Speak Up to Authenticate Your Identity!: Anorag K Bhandarkar

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Anorag K Bhandarkar, Head Channel Sales - South Asia, Nuance Communications

The voice biometric authentication system is not all that common in India, but it has been growing faster than we ever imagined, says Anorag K Bhandarkar, Head Channel Sales – South Asia, Nuance Communications, in conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of Elets News Network (ENN)

Kindly share the journey of Nuance Communications in the Indian market.

Nuance is a very prominent name in the voice biometric authentication space worldwide. In India, we have a group of people who are working in the back office to support the brand’s daily functioning. About 60 per cent of Nuance’s business is enterprise and mobility. The rest is healthcare. Within the enterprise segment we’ve banking and financial services, BPOs, e-commerce, Aviation and others. On the mobility side, we have OEM’s and brands like Apple, Samsung and others and smart device manufacturers. The contribution that we make to aviation industry can be broadly classified under three categories – customer experience, mobility and virtual agents.

Nuance is a company in technology space, having its existence for last seven years in the Indian market. It contributes to the industry where disruption, transformation, innovation, automation are happening in a compelling way. Though government sector was running a little behind all other segments for tech implementation in its daily operation, however with the new government and its revised agenda to reach out to masses with tech implementation has gained momentum in the tech implementation space. Our initial success is being switchification and modernization of IVR. This technology is adopted by financial institution and banks in a big way and by eCommerce and B2C companies.

How would you describe the presence of Nuance Communications in the Indian market? 

India has been a growing market for us both from revenue and new customer’s perspective. Besides, it’s important to identify that Nuance itself has also grown into a bigger brand with increasing set and size, tapping new customers and bringing in new set of products and services for the market to vouch on. Most of our customers are adapting to mobility in a big way. The change in the trend from desktop and laptops to hand-held devices that serve the same purpose has been tapped well by our customers and by us and there are various ways through which we have added value.

One of the used cases for us in Indian market is the voice biometric. Surprisingly, this technology has not only touched the enterprise but also the government sector in a big way. This technology replaces the traditional and analog methods of authentication with OTP, last four digits of one’s credit/debit cards, or Date of Birth etc with voice authentication. The technology takes ones voice print into the server so that when you’re accessing to the application, you get authenticated by your voice. This method is considered the second most non-vulnerable asset to establish once identity after retina scan or thumb biometric.

What is the USP of Nuance Communications that it vouches on when it comes to acquiring new set of customers?

There are two aspects that our customers really feel excited about when it comes to technology adaptation. Firstly, that they see their peers in the global market are really making distinct footprints in the sector. Secondly, how in a tangible form they are impacting the customer experience. Thus, they start looking for such technologies all over the space. Nuance has enjoyed the leadership in business since its inception. It’s the brand name that comes in our customer’s mind when it comes to voice bio to metric authentication. We have channels and management consultants who help customers to make decisions about these transformative changes to be more digital. We largely empower digital initiatives of banks, government, telecoms, aviation, e-commerce etc.

The voice biometric authentication is probably the latest innovation in our kitty which has been growing faster than we probably imagined. Technology always has that aspect of surprising us in either way

What latest innovations one can expect Nuance Communications to introduce in the market in the near future?

The voice biometric authentication is probably the latest innovation in our kitty which has been growing faster than we probably imagined. Technology always has that aspect of surprising us in either way. This time we are riding on the positive side. Few years ago we had 20 million voice biometric customers which are currently about 115 millions. In just two years, the figures made a significant break-through, meaning the customer understands the value and is willing to introduce it in their ecosystem bio to make a difference in their tech-surroundings. We have acquired new customer base in the enterprise sector including banks, e-commerce, aviation segment etc., besides which we are keen to witness government sector also taking interest in the adaptation of this technology in their ecosystem.

Did you face challenges while operating in the Indian market?

Certainly, we did. Every market is a unique market and we being a global organisation use a model to acquire the market to the best of our capacity. In India, we faced a mutual challenge of detecting voice accurately on a variety of environment. Matching this with the software gets difficult when it comes to authenticating a specific user. Besides, awareness about this technology in rural parts of the country has also been a major challenge for our operations.

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