Kenyan carrier deploys voice biometrics
11 December 2017 16:35 GMT

Kenya’s Safaricom has introduced a dynamic voice biometrics system that will enable customers of the telecoms firm to access services.

Safaricom’s voice biometrics system known as 'Jitambulishe' allows customers to use their voices for authentication before accessing assisted services such as resetting M-PESA PIN, and PUK requests, significantly cutting down the steps a customer goes through before they are assisted.

The bank says use of a unique voiceprint for enrolled customers will further reduce fraud and identity theft. The encryption process will ensure no reverse engineering can be used to hack into the system and pose as another person.

Voice recordings are not stored - which means Safaricom’s usual strict protection of customer data is upheld.

“We are redesigning our customer care approach to remain in line with shifting trends in the market and to take advantage of emerging technologies. The introduction of Voice Biometrics will be a major step towards reducing fraud and identity theft, providing us with ways to serve our customers even better.” said Joseph Ogutu, Director – Strategy, Safaricom.

To activate the service, the customer’s voice patterns are captured and used to create a unique “voiceprint” (similar in concept to a fingerprint), storing it as a secure string of numbers and characters. These attributes help identify and verify callers when they call for customer care. “Our contact centre agents spend a greater portion of their call time verifying customers over phone. The introduction of this service will ensure that customers get faster and more accurate services. We anticipate that the number of fraud incidents shall also reduce as a result,” said Ogutu.