Solutions | Partners | Corporate | Contact Us

This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
Location :: c_corporate/news

About Vocalis
Latest News
News Archives
Investor Relations
Key Personnel
Privacy Policy

28th September 1999

Nationwide Uses Vocalis Technology in World First Speech Verification Trial

Vocalis, the international speech technology Group, is providing the technology for the world's first customer trial of speaker verification (SV) over the telephone for financial services, being conducted by Nationwide, the world’s largest building society.

The trials form part of an EC research project into SV, PICASSO (PIoneering Caller Authentication for Secure Service Operation), which aims to develop a new generation of telephone-based enquiry systems. These will combine accurate customer authentication using SV with intuitive, easy to use interfaces that recognise natural speech and allow users to carry out a wide range of tasks.

SV can confirm the identity of callers by analysing the way they pronounce some elements of speech, such as vowels and certain words, which are unique to each individual. This is one form of ‘biometric recognition’, other examples being iris recognition and fingerprint recognition. Nationwide has been a pioneer of such techniques – it ran the world's first public trial of iris recognition technology in a cash machine last year.

The Nationwide trials, starting today and lasting for six months, are taking place at the Isle of Man call centre of the Society's offshore subsidiary, Nationwide International. Customers have already been informed about the trials and will be given a toll-free telephone number. When they call, the system asks them to key in their account number and speak a service access number. As they speak it, the Vocalis SV technology analyses their speech to ensure their vocal patterns match pre-stored templates, and checks that they have given the right number, and so confirms their identity.

Paul Feldman, head of group services at Nationwide, said of the trial: "There is no doubt that call centre software has the potential to significantly streamline call handling procedures in the future, making the process quicker and easier for the customer. We are keen to assess the accuracy and reliability of speech verification technology, as well as our customers' reaction to it. If the trial scores positively on both these counts, then we will look to trial it in one of our major mainland call centres subsequently.At Nationwide we have a record of using technology in innovative ways. This trial - like our trial of iris recognition technology in cash machines - is another example of that."

As SV technology matures, the aim is that it will reside on the call centre’s server, incorporated directly into end users’ applications, and be tightly integrated with speech recognition processing.

"Ultimately, SV software such as that being deployed by Vocalis for the Nationwide has the potential to make identification and authorisation both more consistent and more efficient over the telephone." said Mike Williams, Business Development Director for Vocalis. "These trials further establish Vocalis as a world leader in the area of speech technologies as we continue to strive forward with new leading edge solutions."


Picasso is an on-going EC research project, which follows a previous SV project, CAVE (CAller Verification). Picasso has three elements, with the various partners concentrating on different areas: applications in telecommunications services, banking and finance, and developments in speech processing, including speech recognition as well as verification. An important feature of Picasso is the inclusion of new commercial partners from the telecommunications and financial services industries, such as the Nationwide. That is because the aim is to deliver prototypes that match as closely as possible the concerns and requirements of end users in these areas.

About Vocalis

Vocalis works with organisations to create contact centre solutions that build the organisations business and brands. These solutions can turn your contact centre from a cost to a profit centre by ensuring it builds your brand, helps your business be more competitive, and increases customer loyalty through more effective and efficient service. Vocalis was formed in 1993, is publicly traded on FTSE Stock Market and has been listed since July 1996. Vocalis brings back the reassurance of the most personal human touch in business - putting voice to work.

The Vocalis Website is at

Email: [email protected]

For further Vocalis Group information, contact:

Rebecca Knight Philippa Buttle
QBO Vocalis Group plc
22 Endell Street
Covent Garden
Chaston House
Mill Court
Gt Shelford
Tel: 020 7379 0304 Tel: 01223-846177
Fax: 020 7497 2533 Fax: 01223-846178
Email:[email protected] Email:[email protected]

© 2003 Vocalis Group plc. This site is built to work with Web Standard browsers.
For further info click here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Location :: c_corporate/news