Voice verification: Veritel Corp.'s Veritel Voice
- By Michelle Speir
- Jun 05, 2000
We tested voice verification technology from Veritel Corp. Like the face
recognition technology from Visionics Corp., Veritel is a BioNetrix Systems
Corp. partner, so we tested the system through the BioNetrix Authentication
Suite interface. However, Veritel does make stand-alone products and offers
licenses for two APIs.
Voice verification can be used with desktop PCs and notebooks for initial
logon or to access specific applications and the Internet. It can be used
with e-commerce and for remote access and control as well as employee services
such as time and attendance. It also can be used with telephone systems
for voice mail and other identity verification purposes.
Of all the biometric technologies, voice is perhaps the easiest for
end users to implement, but it also is potentially the least secure. Voice,
in fact, is considered a hybrid behavioral and physiological biometric because
a person can alter it.
In addition, environmental factors play a major role in voice verification.
For example, background noise greatly affects system performance. However,
one advantage is that the infrastructure — microphones and telephones — is already in place at many organizations, so hardware costs are minimal.
Voice systems also have a high user acceptance rate because they are perceived
as less intrusive than other biometric devices, such as iris scanning.
Voice verification works by creating a voice template based on numerous
characteristics including cadence, pitch and tone. You can use a microphone
or a telephone handset, but performance increases with higher-quality input
devices. When attempting to log in with voice, the user's voice is digitized
and compared to the previously enrolled "voiceprint" sample for identity
Using voice recognition software is easy, although the verification
takes longer than facial recognition. To enroll, you must state five pieces
of information twice: your name, your birth month, the city in which you
were born, your favorite color, and your mother's first name.
When authenticating, the system randomly asks for one or more of these
five pieces of information. We found the system to be a little finicky at
times, and background noise did affect performance. In general, though,
the system is easy to use and authentication is fast. Users, however, must
take care to speak clearly and in the same manner they spoke when enrolling.
Administrators can adjust several parameters for voice verification.
There is a threshold setting. There is also a decision rule where the administrator
can choose an "and," an "or" or a "sequential." In the case of an "and,"
for example, the user would be required to say two correct pieces of information.
The administrator also sets the minimum number of valid inputs required,
which ranges from one to five and determines the number of questions the
user must answer to gain access.
The BioNetrix Authentication Suite costs between $70 and $250 per user.