Interview with Julia Webb, EVP - Sales and Marketing, VoiceVault
Aug-15-07 FB Can you please provide our readers with a brief background of the company? JW The core technology was initially developed in the mid 90's in close collaboration with the government and the military, today the company’s voice verification engine is still in use by a US government agency for tracking felons. Over the last 7 years, VoiceVault's scientists have invented numerous algorithms and verification tests that further improved the levels of accuracy and security. In 2001, VoiceVault gained BS 7799 certification, which was followed by certification and accreditation for issuing EU Advanced Digital Certificates in 2004. More recently in May 2007, VoiceVault achieved ISO 27001 certification - this rating demonstrates the quality and security of VoiceVault. Biometric Security acquired VoiceVault in May of 2005 and subsequently have made significant investments in growing the sales, marketing, and support departments. The company is based in Chertesey, Surrey in the United Kingdom and recently opened up a US sales and marketing office in Boston, Massachusetts. FB Can you review your VoiceVault technology and describe how it differs from other voice verification systems? JW VoiceVault provides true biometric authentication by mapping over 100 separate data points relating to the individual's vocal tract antimony. By approaching voice verification in this manner VoiceVault achieves accuracy levels that are similar to fingerprint and facial recognition. The other benefit to approaching voice verification from a true biometric perspective is that the speech needed during the enrollment process is not limited to alphanumeric sequences or set phrases. VoiceVault can enroll an individual with one set of random phrases and then verify with a completely different set of random phrases. FB You describe VoiceVault as a true 'cross platform' system. Can you describe what this means? JW Other voice verification systems rely on wave form analysis of spoken words. The limitation of this approach is most apparent when a caller uses a different type of phone for verification than that which was used for enrolment. A great real world example of this is a caller who enrolled using a landline, but then attempts a verification using a mobile phone. The channel differences between different types of phone typically result in poorer verification performance. VoiceVault's biometric architecture is unique in that its verification algorithms actually feed off of these
channel differences - improving the systems already high overall performance levels. VoiceVault will interface with any IVR, Speech Recognition or Voice Portal system supporting callers who contact call centers through their VoIP desk phone, home landline, or their mobile phone. FB You mentioned that VoiceVault recently secured ISO 27001 CERTIFICATION. Why is this important for your clients? JW ISO 27001 is an Information Security Management System standard published by the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission in 2005. The standard covers the design, implementation, management maintenance and enforcement of information security processes and controls systematically and consistently throughout the organization. Certification is only achieved following a rigorous formal independent assessment that the organization is compliant with the ISO standards. VoiceVault hosted services are used by banks and insurers to secure access to critical systems and confidential business and customer information. ISO 27001 certification demonstrates that VoiceVault meets these requirements. Only 3,530 companies worldwide have achieved this level of certification, and VoiceVault is the only voice verification service provider to have been certified. VoiceVault had previously held ISO 17799 / BS7799 certification since 2001 and is also certified and accredited to issue Advanced Digital Signatures. FB VoiceVault also just strengthened the sales team across UK, Europe and the US with key hires. What prompted these moves? JW As referenced by the recent ContactBabel Call Center report, $11.7 billion a year is spent in the U.S. authenticating an individual's identity. Large call centers are looking to voice verification technology to reduce this expenditure and at the same time comply with the FFIEC's (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council) mandate for stronger authentication for both phone and Internet banking. This increased demand has prompted the expansion of the sales team. FB What vertical markets do you focus on and where are you seeing the greatest growth? JW The recent FFIEC mandate for stronger authentication for electronic banking which includes online and telephone banking has highlighted the application of voice verification within the financial community. Within the U.S. this is driving rapid growth within the financial services community. We also are seeing an increasing number of deployments in healthcare. FB Can you give us an example of a recent deployment? JW Progressive Insurance has been a long time customer of VoiceVault. They are already using our voice verification engine for password reset and caller authentication and have recently
expanded their use of voice verification to authenticate digitally signed documents from their agents. FB Has this past year been a good one for the company? JW Absolutely, 2006 saw a number of rigorous trials of VoiceVault's engine culminating in the deployment of VoiceVault solutions at ABN Amro. Additionally following the directive from the FFIEC, VoiceVault has seen an increase in the number of funded projects from financial organizations with deployments expected in late 2007 and 2008. FB What can we expect to see from VoiceVault in the coming year? JW Over the next year you can expect to see an increased global presence from VoiceVault. Our unique approach to identifying voices is being recognized by organizations globally and the scope of the projects that we are working on will drive greater awareness about voice verification.
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