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What We Love About Customer-Driven Innovation

By David West and Amy Oldham
September 25, 2015

As noted in David's last blog, the stability we enjoy in the form of decades long relationships with employees and customers is a catalyst for innovation at Equinox. The development queue at Equinox is fueled by the ideas and suggestions from the hundreds of carriers we’ve served these past 29 years. Our experienced and knowledgeable team turns customer feedback into new features, functions, and even entirely new versions of our solutions.

As Equinox celebrates its 29th anniversary, we were reflecting on the state of customer-driven features and realized that there are currently more innovations in the works now than at any other time in our history! And this is true for both Protector (our fraud management system) and TeleLink (our mediation and usage analytics platform). In no particular order, here is our list of the 5 most compelling customer-driven innovations:

1) Case Manager Portal (CMP)

This latest addition to the Protector family lets you investigate alerts, research call records, and work cases from any browser-enabled device. CMP came to fruition as customers requested the ability to check out alerts from the sidelines of their children’s games and/or to prevent a trip into the office. With a goal of increased efficiency and response time, we constructed CMP by streamlining the investigation and resolution tools, providing multiple access points into the CDR Warehouse, and including an administrative console online. With our customers in mind, we took care to use the same constructs for Cases, Views, and case resolution as the existing versions of Case Manager so that transitioning to the new platform would be a snap. Finally, to expand CMP's appeal across multiple audiences, it contains many new features, such as:

  • Ability to conduct multiple CDR searches at once;
  • Direct access to CDR Rule definition and Hot List data from violations;
  • Common configuration options available online in the same tool;
  • All reports created as native Excel files;
  • Report scheduling; Enhanced Call History grids/graphs; and Urgent note verification checks.
  • Automatic detection and adjustment of the interface based on device;

We are so excited about the evolution of this product and its customer-requested feature set that we've decided to develop most new Protector items in the browser-based CMP going forward. If you've not yet taken a tour of this system, we invited you to do so now. Take heart if you have the Windows-based Case Manager, as we plan to continue supporting it for the foreseeable future.

2) TeleLink 7

In general release for just over a year, TeleLink 7 is the biggest and best TeleLink ever. TeleLink 7 was written from the ground up to accommodate a project request from a customer with a very large volume of daily usage data (5-7 billion calls per month). Current TeleLink 5 customers may read this blog and wonder whether we know how to count from 5 to 7. We did in fact release a version 6 of TeleLink and were just beginning to market it to our customer base, when the opportunity arose to develop an even better version of TeleLink came along. (If you want to read more about the evolution of TeleLink 5, 6, and 7, we’ve compiled a brief history here.)

So, what's so special about TeleLink 7? This version offers a number of valuable benefits, including:

  • Browser based interface with complete ad hoc reporting capability; Ad hoc reports can include dozens of usage and QoS statistics, aggregated based on any one or more time, trunk, or jurisdiction parameters—there are over 400 reporting fields available out of the box;
  • Dynamic application of reference data such at trunk and jurisdiction data so that all reports reflect the state of the reference data at the time the usage occurred;
  • Powerful reporting pivoting capabilities based on one or more jurisdiction, trunk field, or directionality;
  • By default every field from every CDR is retained;
  • Increased throughput—the system can process up to a billion records a day; and
  • The option to use risk management tools to monitor individual records and groups of record for suspicious, abusive, and/or fraudulent activity. (See innovation #53 for more information.)
  • We are now offering customers currently on TeleLink version 5 or 6 the ability to upgrade directly to TeleLink 7. Equinox will work on a case-by-case basis to determine the benefits, impact, and cost of doing so. While we will continue to support both TeleLink 5 and 6 for the foreseeable future, all new system installs are TeleLink 7.

    3) Risk Management System (RMS)

    In partnership with our pilot TeleLink 7 customer, Equinox has just released a sophisticated new TeleLink module which provides robust analytics for risk management. Leveraging rules-based analysis to identify undesirable traffic, the RMS module helps you quickly and effectively mitigate risks associated with robocalling, auto dialers, 8YY traffic pumping, phantom traffic, and Wangiri fraud. We continue to fine tune and adapt this application, including possible integration with a service that provides a “spam score” on originating numbers as well as lists originating numbers associated with abusive calling as compiled by several regulatory agencies. Initial RMS details have already been published in the release notes. Let me know if you want a copy.

    4) PRISM Hot List

    The ongoing threat of international revenue share fraud (IRSF) continues to be a challenge in telecom. Protector effectively mitigates losses associated with this fraud monetization vector through dynamic profiles, robust rules, and crowd-sourced hot lists. Historically Protector has leveraged two such hot lists—a proprietary list automatically shared across the Protector community and a list compiled by global consortium of wireless carriers, which contains international dialed ranges associated with IRSF fraud.

    To further protect our customers, we are currently testing Protector integration with a third hot list data source, PRISM, which is the most complete and proven IPRN (international premium rate number) database available. Curated by Colin Yates Fraud Consulting and FRS Labs, the numbers in the PRISM database are test numbers advertised by IPRN resellers to determine whether a number and destination can be called from a device compromised by a fraudster. Identifying these calls provides an early warning of impending traffic pumping from an IRSF attack. Initial analysis suggests that Protector customers can expect a 10-20% reduction in fraud losses by subscribing to the PRISM database. Watch the release notes or contact me for details.

    5) SIP Monitoring

    Beyond the ongoing threat of IRSF, a second significant trend that continues to impact our customers is the increasing ubiquity of VoIP networks. Vulnerable to automated port scanning and brute force hacking, VoIP networks significantly increase carriers' fraud exposure. To help our customers better address this threat, we are in the midst of a SIP monitoring proof of concept at an existing customer site. Monitoring SIP records allows for earlier call processing to identify suspicious calls upon set up, which alerts carries to potentially fraudulent traffic before losses mount. Proof of concept results will be presented at the Protector User Group Meeting this fall, along with formal plans for the general release of this exciting new module.

    Why these Innovations Matter

    Over the last 29 years we have adapted our products to address the ever changing needs of the telecom industry. Combining the experience of our development team with the insights and suggestions of our ever-expanding customer base ensures that our solutions continue to effectively meet real-world business requirements. We're especially proud of the past few months' initiatives, which we’ve described in this blog. They represent our commitment to balance innovation and stability, so that we can best serve our customers even as the pace of change in the industry quickens.

    About the Authors: David West is Executive Vice President of Equinox Information Systems. David oversees the company’s sales and marketing team, develops the company’s long-term strategic plan, and works directly with the company's hundreds of customers across the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. When he is not helping Equinox achieve record growth, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball, and serving his community through his efforts at Salvation Army of Middle Tennessee and St. Bartholomew's Church.

    Amy Oldham is in Corporate Communications at Equinox Information Systems, where she creates and maintains the company’s technical documentation as well as all other customer-facing publications. Amy is also responsible for the company's newsletter, email campaigns, press releases, and social media presence. When not writing, Amy enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, and swimming.

    To learn more about Equinox, its products, and the people who power them, visit www.equinoxis.com or call (615) 612-1200.