Biometrics Solutions and Concepts for COVID-19

The Biometrics Institute has released its latest report which combines several expert papers from its member organisations addressing the topic of biometric solutions and concepts for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Auraya, a world leader in voice biometric technology, contributed to the report by detailing how voice biometrics can be used to improve the security and user experience of the various solutions people are using amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Read Auraya’s expert section below or visit Biometrics Institute to access the full report.

Auraya: Voice biometric applications to assist in pandemic times

Paul Magee, CEO of Auraya Systems

A pandemic can disrupt and alter the livelihoods of everyone. Lives and circumstances can forcefully and drastically change. We must adapt to minimise the danger and reduce the disruption to our complex lives. While no one wants to experience the devastating loss of life, economic hardships, and inconvenience that the pandemic has thrust onto populations during these strange times can be a catalyst in introducing changes that otherwise could take decades. Perhaps we will never again be so open to changing habits. For years people have resisted the opportunity to work from home, and now that we have been forced to adapt, many now work from home where it makes sense! Another forced change is the use of video conferencing technologies to stay in touch with friends and family. This new means of staying in touch may bring families together long after the virus is defeated. Perhaps business travel will change with more virtual conferences instead of the overuse of big global conferences. Many technology solutions are being delivered to tackle practical living issues in the locked-down world we have been forced to embrace. From fast-tracking new ways to invent and test medicines and create personal protective equipment to online conferencing, home deliveries, and exercising without large communal gyms. People and organisations have proved rapid change is possible, given the right circumstances.

These changes also introduced a new era of trust and cooperation as perfect strangers adapt to new rules around social distancing and people are making personal sacrifices to ensure the safety of unknown community members. In this era of more trust, it is important to reduce the ability of ‘bad actors’ to take advantage. Voice biometrics provides a key element in enabling open and transparent trust to exist as, quietly and unobtrusively, bad actors can be identified and dealt with appropriately, during digital transactions and phone conversations, leaving the rest of us to get on in the new world with more confidence.

As we become more community conscious, we are prone to become more fearful and concerned about our privacy and security. Voice biometrics provides consumers with a simple yet secure and private way to confirm identity with government agencies and other organisations we have entrusted with our assets and personal data.

Auraya’s voice biometric technology is being used to ensure secure, safer, and easier conference calling capability. Cisco’s WebEx conference users can have voice biometrics enabled to gain access to conference calling service on their computer or mobile device by simply saying their name. If their voiceprint has been previously enrolled; and they are invited to the meeting then authorised conference call attendees can gain access from any device. No complex number codes are required to be remembered or punched in. Every time someone speaks, their voice identifies them and their name is displayed. This security option also prevents unknown or unauthorised people from attempting to join conference calls just because they have the meeting room code. Conference hosts can search recorded conferences based on when a specific speaker contributes rather than which device was used, which is especially helpful where there are multiple attendees using one device. Educational institutions can ensure that students that participate in the conference are, in fact, the enrolled students and not a proxy.

Voice biometrics can be utilised in contact centres even when agents are working from home. EVA the Voice Biometric extension for Amazon Connect enables voice biometric solutions to be deployed in days using cloud-based services. Voice biometric solutions can be added quickly and securely to existing Call Centres and ‘work from home’ Call Centres to improve efficiency and security, whilst ensuring regulatory compliance. As Call Centres and digital support services feel the pressure and stress of increased numbers of calls and messages seeking assistance, they are also having to cope with lockdowns in offshore Call Centre locations as well within their own cities. The increased demand in a time of constrained capacity is forcing organisations to adopt new processes and technologies.

Organisations can use voice biometrics to ensure that known or suspected fraudsters are identified and prevented in real-time from perpetrating fraudulent activity. Being able to quickly identify suspected fraudsters not only reduces fraud losses; but it also assists the organisation to efficiently deal with legitimate callers. Where the biometric technology is eliminating known fraudsters, then legitimate customers can be served with higher levels of confidence and with less friction caused by manual verification processes.

In addition to helping deal with fraudsters, voice biometrics can be used to confirm that the authorised Call Centre agent is engaged in every conversation with customers. Organisations can be assured that the authorised agent is the only person that can handle customer calls. Calls that require transferring between agents can also be transferred with confidence and regulatory compliance as each agent’s identity is verified by their voice.

In addition to using voice biometrics to deliver improved efficiency and security in Call Centres, voice is being used in digital channels. For example, a new quarantine mobile app is being delivered in Latin America using Auraya’s voice biometric technology to help enforce quarantine measures. The app uses geolocation technology to ensure that the smartphone remains in the designated quarantine location and random requests for the quarantined person to verify their identity using their voice from the device ensures that the person subject to a quarantine order is with the device at the right location.

This quarantine mobile app can also be used to manage the crisis that exists in some correctional facilities worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the vulnerability of inmates to the disease once it infiltrates correctional facilities. There are calls for a temporary release for some inmates to reduce the danger. The voice biometric mobile app combined with the smartphone geolocation technology can assist in monitoring the locations of inmates that are released to home detention. This allows correctional facilities to implement temporary parole while using this voice biometric system to continually and accurately track their whereabouts.