With the way customers manage their money constantly evolving, innovation experts at Lloyds Bank have been exploring how voice recognition could potentially be used to carry out simple online banking activities.
As a result of developments incorporating voice recognition into mobiles and tablets, the technology is rapidly moving into the mainstream with many people already interacting with voice recognition to source information and voice biometrics, similar to other techniques relying on measurable physical characteristics – such as heartbeat – being more readily explored to authenticate customers across a broad range of organisations.
Applying these capabilities to banking, Lloyds has been exploring the key account information that could be useful for customers and how it could be obtained simply by talking to a device.
Lloyds has been exploring the voice recognition capabilities of the Amazon Echo in relation to its online banking service. The Echo—currently only available in the US—is a hands-free and voice-controlled device designed to fit seamlessly into the home.
The Echo was selected for the exploration by Lloyds because it is ‘always connected, ready, and fast’ with capabilities delivered through Alexa, the cloud-based voice service supporting the device. This means that the developers at Lloyds’ have been faced with a greater breadth of challenges and opportunities to explore how the device would be able to interface with the requirements for online banking.
Lloyds looked at how customers could potentially use voice recognition to securely log in to their online banking and ask simple questions to get real time information about their finances. The bank also considered how, once logged in, customers could check account and transaction information with just their voice.
Director of Innovation and Digital Development, Marc Lien said: “By being at the forefront of exploring technologies we can keep pace with the evolving expectations of our customers. This also means that we can future proof our products and services by considering how technologies may develop.
“We’re seeing technology being created with the ability to evolve and continue ‘getting smarter’, which is why exploring different devices as early as possible means we can better understand how features, such as voice recognition, could be used to make banking even more convenient and efficient for users.”
Convenience is just one of the potential benefits that voice recognition could offer. More significantly, while voice recognition has the potential to help a broad range of people, it is those who have sight or mobility issues that could realise the most positive impacts.
There are around 360,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK and using speech to interact with the organisations they do business with – including their banks – could have a significant impact.
Marc adds: “Through a broad range of biometrics, including voice recognition, we are exploring potential new and convenient ways that our customers may want to bank with us in the future. Some of our customers cannot enjoy the full benefits of online banking and understanding how we can break down accessibility barriers is another way in which we are working towards becoming the best bank for customers. Whilst we’re not opening up any voice recognition features to customers currently, it is an area that we continue to explore and will look to identify specific use cases for in the future.”