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Amazon introduces voice biometrics for call centers, edge computer vision

New products revealed at AWS re:Invent event

amazon biometric facial recognition

Amazon has revealed a new voice recognition tool built into its suite of call-center services for businesses to shorten call times, Reuters reports.

The announcement was made by Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy on Tuesday, at the company’s company’s annual re:Invent conference.

The new Amazon Connect Voice ID suite utilizes machine learning capabilities to authenticate customers’ identities when they contact call centers, based on customizable confidence thresholds, but Jassy specified that if the threshold is not met, an agent or IVR can use additional authentication methods.

Also part of Amazon Connect Voice ID, the tech giant is releasing two additional machine learning solutions, designed to respectively help call-center agents find answers for customers and help them personalize service.

According to Jassy, the pandemic has substantially accelerated businesses’ cloud adoption, and more than 5,000 contact centers turned to the Amazon Connect service over the past year.

AWS announces computer vision camera-upgrading tools 

Voice biometrics is not the only field Amazon has been expanding during the pandemic.

Also revealed at AWS re:Invent, the AWS Panorama Appliance is a hardware device working with the AWS Panorama SDK counterpart to add on-device computer vision capabilities, including facial recognition, to any camera.

According to Amazon, Panorama can be used for a variety of purposes, including the inspection of parts on manufacturing lines, the monitoring of safety protocols with applications like mask detection, and the real-time analysis of traffic in retail stores.

As announced in a company blog post, the new platform also supports models based on Amazon SageMaker and is capable of running them on video feeds from network-enabled cameras.

Amazon has sparked controversy in the past for its face recognition systems, with a one-year moratorium self-imposed on direct sales of its Rekognition biometric facial recognition service to police in July.

While Rekognition is currently being used by some non-profits, the moratorium prevents the company from selling the technology to law enforcement for a year to allow the U.S. Congress to formulate appropriate regulations.

With the release of Panorama, Amazon is now stepping up its face recognition game further, and while the technology is objectively useful to mitigate some of the pandemic’s effects, privacy concerns still remain to be addressed.

Amazon also launched a line of chips for training machine learning algorithms, dubbed AWS Trainium, at the event.

The post was updated at 7:26pm Eastern on December 3, 2020 to correct the exact names of the new products and that the company’s call center tools had been adopted by 5,000 contact centers.

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