“We are evolving towards voice interfaces, where biometrics have an enormous role to play”
Joaquín Cros is the founder of Biometric Vox, a technology startup which offers authentication and advanced electronic signature solutions through voice biometrics. The company was founded in Murcia (Spain) in 2015 to provide a solution to the identity theft of agricultural company employees.
In February, Biometric Vox raised 1 million euros in seed capital in a round led by InnoCells.
Where do the company’s origins lie?
The identification of employees in the agriculture sector is very difficult due to the work environment itself, which often causes the deletion of their digital fingerprints. Furthermore, facial biometrics do not respond well due to changes in light and iris biometrics are intrusive and very slow.
Has the initial objective been maintained?
The initial objective has been broadened through voice biometrics for other business environments and other products such as electronic voice signature, transcription, IVR (interactive voice response), etc.
What types of products do you offer?
We offer a range of products based on voice biometrics. These products are created based on machine learning techniques which are adaptable to each situation and customer.
One of these is CheckVox a biometric voice motor which enables the identification and/or verification of people through their voice, with more than 99% accuracy. It is a very flexible product and adaptable to diverse environments due to its “hostile” origin in the agricultural sector.
Also, FirVox is the first, and for now, the only platform which offers an advanced electronic voice signing service, through a telephone call, which is legally valid and backed by the European Agency of Digital Trust (EADTrust). Furthermore, it is built under European Regulation 910/2014 (eIDAS).
How is CheckVox used on a day to day basis?
CheckVox, as a biometric voice motor, can be used in a range of business environments. For example, in online gaming it prevents identity theft in the collection of prizes. In large security companies, it ensures that security guards are carrying out the correct shift.
It can also be used for distance identification of professionals who purchase/sell shares; and it can be integrated into a video intercom to verify the identification of the person requesting access to the building, etc.
What advantages does FirVox offer?
Voice signature is a huge step forwards in terms of legal guarantees offered for the signing of standard contracts over the telephone, using simple electronic signatures.
Furthermore, for the first time, the problem of “evidentiary symmetry” has arisen, as the undersigned can listen to their own granting of consent in the electronically signed document which they receive.
Are there any new developments on the horizon?
We are working on new solutions such as automated lip reading.
Looking to the future, we are working on vocal biometrics to offer solutions to scenarios which will materialise during the next few years. Today we are thinking about voice authentication through our smartphone, but tomorrow we could be talking about a household assistant or a robot.
This situation includes challenges such as being able to identify the user even if there is background noise or other people speaking at the same time, or that biometrics could be integrated into any device.
How are machine learning and artificial intelligence integrated in society?
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are present, almost without us realising, in many daily tasks: by choosing the most relevant results each time we carry out an online search or the selection of publications which could interest us the most in a social network.
At the same time, they are an incredible force of transformation in all sectors, from finance to retail, and this trend will continue in the next few years.
And voice biometrics?
In the last few years, we have moved from a keyboard and mouse setup to touch screens and, once again, we are evolving towards voice interfaces. Voice biometrics plays a huge role in this process.
For example, when we ask our device to play music or to switch off an alarm, voice biometrics will allow us to load our personalised reproduction list or will authorise or reject the disabling of the alarm. All of this in a natural and transparent manner.
What is the relationship like between startups and financial institutions?
Startups are new companies with advanced technology propositions and solutions, which, to a certain extent, have arrived to change the general public’s lives. On many occasions they require financial support which allows them to develop their research and products.
The relationship between startups and financial institutions could be based on collaboration, as is our case, but without doubt there are startups which represent direct competition with the banking business model. In our case, we create products which support financial institutions and their customers, offering security and speed in terms of access, operations and transactions.
InnoCells led a 1 million euro investment round in seed capital at Biometric Vox. Could you describe this process?
The agreement was simple and cordial thanks to the support and help of InnoCells, with whom we have a close and functional relationship.
We hope that this investment will allow Biometric Vox to become an internationally recognised company with a state of the art product.
What are the next objectives?
We would like to grow commercially in national and international markets (LATAM and United States) as well as focusing on research, development and the implementation of technologically advanced products, which would be a symbiosis of different technologies such as Blockchain, loT and biometrics.