Since the last decade, the technological arena has witnessed a drastic transformation. Having led the world to a new realm, many organizations have been behind this transformation. Auraya is one such organization that is developing the next-generation voice biometric technology that delivers an easy-to-use yet highly secure authentication capability. Led by CEO Ray Doak & President Paul Magee, Auraya has been offering innovative solutions allowing partners to provide frictionless and seamless customer experience and improved digital security using machine learning algorithms and patented features such as automated tuning process, speaker-specific thresholds, and background models, impostor mapping, synthetic voice detection and voice collection process from browsers. Incorporated in 2010, Auraya has a multinational presence across Australia, New Zealand, United States, and the United Kingdom.
In an interview with Perceptivx, CEO Ray Doak shared some key insights into Auraya’s journey towards success, the milestones it has achieved, and the optimistic future it looks forward to.
PerceptivX (P): What is Auraya and how was it conceived?
Ray Doak (R): “Auraya is a highly focused, yet creative organization that develops voice biometric technology. It brings together the best scientists and industry experts from around the world to build the best voice intelligence that delivers digital identity capabilities. Auraya is a world leader in voice intelligence with the mission of empowering people and organizations to interact and engage with convenience and security through voice biometrics. Auraya was born out of the desire of the founders to solve three major problems that legacy voice biometric technologies suffer from. These three problems were usability, security, and simplicity. Hence, Auraya created ArmorVox, its next-gen voice biometric engine, and EVA, its voice biometric solution templates.”
(P): Can you tell us a bit about your product line?
(R): “ArmorVox, Auraya’s voice biometric AI enables a full suite of voice biometric capabilities in any language and any channel, helping improve security and convenience in digital identity applications. Auraya’s voice intelligence includes voice trait analysis which assists organizations to identify emotions and characteristics about the people that are interacting in all voice channels. Through its machine learning algorithms and patented features, ArmorVox enables organizations to identify and verify users through simply using their voice. ArmorVox also helps organizations identify and flag fraudsters through synthetic voice protection, playback protection, and fast cross-matching against a fraudster or persons of interest list. EVA is Auraya’s suite of solution templates, which are powered by ArmorVox’s AI engine. EVA Web is a second-factor voice biometric authentication for web browsers and apps. EVA Web allows organizations to verify users in all digital channels ensuring that the authorized user is accessing services and providing a unique digital signature that confirms an authorized transaction. EVA Web is available and supported on Auth0, Okta, and Ping Identity Marketplaces. EVA Forensics provides real-time fraud detection capabilities, allowing organizations to identify fraudulent callers or callers of special interest, whether it is during a voice, bot interaction or whilst talking to an agent. Organizations can create custom lists of persons of special interest and alerts, run scheduled or real-time cross-matching tasks, and use forensic analytics tools to identify fraudsters. EVA Contact Center is an on-premise, cloud-based or hybrid voice biometric extension for contact center platforms. Organizations can deploy EVA into various existing platforms such as AVAYA, Genesys, 8×8, Twilio, Amazon Connect or Five9 for secure and frictionless IVR identity verifications.”
(P): Primarily, what market do you focus on? Tell us a bit about your technological partners and your customers?
(R): “Auraya’s target markets are organizations of all sizes in the financial services, government, health services, retail services, and telecom markets. To serve these markets, Auraya works with technology partner organizations that deploy, customize and support ArmorVox and EVA into the client’s ecosystem. Some of Auraya’s global partner organizations are Accenture, Deloitte, PwC, Connect Managed Services, and ECS, Convai, Unisys, and Fujitsu. Some of Auraya’s notable customers are KPMG, State Street Bank, Government of Canada, Vodafone, Telstra, OFX, Acquire BPO, NSW Health, New Zealand Government, and Bank of New Zealand. Auraya has many highly valued partnerships as well. For example, Auraya has a special relationship with Amazon Connect as a voice biometric ISV (independent software vendor). Amazon Connect customers can simply activate EVA from the Amazon Marketplace and start consuming a powerful voice biometric capability with consumption fees simply added to their monthly AWS service fee. Similarly, Auraya’s long-term membership of the Genesys Appfoundry enables Genesys customers to add voice biometric capability to their customer communication channels. The recent addition of EVA Web capability to Auth0, PingFederate, and Okta enables any organization using these industry-leading identity and access management systems to simply turn on and start using EVA Web as an authenticating ‘factor’ in their multi-factor authentication process.”
(P): How does Auraya innovate?
(R): “The team at Auraya are highly motivated specialists driven by a desire to be the best in the world in our chosen specialty. The open collaboration within the team is underpinned by a high degree of trust and respect for each other and a commitment to the shared vision. The team works collaboratively to build a unique artificial intelligence that allows a human voice to be a powerful, secure, convenient key to accessing services and identifying voice traits. Celebrating and rewarding success at a team and individual level is an important ingredient in building and sustaining the team, however, real progress in creativity is also achieved by recognizing and rewarding the new learning that occurs when an innovative idea is tried and found not to work as hoped. Success comes from bold creative attempts of innovation, not incrementalism. High levels of trust and respect enable bold ideas to be experimented with and occasional dramatic breakthroughs that enable true category leadership to be created and maintained.”
(P): How well is the company positioned for growth? How secure is voice biometric identity verification as compared to other biometric authentication methods?
(R): “The voice biometric market has been on the edge of huge growth for three decades. The leadership team at Auraya have stood on the precipice of this opportunity learning, growing, and delivering valuable outcomes to organizations and their customers who have adopted voice biometric solutions which has led to improved ability for consumers to get access conveniently yet securely to services without needing to remember and recite pins, passwords, or answers to secret questions. While the evolution of other forms of biometrics such as fingerprint and face recognition on smartphones has propelled the advantages of voice biometrics to the forefront and now, we are more excited than ever at the opportunity that exists to deliver world-leading voice intelligence to make security, convenience, and efficiency in traditional and emerging customer service channels. In time, Auraya’s AI will not only reveal a person’s identity but provide information about their mood, their age, their language of origin, their preferences about products and services, and even insights into their health.
Voice biometrics will be a key factor and form part of the arsenal to mitigate threats from bad actors. Finger, face, one-time passcodes, knowledge-based passwords are all stored on the device that you use. To achieve a real multi-factor “out of band” security, voice can be captured conveniently using the device microphone and securely posted to a secure vault to ensure that the correct device is being used to display the correct one-time passcode which is spoken by the authorized individual. This true MFA process which is not just a device-based process will enable secure yet convenient transaction or access verification. This explains why voice biometrics is moving from a contact center-centric technology to a trusted factor that improves security and privacy in all channels. For example, we are all a bit frustrated with the requirement to get a one-time passcode from our phone or email to enable a transaction on a website. Voice biometrics is now being used where a user is simply asked to touch a microphone icon on the screen and say the digits that are displayed. This stops us from fumbling around for different apps or devices and we can easily confirm that the authorized person is verifying the transaction. Our EVA web solution offers this capability as it is already integrated into the leading identity access management platforms like Okta, PingFederate, Auth0, and others.”
(P): What impact has the pandemic had on Auraya, and what does the future hold?
(R): “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work and interact with organizations, both as employees and consumers. We have adapted along with others and are working remotely and interacting in a manner where face-to-face transactions are declining. We are also seeing an increase in fraud such as ransomware and account takeover and other cyber threats. Governments are also increasing the level of privacy protection regulations to address an increased desire for more consumer privacy. Not all this is caused by COVID-19 but it has accelerated some of these trends. These trends are driving more adoption of voice biometric technology that protects the identity and makes digital identity easier to secure. Going ahead, our plan is to further develop and expand the global reach of our technology suite that underpins voice biometric solutions to improve security and user convenience and organizational efficiency.”