Speaker, or voice, recognition is a biometric modality that uses an individual’s voice for recognition purposes. It is a different technology than “speech recognition,” which recognizes words as they are articulated, which is not a biometric. The speaker recognition process relies on features influenced by both the physical structure of an individual’s vocal tract and the individual’s behavioral characteristics.
A popular choice for remote authentication due to the availability of devices for collecting speech samples (e.g., telephone network and computer microphones) and its ease of integration, speaker recognition is different from some other biometric methods in that speech samples are captured dynamically or over a period of time, such as a few seconds. Analysis occurs on a model in which changes over time are monitored, which is similar to other behavioral biometrics such as dynamic signature, gait, and keystroke recognition.
Speaker verification has co-evolved with the technologies of speech recognition and speech synthesis because of similar characteristics and challenges associated with each. More information (pdf)
The physiological component of voice recognition is related to the physical shape of an individual’s vocal tract, which consists of an airway and the soft tissue cavities from which vocal sounds originate. More information (pdf)
United States Government Evaluations
Since 1996, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been conducting an ongoing series of yearly evaluations called the “NIST Speaker Recognition Evaluations.” More information (pdf)
Standards play an important role in the development and sustainability of technology, and work in the international and national standards arena will facilitate the improvement of biometrics. The major standards work in the area of speaker recognition involves the Speaker Verification Application Program Interface, or SVAPI, which is used by technology developers and allows for compatibility and interoperability between various vendors and networks. More information (pdf)
Thanks to the commitment of researchers and the support of the National Security Agency and NIST, voice recognition will continue to evolve as communication and computing technology advance. Their determination will help further develop the technology into a reliable and consistent means of identification for use in remote recognition.
Note: The text above is excerpted from biometrics.gov.