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In The Boardroom With...

Mr. Brett Beranek

Solutions Marketing Manager
Enterprise Marketing
Nuance Communications, Inc. Thank you for joining us today, Brett.  Before drilling down into Nuance solutions, please tell us about your background and role with Nuance.

Brett Beranek:  I’m passionate about security technologies. I decided to focus my career in this space after 9/11, and as a result I’ve been in the security industry for the past 13 years. I quickly realized that for security to be effective, it has to be seamless. Out of all of the technologies out there, biometrics can deliver more than others on this promise of improving security, while reducing the time and effort needed to prove our identity. Throughout my career, I have been closely involved with fingerprint and facial recognition in particular. I joined Nuance over two years ago because I saw the untapped value of voice biometrics, a robust and secure technology that could authenticate an individual remotely, without the need for a specialized hardware sensor. In my role, I manage the go-to-market strategy for voice biometrics at Nuance and help organizations understand the value of voice biometrics. It’s a great job, I love what I do. One will read on that, “At Nuance, everything we do is focused on developing the most human, natural, intuitive ways to use your voice to take command of information. Our people and our technology have pioneered the highest functioning speech software in the world, ceaselessly perfecting the ability for machines to recognize and emulate the human voice. We design and deliver technologies that intuitively link man, machine and the global storehouse of knowledge to help companies and consumers work seamlessly and intelligently with the world.” May we have an overview of “voice biometrics”?

Brett Beranek:  In many ways, this overview of our mission at Nuance aligns well with our voice biometrics solutions. Voice Biometrics is the most human, natural and intuitive way of authenticating to a system, whether it’s a smartphone banking app, or to an IVR system at your telecom provider’s contact center. Speech is innate to us as humans; it is how we communicate with other humans, and increasingly, it is how we communicate with technology. Voice biometrics takes our vision statement beyond understanding what the individual is saying, to knowing who they are. It makes interacting with technology seamless and intelligent, but also personalized. At Nuance, we see voice biometrics as a security technology that also delivers a great user experience. Please give us an overview of the solutions Nuance brings to market. Any “new” solutions you would like to discuss?

Brett Beranek:  Nuance has a wide range of voice biometric solutions. The most commonly deployed is VocalPassword. It’s our “password replacement” solution that enables organizations to provide a more convenient and secure method of authentication to their mobile apps, websites and IVR systems. For example, to access your mobile banking app, you could say “My voice is my password” instead of having to tap a complex alpha numeric password on your smartphone. One of the great things about VocalPassword is that an organization can use the same voiceprint for all of its systems. So as a consumer, you can authorize an account change on the web with your voice, or access the company’s IVR with your voice. Another key solution that we offer is FreeSpeech, which can identify an individual during a live conversation. This is primarily used within contact centers, when a customer is speaking to an agent. In the background, during that conversation, FreeSpeech can inform the agent if the caller is who they claim to be, or identify that they are a known fraudster. With FreeSpeech, there is no need to ask callers security questions, so for legitimate callers, it makes the call experience pleasant and allows the agent to service the customer, instead of interrogating them. We also have a solution called DragonID that is used in consumer electronic devices, such as TVs and smartphones, that enables personalization of experience in cases where devices are shared, such as with family members in a household.

We do have a new solution that we’re very excited about called Nuance Forensics. It’s a solution that is destined for the law enforcement market. It supports investigators during ongoing investigations, and enables forensic experts to evaluate voice evidence for submission in court. Are there 1 or 2 “wins” or success stories you would like to talk about?

Brett Beranek: There are many success stories that we’d love to share, but here is one example that showcases how Nuance’s voice biometric solutions have delivered phenomenal value. Barclays Wealth uses our FreeSpeech solution within their contact centers. When a Barclays Wealth customer calls, they don’t need to answer security questions. Agents can deliver great service right from the moment they answer the call. FreeSpeech takes care of validating the caller’s identity. Their use of voice biometrics technology has enabled Barclays to see a significant improvement in customer satisfaction, so much so that 93% of callers in a recent customer satisfaction survey rated the authentication process as a 9 or a 10 out of 10. Beyond improving the customer experience, voice biometrics has reduced incidents of fraud and improved operational efficiencies leading to cost savings for Barclays. Financial transactions are secured every day with voice biometrics at Barclays. It’s a great success story, and we’re very proud to have Barclays Wealth as one of our customers.  We understand that Nuance is a participant in CARTES AMERICA. What is your perspective on the most important trends, threats and solutions attendees will be hearing about at CARTES AMERICA this year.

Brett Beranek: The payments industry can benefit immensely from biometrics. With the recent attack on Target customers, we see once again how vulnerable the payments industry is to fraud. There is a strong need for a more secure method of authorizing transactions and voice biometrics offers a highly secure and seamless alternative. We’re thrilled to be part of the CARTES AMERICA event, and looking forward to sharing our insights and offering the payments industry with a solution to the ever increasing fraud challenge it faces.