There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the rapidly-evolving voice biometrics industry. As Senior Analyst of Opus Research Dan Miller explained during a Feb. 19 webinar titled “Voice Biometrics in a Multi-Modal Future,” which our own Executive Vice President Julia Webb took part in, there has recently been exponential growth in regard to the implementation and enrollment of voice biometrics across many different verticals.

What’s driving this growth? There are a few reasons according to Miller: the technology has proven to be effective, it’s highly scalable and it’s ideal for use in mobile applications. Voice biometrics, for instance, don’t require expensive fingerprint sensors, which means they can be deployed a wider variety of devices. Every mobile device, after all, comes with a built- in microphone.

“What’s been amazing is to see patterns of adoption among financial institutions, government entities and telephone companies (the largest implementation happens to be at a Turkish mobile company),” said Miller. “We’re also just starting to see more growth in the North America and U.S. market.”

Miller pointed to Opus Research’s 2014 Voice Biometrics Census, which shows that the financial industry currently holds the lion’s share of voice biometrics deployments, at 32 percent. Close behind is government and public security at 31 percent. Telecommunications account for 12 percent of total deployments, while healthcare counts for 4 percent.

The webinar went on to highlight several important issues and challenges currently happening in the industry. Here are some key takeaways:

Privacy is still a challenge: The voice biometrics industry is still struggling with privacy concerns due to the fact that many people are concerned about the collection and storage of sensitive biometric information. It’s critical, as Webb explained, to obtain customer or citizen consent before engaging in the practice.

“That can be accomplished through a conversation with a call center agent, with an IVR or presented in-text in a mobile application” she said.

In some countries, it’s also important to provide a reason for collecting and storing biometric information. In other words, if a customer terminates affiliation with an organization, there needs to be a process in place for removing that data.

Not all voice biometrics solutions are equal: A major challenge causing problems is the environmental aspect of the technology. Just like dirt and grime is a problem for fingerprint biometrics sensors, voiceprints can be clouded by surrounding noises. It pays, therefore, to invest in a solution that is capable of operating in an audibly challenging environment.

The user experience is still key: A voice biometrics solution ultimately needs to be user friendly in order to be widely implemented and used. Voice biometrics make it possible to verify end user identities without having to type in long, cumbersome passwords. This creates a much better user experience, which means more people are liable to use it across the enterprise.

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