VOICE TECHNOLOGY specialist, Nuance, revealed a somewhat bizarre use for its voice verification software, Verifier, taking place in Dubai.
Apparently the Dubai authorities are indignant about drivers throwing litter out of vehicle windows. So they have authorised agents to call into an automated system and report the culprits.
The car's number plate is then identified and a text message sent to the driver's mobile phone informing him or her that they've been spotted and fined for the offence.
To stop any Tom, Dick or Ali phoning up the system and falsely reporting a driver, the system uses Nuance's Verifier to determine whether or not the caller is authorised to do so.
This example originated from a recent push by Nuance to encourage more telecoms companies to install voice verification software. The company has just commissioned a survey of 553 Brits to gauge their opinions on the technology.
Most participants thought that using voice technology would increase security but 38 per cent also cited increased convenience because "it is easier to use than other verification methods."
The company is therefore hoping that telecoms companies will install the voice software in an attempt to improve customer relations. For example, it could be used to verify a customer who wants to purchase a movie over the Net.
Nuance also argues that out of all the forms of biometric identification, voice verification is the least intrusive and offers the lowest cost of ownership. That's because no extra equipment needs to be installed. Pretty much every customer already owns the necessary equipment – a phone and a voice.
Ian Turner, UK general manager for Nuance, not only claimed that voice verification works with VoIP calls but that it works better with digital calls.
So much so that Verifier has to be fine-tuned to ignore background noises which are picked up over digital links. The company claims that, while it is technically possible to fake somebody's voice, it is extremely difficult. Identical twins might just about manage it.
Nuance maintains that the belief that voice verification won't work when you have a cold is completely misguided. A person's voiceprint is far more complex than most people think and won't be significantly altered if somebody is a little hoarse, the company says. [Won't work if you're a Shetland pony then? - Sub Ed... I know... I'm fired] µ
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