Product Manager Voice biometrics
“Today, the most advanced electronic signature that exists, the qualified signature, is composed of a file and a password, something that can be lost or stolen. With my voice this does not happen; no one can sign for me. Biometrics gives us certainty,” said Eduardo Azanza, CEO and founder of Veridas, in a webinar on voice biometrics held last Thursday, which reviewed the real benefits that this technology brings to companies and society in general. Moderated and produced by Llorente y Cuenca, the event was also attended by Juan Francisco Losa, Chief Technology Security Officer at BBVA, Eduardo Martinez, Twilio’s Sales Director for Southern Europe, and Angel Moreu, Chief Business Innovation Officer at Grupo Oesía.
It was especially interesting to learn first-hand how BBVA is already using this technology in its contact center in Mexico: “With voice biometrics we are already getting elderly people to give proof of life with their voice, without the need to go to the branch in person. Biometrics solves many use cases for us, in a more human and much safer way,” said Juan Francisco Losa, who also confirmed its implementation for the contact center in Spain in the coming months. This is just one of the many relevant projects that BBVA has launched together with the Navarre-based company in recent years: “In addition to cost savings and improved security, the technological capabilities provided by Veridas allow us to enable new businesses that were unthinkable four years ago,” emphasized Losa.
And that is precisely the reason why Veridas was founded back in 2017, as Azanza recalled, “At Veridas, when we started four years ago, we identified that the first barrier to digital transformation is identity. If we don’t know who is on the other side of the screen or on the other side of the phone, then we have a plastic digital transformation, of little entity. On the other hand, if I know who I am dealing with, I can raise the level of the transaction I make“.
Angel Moreu also shared this reflection, speaking of the importance of betting on national technology and putting it at the service of society: “Knowing who is on the other side enables disruptive business models. Omnichannel only makes sense if we know who is on the other side of the digital world” and added: “The interaction with your customer becomes much friendlier because there is no longer friction during communication with your company. This technology is not only speed and efficiency, it invites you to improve internal and external business processes and relationships.”
Within this wave of digitalization, which has been greatly accelerated by the pandemic, the tendency of companies to personalize the services offered is becoming increasingly palpable. Customers are no longer satisfied with generalized solutions; they choose the options that best suit their needs, making them feel, to a certain extent, unique and irreplaceable. And this is the idea behind the most successful technology companies of the moment, one of which was present at the webinar through its Sales Director for Southern Europe, Eduardo Martinez: “This is Twilio’s approach: to offer solutions in an open way so that you can choose the solutions you need and build your user experience on them, being able to customize everything you want dynamically“.
In order to make this personalization a reality, there is no doubt that the first mandatory step is to recognize the subject we are addressing. If we are not certain that the person with whom we are interacting is who he or she claims to be, we will not be able to deploy the solutions and services prepared for him or her. And this is where biometrics, in its task of identifying individuals remotely on the basis of attributes inherent to the person himself, plays an essential role. This is how Twilio put it: “Voice biometrics plays a fundamental role in humanizing technologies. It is much easier to identify yourself using your voice than on a screen by inserting a username and password“.
For biometric technology to be implemented and thus improve the lives of a company’s customers or a country’s citizens, an accompanying regulatory framework is needed. In this regard, Eduardo Azanza reminded us that on April 21 the European Commission issued the proposal for the regulation of artificial intelligence with the aim of becoming mandatory regulation in all EU countries and where it specifically talks about biometrics.
And it is precisely in the adaptation of the regulatory framework of each country where Spain continues to play a very important role, as it did a few years ago: “There has been a very important advance in Spain in the last two months, which I would say has been the most important advance in the last ten years in relation to the regulation of biometrics. And in that sense our country is being a leader now just as it was in 2016 with SEPBLAC, when BBVA led the way in opening current accounts remotely” assured Azanza.
There is a lot of literature on the possible risks that biometrics can bring to society. Fears based on the scandals that we as a society have experienced in relation to technology and the misuse that certain organizations, both public and private, have made of it. For all these reasons, Veridas insisted on strict compliance with regulations as a guarantee of the protection of individual rights and privacy: “Biometrics is being linked to certain myths that are not true. The artificial intelligence-based biometrics technology developed by Veridas converts the face or voice of a person into an irreversible biometric vector, not even by another engine or even by our own. In addition to designing the technology in this private and secure way, we comply with all the Spanish and European regulatory requirements and those of other countries where we operate“
And it is that compliance with the regulation is vital for software creators such as Veridas, integrators such as Oesía, communication platforms such as Twilio or large financial institutions such as BBVA, as Juan Francisco Losa assured: “The regulation has to be adjusted but all the participants must be transparent“.
Another barrier that companies could encounter when incorporating these solutions was the high cost of such cutting-edge technologies. But with cloud models such as Veridas or Twilio, these barriers are completely blurred. “Our business model is very democratic: if you use it a lot, you pay more, and if you don’t, you pay less. In this way, we also make technology available to small companies, since projects can be started up very lightly and then scale up as far as you want” insisted Eduardo Azanza.
After all, and in the words of Angel from Grupo Oesía: “Any company that has a contact center can use voice biometrics since it is consumed per use. The key is to find a use case that is really beneficial. It is not necessary to have a very advanced digitalization to implement this technology in any company”.