Nuance-Uniphore Partnership to Bring Voice-based Authentication to Banks in India

As reported here, a partnership between Nuance Communications and Chennai-based Uniphore Software Systems will focus on bringing speech recognition and voice biometric-based authentication to mobile banking throughout India. Uniphore was founded in 2008 with incubation support from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras’ Rural Technology and Business Incubator. It has developed a cloud-based set of solutions that combine human-like speech-based self-service in the Indian vernacular – which includes 11 different languages and 100 dialects, though the company believes that its unique differentiator is an ability to add new languages easily.

Uniphore support mobile services that include wireless data and text messaging (integrated with GPRS and SMS platforms) and has also been working with Nuance to tune and enhance basic voice biometric offerings in control environments in order to recognize what changes with each variable (such as line quality, channel differences and the like). It has professional services resources to build interfaces with banking institutions’ or 3rd party back-office systems (such as CRM and transaction processing). Uniphore also claims 99.95% uptime for its cloud-based services services (which, while not “five nines” is “significantly above industry standards” in the region.

Uniphore’s core products include a Mobile Voice Banking platform that enables users to conduct banking and commercial transactions using any basic “feature phones.” It enables caller to authenticate themselves with their voice and then engage in natural language conversations to process information requests or transactions. Its Mobile Wallet service provides mechanisms for merchants or payment collectors to accept payment through mobile phones. Customers can link their mobile phones to their selected financial institution or “top-up” their wallets at a licensed outlet. Then their phones become mobile wallets capable of transferring payments either in-person (P2) or through point-of-sale purchases or over the phone remittances. The system uses speech rec to enable a user to select his or her payment method and objective, and voice biometrics to authenticate his or her identity.

As explained in the press release, Nuance will be working with Uniphore to expand the reach of its voice biometrics-based solutions in India. Uniphore brings the local knowledge, especially the ability to support multiple languages and dialects that will be required to make inroads throughout the country. Uniphore’s technologies for financial services are already being deployed by Basix-Sub-K, one of the leading transaction processing companies dedicated to the inclusion of those in India who are underserved by banks. This deployment involves integration with 5 Indian banks.

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