Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A collection of common questions and concerns related to voice biometric technology

You may also want to check our Glossary
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Accuracy and Reliability

The accuracy of voiceprints is comparable to that of fingerprints and other commonly used biometrics. VBG regularly tunes verification systems to 96-99% accuracy levels. The VMM-3 voice biometric engine uses both physiological and behavioral characteristics of your voice to create a unique voiceprint. And since a majority of these characteristics tend to be consistent over time, they can be accurately measured under varying conditions.

Yes. The VMM-3 voice biometric engine models many different vocal features. Our scoring system models and scores each and every feature individually and adds them up into a composite score. So, if there are small changes to a few features, such as might occur with a cold or allergies, the overall score can still be accurate (and the user properly verified).

This is extremely unlikely. A person’s voice is unique to them. And while some professional mimics and comedians might seem to sound like someone else, the VMM-3 voice biometric engine measures and scores vocal characteristics that a human being cannot hear (or recreate). Further, many client applications use random prompting techniques to help eliminate prior knowledge of what will be requested.

In most cases VBG's audio analysis and filtering tools can handle background noise, allowing the VMM-3 voice biometric engine to process speech samples without issue. When noise levels are too high however, the VBG System responds back to the client application so that it can re-prompt the user accordingly. As a general rule, users should be able to speak comfortably from a location with typical noise. Users should avoid loud and noisy areas that are crowded (sporting events, bars, concerts, etc.), as there will be too much audio information for the VBG System to reliably process.

Yes. People typically have access to several different devices, so it is impractical to require users to only use one. The VBG System was designed to accept audio from any application source (IVR system, cell phones, PC or device microphone, etc.). And while it is true that the best results typically occur when a user enrolls and verifies using the same device, VBG's tuning process uses sophisticated statistical models to help normalize the variations that occur between different audio sources.

Data Protection

VBG takes the collection of personally identifiable information (PII) very seriously. We only collect speech samples (source WAV audio) which we use to process into voiceprints, or to compare to stored voiceprints during verify and identify events

For clients using our optional content-checking or automatic speech recognition (ASR) features, we may also collect content descriptions for the speech samples that are sent to us. And, if our clients and partners are using VBG's integrated IVR system, the use of outbound calling requires that telephone numbers be sent to us.

Personal data can only be sent to the system via VBG's secure APIs, which require an account code and API access token. We further require all clients and partners to use HTTPS to transmit data to us. Once data is received in the VBG System, it is either discarded from memory or written to our secure database. Any personally identifiable information (PII) that is stored in VBG's database is encrypted using AES-256 encryption under FIPS 140-2 guidance.

Engine Details

VBG does not license any technology from 3rd parties. The VMM-3 voice biometric engine and VBG Platform were created entirely by the voice biometric engineers, system architects, and developers at VBG. Our core team has years of experience in voice biometric engineering, digital signal processing, and software development.

The VMM-3 engine contains a number of different machine learning algorithms, such as GMM, SVM, and i-Vector. The VMM-3 engine also includes newer "deep learning" techniques, such as convolutional networks and bi-directional LSTM networks.

Different algorithms are better suited to different use cases, and also depend on how much training data is available to tune the system. VBG works with our clients and partners to configure the VMM-3 engine with the optimal algorithm for their particular circumstances.

The VMM-3 engine supports standard WAV audio files with headers. Acceptable forms include: PCM, u-Law, and a-Law. Your audio files should be mono (single channel) and only include speech from one speaker. Files can be 8-bit or 16-bit and either 8kHz or 16kHz.

NOTE: the vast majority of available speech information can be determined from 16-bit, 16kHz samples, so anything more than this will not really buy you much in the way of accuracy. Hence, we do not accept higher resolution files. There is also storage space to consider when scaling and managing very large deployments, so using optimal file formats is critical in these situations.

Partner Support

VBG does not currently have a formal partner program, but will be launching one in 2019. However, we do have many partners globally and have many of the expected components of a partner program, such as: partner pricing discounts, partner resale agreements, partner technology training and support documentation, marketing support documents, meeting preparation and presentation assistance, etc.

The most successful VBG partners actually use our technology, either to develop custom applications for their clients, or to embed and host within their own products and services, or to combine with their own products and services for resale. VBG currently has no pure "resale only" partners.

Pricing Information

VBG Enterprise™ customers can choose between monthly subscription plans or licensing. Subscriptions are available regardless of whether clients deploy on-premise or use VBG's Hosting System. Licenses are only available for on-premise deployments. There is a 12-month minimum term commitment for any VBG Enterprise™ deployment.

VBG Pro™ customers can only use VBG's Hosting System and are provided with a self-serve, pay-as-you-go pricing model. You just pay for verifications (enrollments are free), and simply top-off your account whenever your balance is low. Top-off amounts start at $20.

Regardless of product or deployment option, VBG offers volume discounts. For subscriptions, the higher the monthly commitment, the lower the per-request price. For licenses, the more users purchased, the lower the per-user price. And for pay-as-you-go, the larger the top-off amount, the lower the per-request price.

VBG provides 60-day free trials for any prospective customers of VBG Enterprise™. Free trials are provided in the VBG Hosting System only, but can be configured for any language and use case that we support. Prospective clients in North America can also test VBG's integrated telephony and IVR services, with inbound or outbound calls also provided free. International prospects are not eligible for outbound calls, but we are often able to provide inbound numbers for testing after a 1-week provisioning period.

For our VBG Pro™ service, all new accounts are provided with 100 free verification requests (enrollments are free). After this, the minimum $20 top-off level can be used to extend testing if desired.

Other Topics

Yes. If you do not want to want you use the VBG Hosting System, you can deploy on-premises. VBG currently has private deployments in 8 different countries. And, if you prefer a public cloud such as Alibaba Cloud, Amazon AWS, or Microsoft Azure - we've got production deployments in each of these company's facilities too.

Yes. In fact, VBG does not have its own IVR system either. We maintain relationships with several hosted telephony and IVR service providers. So, if you need these services to collect audio for your applications, we can help match you to the right service provider. And just as our clients' applications use us for voice biometric services, these same applications can integrate to any number of external platforms for telephony and IVR needs.

It is also important to note that the VBG Platform can accept audio from almost any source. Currently, we have clients providing us with audio from IVR systems, call centers, mobile applications, WebRTC, Bluetooth speakers, medical devices, and IoT devices in homes. As long as you supply us with a standard WAV file format (PCM, u-Law, or a-Law), we should be able to process voice biometric requests for you.

Due to VBG's comprehensive security protocols, it is extremely unlikely that any voiceprint will ever be stolen or hijacked. However, if a voiceprint were to find its way outside of the VBG Platform, absolutely nothing would happen! There are a couple important reasons why.

First, VBG's voiceprints are essentially mathematical models of how a person speaks. VBG uses a proprietary format, so only VBG's system can interpret and use them. And second, voice biometric systems work by submitting speech samples to them -- not by submitting voiceprints to them. So, a voiceprint cannot be submitted directly to VBG's system, nor to any competitor's system.

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