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Uniphore, Nuance to offer voice biometrics for banks

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You no longer have to remember your multi-digit or alphanumeric account number or password to withdraw money from your bank. If the pilot projects on speech-based mobility solutions by a few banks turn out to be successful, you can transact almost all banking businesses with your voice as the password.

Uniphore Software Systems, in a tie-up with Nuance Communications, has developed speech-based mobility solutions for banks. Uniphore , a start-up IT solutions company (incubated in IIT Madras), has tied up with five public and private sector banks, including Syndicate Bank and Axis Bank, for the pilot.

Quick identification

The voice biometrics and speech-recognition software, patented by Nuance Communications, will enable the bank to identify the accountholder within a fraction of a second as he speaks on the phone.

Once identified, the application can process the entire transaction through the use of speech-based navigation. Users can conduct banking transactions with any mobile phone… “even basic models would do,” said Mr Umesh Sachdev, Co-founder and CEO of Uniphore, at a press conference here on Wednesday.

According to Mr Sunny Rao, Head of Nuance’s India operations, the company’s speech-recognition solution can support 13 Indian languages, apart from English. It registers and recognises a voice through 28 parameters. Even if a person has a cold or flu, only four parameters will change, with the other 24 remaining intact, he explained. Even if someone mimics your voice, it will reject the transaction; nor can a recorded voice be used, he empahsised.

Best bet

Mr Rao told Business Line that voice biometric is the best bet to provide secure banking services to the Indian masses, as it overcomes literacy challenges. Fingerprints may not work in the rural areas as hard work wipes away fingerprints for many people. “They cannot even open a bank account with what’s left.”

Even for an iris match, with a large number of people having eye problems such as cataract, advanced stages of macular degeneration and even night blindness, retina reading too is not dependable, he said.

rravikumar@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 27, 2012)
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