An article about HMRC's investment in voice recognition technology
It's saft how we dow spake anymore. If like me you're from the heart of the Black Country you might have a clue what that means! I've learned to talk posh and professionally (ay I) but I've still got a noticeable accent unless I really try.
Now I used to try in certain circumstances. Like the first time you meet the girlfriend's parents...."yes Mrs Smith I'll have another cup please if you have any more tea in your Taypot". Or at a job interview, perhaps when receiving a Knighthood from the Queen, that sort of thing.
But to think, I now have to raise the accent bar when ringing HMRC. And the reason - HMRC have an Interactive Telephony Automation system (ITA) these days. Since 2013, HMRC have used speech recognition technology.
Now, I've phoned HMRC many many times over the years and boy oh boy, this is not progress.
I've put on my best telephone speaking voice, I've even called them sober for goodness sake, yet I still get directed to the switchboard on most occasions.
I'm not a big fan of telephone automated answer systems. In my opinion, they're there to buy time. To keep you interracted (by some mundane announcement usually) which distracts you from the fact that....YOUR CALL HAS NOT REALLY BEEN ANSWERED YET!
HMRC have now introduced Voice ID. According to HMRC, this makes it "simpler and faster for customers to confirm their identity".
You are asked to repeat a phrase five times and then some technological wizardry records the unique combinations of your voice so that it can recognize you in the future. Are you buying this folks? Does anyone have Rory Bremner's number?
Well, to put your mind at rest, according to HMRC, "This technology is well-proven and measures more than 100 different characteristics before determining a match, making it one of the most secure systems". You can read for yourself here
Yes, I'll sleep soundly tonight.