Biometric authentication and the way forward – a discussion with Nuance

April 5, 2022 0 Comments

There was a time when the word ‘security’ brought to mind the image of a real professional guarding a building or property. Then with the advent of the digital age, that image changed to password. Almost every digital interface worth its value asks you to enter a password at a time – your email, your bank account, your smartphone, your social network and much more. But password security is becoming a growing problem.

At first, these are hard to remember, and many of us tend to lose the true purpose of our passwords and make it easier to write or guess. So it is not surprising that the world is increasingly leaning towards biometric security. Voice recognition, fingerprint sensors and even iris scanners are becoming somewhat common features in everyday devices. How did that happen? And do they really feel safe?

We exchanged views Mr. Rajiv Soni, Managing Director, South Asia, Nuance Communications About the subtleties of biometric authentication (no pun intended). Siri’s Voice Recognition and Dragon, one of the most widely used speech recognition software in the world, and the interaction was as follows:

Digit: When we were growing up, biometric security was something we saw in movies and TV shows. So how did we get here and why do we need biometric security now?

Rajiv: Passwords, PINs and security questions were never conceived to secure anything meaningful, as the inventor of the computer password himself acknowledged. The end result is that we have all been using an authentication method for decades that is not suitable for the purpose for which it has been applied. Massive violations of knowledge-based authentication and the consequent growing financial loss have forced many companies to move to more secure authentication methods.

Biometrics is the only authentication method that verifies who is trying to access a service or application, instead of knowledge-based authentication that verifies a match in data input or token-based authentication that verifies the presence of a physical device. For example, biometrics is the only method suitable for securing access to sensitive information, systems or applications.

Digit: Biometric devices are sometimes a bit scary for the average user. What has been done to make it more user-friendly while still secure enough?

Rajiv: Not all biometrics are the same. For example, voice biometrics does not require the user to do anything on and off what he or she does on a daily basis. What’s more, voice biometrics doesn’t require any device on or off the device that we all carry with us every day, which is our phone. Voice biometrics technology has been shown to be highly preferred by users regardless of comfort level.

Digit: Within the biometric security system, what is the global trend right now?

Rajiv: Voice biometrics is growing very fast, where today there are millions of subscribers in virtually every country who are now authenticating with their voice. There are several drivers for enhancing voice biometrics, including the ability to authenticate customers through a variety of interaction channels, including contact centers, mobile apps and websites.

Digit: What are some notable sectors that use biometrics as a preferred mode of security?

Rajiv: Financial institutions, telecom providers and governments are the three largest vertical sectors that have adopted voice biometrics.

Digit: Where does India stand and what lies ahead for biometric authentication?

Rajiv: Financial institutions like ICICI and Standard Chartered are paving the way for voice biometric adoption in India.

Digit: What does the future of biometrics consist of?

Rajiv: We predict that voice will become an ideal way to secure our interactions with biometrics technology and with the companies we do business with. We will continue to communicate with people using our voice, and we will use our voice to communicate with technology on a variety of devices, including our phones, tablets, computers and even our cars.

Digit: Is there anything you want to tell our readers about biometrics?

Rajiv: Voice biometrics is a key technology to make technology more human. Combined with virtual assistants that utilize advanced cognitive intelligence, natural language comprehension and speech voice synthesis from sophisticated text, Nuance is working to make our interactions with technology intelligent and seamless.

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