Budweiser and Bud Light enable voice-based age verification

Budweiser and Bud Light have implemented voice recognition technology on their websites for age verification.

Consumers tired of typing in their birthdays on booze sites are in luck: Anheuser-Busch In-Bev has enabled voice recognition technology for age verification on Budweiser.com and BudLight.com, allowing consumers to instead say their birthdays to access site content.

Voice-based age verification is available to US-based visitors using Chrome on Android phones or for anyone using the desktop site on Chrome on Mac, Windows and Linux, the brand said. The technology will be implemented anywhere users are asked to verify their ages, including apps, contests and sweepstakes, a rep added.

“As usage around conversational interfaces [rises] in the form of Amazon Alexa and Google Home, [Anheuser-Busch] is now leading the way for the next website evolution into how brands can be voice interactive with consumers,” the brand said in a release.

Further, the company said it recognized a challenge in the age verification process that caused consumers to drop off its sites.

“Reimagining how a consumer enters their date of birth during the age verification process [increases] a customer’s positive experience and [simplifies] the online path to enter, engage and purchase on their websites,” the brand said in a statement.

What’s more, Anheuser-Busch said the new site features include a unique type of natural language processing that doesn’t use keywords, which it called a “great fit for [Anheuser-Busch’s] diverse traffic [and] audience.”

In other words, there’s no specific wording necessary. A rep said this allows consumers to state their birthdays in their preferred formats – from “March 6th, 1987” to international formats like, “23rd December 1994”, and all-number formats such as “11 11 1994”.

“Think of how difficult it is to use your Alexa skills when you forget the exact right keywords to use,” the rep added.

But voice recognition technology as a whole has sometimes struggled to understand nuances of human speech – like, say, accents or mispronunciations – and it was not immediately clear how Anheuser-Busch’s voice-based age verification system in particular is poised to grapple with those challenges or if it will also cause frustration among consumers.

However, the rep said the technology “was tested among a diverse range of people who have accents and different pronunciations so it’s less likely for consumers to feel frustrated with this new feature.”

And, to be clear, the voice technology in use here is simply using voice data to accept age inputs – not to use additional voice data points to verify age as well.

Anheuser-Busch said it is the first CPG company to implement voice recognition for age verification on its websites and it will be exploring other “use cases and opportunities.”

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