Nuance, makers of Siri, just introduced the world to their latest muse, “Nina.” Though the two apparently sound the same, Nuance has added “voice biometrics” to Nina’s list of talents as a voice-activated personal assistant. Like Siri, Nina identifies spoken phrases, but the difference is, Nina can tell who is speaking. Nuance explains that this means that Nina could work as an authentication tool, using voice ID instead of typed passwords. For example, when AllThingsD tested the app, Nina would only allow the one registered speaker to sign into its demo banking app. Nuance is letting Nina loose with a software development kit–a first for the company–giving developers the ability to integrate the software into mobile apps that use voice-activated customer service. This expands beyond Siri’s coverage area, which falls primarily within Apple’s own selection of apps. Nuance will pilot test Nina in August with the USAA, which provides banking facilities for the U.S. military. The plan is to give all USAA members access to Nina on their Android and iOS USAA apps early next year.
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