an additional way to check to make sure that a recording is the thing used, but the digit-based mode is very powerful as well.
So, the number of times that you can be prompted to be authenticated within the platform, it’s configurable based on the application. So, we have customers who use VoiceVault for log-in to the app, and then, if the customer would like to move money, so do a transfer or there’s a payment request, or a wire transfer request at that point invoking the voice biometrics again for additional authentication, just to make sure that somebody didn’t get a hold of your device.
Korea. That’s where were seeing most of the activity right now. There have been some projects in Australia as well, but right now the main focus…
We already have local sales reps in the region to support the opportunities there, and we’re also seeing a big push from Samsung right now and of on the Internet of Things, and looking at voice biometrics in the context of personalisation, so instead of just speaking to all your different devices, like “Big Sweep” for example, to be able to know who’s speaking and so then, you can provide personalisation, so voice biometrics is going to play an important role on that as the Internet of Things evolve.
We’ve been working with Samsung on a number of different proof-of-concepts to show how voice biometrics can be used, we were just at the Samsung developer conference last week, in San Francisco, so it’s exciting to see how everything’s coming together in a common platform.
Apple…Siri, I know they don’t do it yet, but again, I see how voice biometrics can play an important role in that personalisation, you know, in the AI space, coming up in the next couple of years.