Voice Authentication Meets Smart Homes

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voice securityEverything is getting “smart” these days. Basically every device you can think of out there can be connected to the web, stream music and play back videos, serve as a means of communication, etc… To that end, we’re now in a time when those same devices are being developed to become, well, smarter and take on tasks that were once only perceived to be the things of science fiction novels and movies. Case in point: The ability to use voice authentication technology in our homes.

For those unfamiliar with the terminology, voice authentication is the ability to use one’s voice to accomplish specific tasks, such as opening a door, turning on a light, or powering down a computer. While there is already software capable of achieving some of these tasks—head to Nuance for more information on theirs—one company is hoping to be the leader when it comes to bringing this home. In an article in the Sun-Sentinel, it’s revealed that the company in question is ADT.

The home security giant is reported to have started “strategizing like a start-up” after 140 years in the industry. In other words, they’re becoming more innovative and not sitting idly by while their competitors find a way to trump their technology. Actually, speaking of those competitors, they’re looking to partner with them instead of battling them. The aforementioned article notes that they are teaming up with startup incubators in hot spots like Silicon Valley and New York City in addition to South Florida. Not only that, but ADT is going for agreements with bigger companies, too.

One such company is Verizon Wireless, which dropped its own ADT-like services earlier this year. And in seeing that, one financial advisor said he expects the two to join forces in February 2015. Should that happen, the advisor said ADT will be able to connect with other, similar companies and expand its reach. The Verizon partnership would come as no surprise, by the way, seeing how they recently launched a Smart Home-specific page dedicated to informing consumers about the various energy-efficient, automated devices that can be used within the home.

But before any of that can happen, ADT is making its latest plans quite clear. The goal, according to the company’s chief innovation officer Arthur Orduña, is to pave the way for voice authentication on a more mainstream level. How will this be accomplished? Through an app, of course. As CNET reported back in July, the company launched its Pulse Voice app that allows you to “arm and disarm your security system and control compatible lighting, thermostats, and locks — all with verbal commands.”

Judging by the reviews on the two primary app stores—3.5/5 on iTunes and 4/5 on Google Play—it’s looking like ADT is doing pretty good so far. However, try as they might to become the leaders while partnering with competitors, you have to imagine that others will be coming forward with similar technology. It’s not clear exactly who they will be, but articles such as this one in the Hartford Business Journal indicate that they are definitely out there. But are they interested in this particular fight? We’ll have to wait and see. Either way, it’s an exciting time for smart tech enthusiasts (like myself!).

Amanda Cole

Amanda Cole

Amanda Cole is a newcomer to online journalism with an interest in technology and how it can be commonly applied to improve our lives. She lives in New York with a yellow lab, Jack.

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