Your bite-sized weekly roundup of the Voice Tech stories no one wants to miss

With every passing day, encryption matters more

Clique: After the recent terrorist attack in Westminster, London, encryption is once again at the center of debate, as UK Prime Minister Theresa May suggested messaging services should allow a 'backdoor' for security services to access users' conversations. Where would that end - could private information soon become available to any interested party?
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Satire (possibly). 5 adorable excuses for using a landline in 2017

Clique: Our sales team has pried many a handset out of the death grips of hypnotized, head-set wearing cord-hogs. While there are some valid reasons to hang onto your landline phone, here are a few cheap excuses we've heard along the way.
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Facebook Messenger has a new AI assistant

Tech Radar: Facebook announced it is releasing a new AI assistant called 'M' for its Messenger app. This new AI will assist users on Facebook Messenger by suggesting actions they can perform while they are having conversations with others. The system was designed to analyze users' conversations in real-time and have M intervene whenever Facebook Messenger users mention key words related to its abilities and features.
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Analysis: How Google Home and Amazon Alexa could change retail

Retail Week: This respected trade-mag discusses ways in which new voice technology such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa could change the retail industry. It focuses on aspects like voice search, impulse purchases, and marketing risks and opportunities of new voice technology that is in the pipeline. Could these emerging technologies truly transform retail in the near future?
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ANZ to roll out new customer voice recognition security software

NZ Herald: ANZ, one of Australia's biggest banks should soon allow its customers to make transactions using their voice, through a new security system aimed at preventing fraud. This new system will identify individual users using characteristics of their voice. ANZ will be the first Australasian bank to introduce voice biometrics with the hope of providing greater security for its customers.
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HSBC to launch voice recognition in Hong Kong for phone banking

SCMP: HSBC is introducing a new service for its customers in Hong Kong, that uses voice technology to handle its over two million phone banking calls a month. The service will use voice biometrics to help verify the identity of customers. This biometric identity recognition system will be implemented as an addition to existing systems, but customers will also have a choice of using the traditional PIN system instead.
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Euphoria-SABEN deal brings VoIP telephony to colleges

IT Web: The South African Broadband Education Networks (SABEN) project partnered with Euphoria Telecom to offer a cheap VoIP service for SA Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) colleges. SABEN MD Arno Hart said students in rural TVET colleges have very little experience with new digital possibilities due to a poor telephony infrastructure. This partnership hopes to change this by offering a free calling system over the internet for anyone that is part of the Euphoria network.
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Hey Alexa, what's Burbio? Pelham calendar app grows with voice tech

Lohud: Bulbio is a calendar platform launched in 2012 by a couple hoping to help users customize and tailor their own personal calendar. Burbio grew quickly, and now has around 150,000 subscribers using its service in suburban areas of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The start-up hopes to grow on a national scale and its calendar service is now being integrated with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.
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Start-up aims to make customer service people 'more charming' through AI

CNBC: Cogito, a voice tech startup based in Boston MA, is currently using AI to try and improve the 'charms' of customer service staff. The software uses algorithms and speech science to assess speakers' emotional state, analyzing their speech patterns and tone. Cognito said it hopes to help services find ways in which they can improve their customer service by making staff sound more 'charming' in their speech and conversations.
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Amazon takes voice battle with Apple TV outside U.S.

Bloomberg: Amazon has just released its popular TV and media-streaming device Fire stick outside the US. The device allows users to access Amazon's range of TV programs and movies, while also introducing voice assistant Alexa into TVs. Amazon's Fire stick appears to be in direct competition with Apple's Siri remote, which comes with all the latest Apple TVs. The UK will be the first place outside of the US where Fire TV Stick will be available.
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