Some companies (and some people) have a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
TradeHarbor, a voice authentication company, has been around since 1999, working with the financial and healthcare industries and with national defense clients. But the company exhibited at a CableLabs Innovation Showcase in Colorado for this first time earlier this year. And at its first cable event, its CEO made a meaningful connection on the programming side.
Paul Heirendt, president and CEO of TradeHarbor, said he met Brad Hunt, former CTO of the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA). Hunt has since become a special advisor to TradeHarbor and is introducing Heirendt at Hollywood studios.
"The motion picture industry has been looking for a way to implement secure parental controls and remote access of high value content by authentication of the user for nearly a decade," said Hunt, in a prepared statement. "TradeHarbor’s VSS can enable these services while preserving the privacy of the person."?
Voice Signature Service (VSS) is used for remote authentication over the telephone or Internet devices. For service providers, it could be used for TV Everywhere authentications.
For a subscriber to authenticate to the application, he’s asked to say four things when he enrolls, such as "black coffee or "George Washington." This interaction with VSS provides the end user’s voice signature. No specialized equipment is required. The interaction works over the telephone or through devices, such as the iPad, using the speakers on the device.
"It’s like a fingerprint of your speech," said Heirendt. The cable operator would use the telephone number and last four digits of the sub’s social security number, to create an abstracted number from that. "We get a blinded identity client that’s unique," he said. "We enroll a voice to that identity client."
Besides TV Everywhere authentications, VSS also can be used by customer service departments. Heirendt said his company worked with an MSO to record and time nearly 100 calls with clients for the authentication portion of the call. With a live operator, the process took from 45 seconds to 2 minutes. With the VSS, it took nine seconds.
TradeHarbor is offering a "Quick Start" program for cable MSOs and content providers that includes free use of its VSS and free integration support. In addition, the company is meeting with six major studios to try and get their buy-in.
Heirendt said he’s learned from other industries that it works best if he facilitates his product with all the different stakeholders.
"It’s the chicken and egg," he said. "We found the same thing in the credit card business. You have to talk to the credit cards, like Visa, and also to the credit card issuers. They all have to move in parallel. We’re working both ends and some in the middle as well."