Fueled by security concerns – particularly those arising in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – the voice biometrics market is emerging as one of the fastest-growing technologies in IT, experts say.
According to researchers at London-based ABI Research, broad interest and investment in a variety of the technologies will lead to spending on biometrics worldwide over the next five years growing from nearly $3 billion in 2008 to $7.3 billion in 2013.
Zehu Technologies is one company that’s expected to contribute to, and benefit from, that impressive growth. As a start-up last year, as our own TMC Contributing Editor Susan J. Campbell reported, the Tel Aviv-based company, then known as CellMax Systems Ltd., signed a five-year distribution agreement with Multitek Corp. that’s seen its services deployed to the Panama region’s rapidly expanding call center sector.
“(The company’s) strength is in its focus on highly accurate identification and verification of the human voice for access control,” Campbell wrote. “The company’s product suite features a range of ID management and security applications for the telecom, financial and security markets that are tailored to individual client needs. The company positions these solutions as having unprecedented rates of accuracy.”
For its part, Zehu says its technology enables fraud prevention, identity theft and suspect location while offering smooth system integration and low-cost implementation.
“With a comprehensive suite of voice verification products, (Zehu) offers a trustworthy and cost-effective alternative to established authentication methods such as passwords, routine questions, and PIN numbers,” officials say. “Backed by a powerful network of global partners and system integrators, (Zehu) enables a wide range of solutions for banking, privacy and security, and defense and law enforcement.”
The company will be showcasing its wares in booth 247 at the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo next month. The event is being held Sept. 16 to 18 in Los Angeles.
Recently, I put some questions to Steven Tover, executive vice president of business operations for Zehu – mostly about his take on the future of telecom and about Zehu’s successes. Tover surprised me – and made me smile – by making some bold predictions that involved not Apple or Google or Microsoft, but the New York Yankees and New York Jets.
Here’s our exchange.
Rich Tehrani (News - Alert): What has been your company’s biggest achievement in 2008 so far?
Steven Tover: We were able to change the way we do business. This means that we were able to redefine ourselves as a company developing technologies for our OEM partners. We changed the way we viewed our place in the market and focused all of efforts to that end. All R&D is directed at creating the tools that enable our partners to more easily integrate our technology into their offerings. All support, including professional services, documentation and even customer access to information, has been revamped to allow for greater flexibility and usability.
RT: What can we expect to see for from your company for the next 12 months?
ST: A broader set of technologies and tools to enable our customers (OEMs) to more readily integrate our biometric authentic technology into their applications.
RT: How do you see the communications market evolving?
ST: We expect to see a convergence of telecommunications technology offerings with the growing social networking offerings, such as Facebook and MySpace (News - Alert). These applications will minimize communications barriers for both commercial and personal uses.
RT: What company made the biggest contribution to communications this year?
ST: TMC (News - Alert) : )
RT: How has Google changed our markets?
ST: Google has a strong intuition for practical applications that allow for easy implementation and migration from existing, more cumbersome systems. Their vision has changed the way people use the Internet for the better.
RT: How about Apple?
ST: They have shown that a company with a flexible approach to the market has the ability to remake itself by adjusting to the needs in the market. They recognized the demand for simpler, more reliable applications and focused their development and marketing on fulfilling their corporate vision.
RT: What mobile phone(s) do you use?
ST: Nokia (News - Alert) e71, Motorola Razor, Blackberry.
RT: Who will win in an Apple/RIM war?
ST: Business environment: RIM. Consumer environment: Apple.
RT: What do you think the communications market might look like in five years?
ST: People will only have one number for everything. All devices will be consolidated to simplify use for end-users.
RT: What will attendees see in your booth at ITEXPO this September?
ST: They will see a company that is expert in providing the market with the latest in biometric authentication technologies and tools.
RT: What sorts of companies should come to your exhibit?
ST: Any company that has a software application or hardware device that can benefit from an added biometric authentic module should visit us at the show. This would include: companies that offer IVR software or devices; telecom platforms or PBX (News - Alert); smart card companies; security companies; and time and attendance companies.
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions?
ST: Our philosophy is simple: Enable our OEM partners. This means that our development platform and products are designed to ensure simpler and faster integration into the applications of our customers.
RT: Make one surprising prediction for 2009.
ST: Yankees will win the pennant. New York Jets will win the Superbowl.
Learn more about Zehu Technologies at Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO will take place in Los Angeles, California, September 16-18, 2008, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Visit Zehu at booth #247 in the exhibit hall. Don’t wait. Register now!
Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world�s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.