Nuance Communications, Inc. today announced that it has provided the University of York with voice biometrics software solutions for use within the University’s new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses in Forensic Speech Science. The courses are aimed at scientists and public sector professionals looking to enhance their knowledge and practical skills in speech analysis. The software will also be available to graduate students studying for the University’s MSc in Forensic Speech Science and for postgraduate research more generally.
The CPD courses were launched this week with the first cohort of participants drawn from law enforcement agencies, public and private sector laboratories and speech scientists from other universities seeking to extend their knowledge and skill sets. The courses are designed as intensive theoretical and practical three-day programmes where students learn about and use voice biometrics technology to better analyse speech in criminal cases.
The University’s year-long MSc course, which is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world, focuses on the application of linguistics, phonetics and acoustics in investigations and legal proceedings. It enables postgraduate students, including practitioners within the public sector, to get a grounding in theory and hands-on experience with using the latest technology available in this area. Technological solutions are increasingly being used alongside established methods to quickly and accurately filter large volumes of data and to subsequently speed up casework.
Dr Peter French, Professor of Forensic Speech Science in the Dept of Language & Linguistic Science, University of York and Chairman at JP French Associates commented: “Nuance is recognised as a market leader in research and development in this area. Its automatic speaker comparison technology facilitates investigations by allowing large volume comparisons of recordings. The process is extremely time-efficient and the user interfaces of the software are highly intuitive and user-friendly.”
Dr Dominic Watt, Senior Lecturer of Forensic Speech Science in the Dept of Language & Linguistic Science, University of York and Chair of the Departmental Communications Group said: “We work hard to ensure that our courses are relevant for careers in industry and aim to provide students with the skills they need to succeed in their profession. The new CPD courses and MSc programme are tailored to the needs of the forensic, law enforcement and government sectors. On these courses you won’t just be sitting in a lecture hall taking notes; you’ll get to work on real case materials and see how technology can help identify individuals more quickly.”
Dr Dunstan Brown, Professor of Linguistics and Head of the Dept of Language & Linguistic Science, University of York noted: “We are thrilled to be using the voice biometrics software from Nuance, which will provide for us an important new aspect of our training and research programmes.”
Brian Redpath, Public Sector Director at Nuance Communications, concluded: “Forensic speech analysis is a powerful tool for the public sector assisting professionals in various casework activities. In the hands of trained personnel, this technology will enable improved productivity during both the investigatory stage and during preparation for trial. I am delighted that the University of York will include the use of Nuance voice biometrics, enabling postgraduate students and industry professionals to enhance their skills by embracing our technology.”
In the general population voice biometrics has become an accepted form of authentication as well, one which has proven to be both secure and convenient. Opus Research’s latest voice biometrics census, completed in July 2016, shows dramatic growth in enrollments (more than 137 million globally), signaling voice as a ubiquitous, highly personalised authentication factor with the capability to combine command and control with identification and access management. Voice biometrics technology has indeed been embraced worldwide, and in the UK in particular has increasingly been deployed by a number of UK organisations to not only provide a more secure and seamless authentication experience, but also to reduce Fraud. Organisations like First Direct, TalkTalk and Barclays have rolled out voice biometrics to millions of UK citizens over the past several months alone.