Our voice conveys much more than just verbal information. For instance, tonality reveals feelings, an accent relays our identity, and the way we talk can show how we think. “Your voice is your DNA,” Li Yatong, the founder and CEO of startup VoiceAI, told KrASIA.
Companies can also know more about their customers and employees by analyzing their voices with the help of software. Just like fingerprint detection and facial recognition, voiceprint technology is a “reliable and stable biometric” to verify people’s identity, according to Li.
Shenzhen-based VoiceAI, founded in 2016, provides AI-powered voice authentication systems and other intelligent voice solutions for businesses, including banks, insurance firms, and management firms. The company has also developed an AI-powered training program for customer service representatives, which teaches them how to use their voice tonality more effectively when speaking with customers who dial in.
One of the main use cases of VoiceAI’s tech is in the partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). In June 2020, ICBC rolled out a credit card fraud detection system powered by VoiceAI’s voiceprint technology.
Li said the company spent over two years refining its product for this program. “When customers call in, the bank can automatically confirm their identities through voiceprint technology. Banks can therefore prevent potential losses by blocking scammers from transferring money or changing passwords.”
Adapting the technology to be used by different clients is a challenging process, Li explained, as the trial and error process could take months, even years. The human voice is easily disturbed by surrounding noises and echoes, which affects voiceprint recognition. Accuracy could also be affected if people use different communication devices.
In September 2020, VoiceAI raised nearly RMB 100 million (USD 15.7 million) in a Series A funding round led by Forebright Capital. The fresh cash will be used for upgrading the company’s algorithms and increasing market presence. Li added that the current challenges for VoiceAI are to control costs, scale up production, and generate higher sales.
The company has also been expanding its reach overseas, providing voiceprint solutions to banks and fund management firms in Indonesia and Mexico, according to Li. One example is TASPEN, a state institution that manages Indonesian civil servants’ senior citizen insurance and pension programs.
VoiceAI was among the ten finalists of the Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator Hong Kong Demo Day that was held on December 14. “China is one of the most populated countries in the world, and there’s a massive amount of voice data for the company to explore. We believe we can be one of the few industry leaders in the near future,” Li said.