Archive for the Product News Category

Bypass fraud using simboxes has received a lot of coverage recently, so I was intrigued to learn that LATRO, fraud detection specialists, claim to possess a new technology that will identify simboxes as soon as they connect to the network. In an interview with Dan Baker for Black Swan, LATRO CEO Lex Wilkinson said the following:

… we developed a technology that allows us to flag what we call the Protocol Signatures of SIM box devices vs. the devices a normal mobile subscriber uses.

… the information we are processing and analyzing is based on signaling data that is not available in CDRs.

Inevitably the technical details were not shared, but I would like to learn more about how this technology works, and I suspect there are plenty of victims of simbox fraud who will feel the same way.

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cVidya, the Israeli revenue assurance vendor, has announced their software will ‘support’ Hadoop, the open source technology for processing very large data sets across a distributed environment. You can read the press release here.

This is a very smart move by cVidya. cVidya’s core competence lies in skilfully presenting end users with conclusions drawn from data. Hadoop is a genuine Big Data technology which can greatly expand the volume of data which can be usefully accessed, whilst also lowering the cost of storing that data. By integrating with Hadoop, cVidya’s tools will sit atop a mature and powerful open source technology in order to deliver far superior results to their customers, without needing to make much change to their proprietary software. The press release states that cVidya’s software will be able to interface with a customer’s existing Hadoop solution. Alternatively, cVidya say they can provide customers with the hardware and software to implement Hadoop.

cVidya CEO Alon Aginsky is quoted as saying:

We see the distributed computing capabilities of Hadoop as a game changer for Fraud Management, Revenue Assurance and Marketing Analytics.

By making it cost-effective to analyze data from many different sources on a massive scale, we are essentially enabling digital and communications service providers to do more for less, thereby boosting profitability.

For once, talkRA can find no fault with the words of Aginsky. This development suggests cVidya’s management may finally be grappling with the strategic weaknesses that have seen them lagging competitors in recent years, after once claiming to have the leading market share for RA and FMS. In the past, cVidya CTO Gadi Solotorevsky advocated that business assurance departments should fight the rise of Big Data, taking a purist approach towards maintaining and controlling their own unique data repositories, even if this resulted in higher costs and duplication of effort within the business. By adopting Hadoop, it seems cVidya has realized there is a better way forward. Hadoop will see business assurance analysts working with the same data as used by the rest of the business. Those analysts will have much freer reign to tackle a broader scope of challenges. At the same time, cVidya’s software is more likely to attract the attention of telco staff working in other parts of the business. So this new, more open approach, is actually in cVidya’s best interests, despite their previous encouragement of empire-building within business assurance departments. Saying business assurance should be located in silos, surrounded by thick walls, was never going to be more than a tactic to increase sales, by providing those silos with data and technology that was separated from the rest of the business. It fell short of being a proper strategy, because it set endemic limits on what could be achieved. Those limits were not just felt by the departments that followed the advice, but ultimately they were felt by cVidya, as limits on what they could sell.

Big Data inevitably tears down walls within organizations, and opens up former silos. It looks as though cVidya has also come to that realization, and they will seek to harness the potential on behalf of their customers, and for their own business.

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Portuguese vendor WeDo has announced the release of RAID:FMS 7, the latest version of their fraud management system. Their press release highlights the following enhancements:

  • A step-by-step wizard to build customized data mining models;
  • New statistical techniques to identify possible frauds and fraudsters; and
  • Faster performance at crunching data.

Like other vendors, WeDo has timed the new release to coincide with their attendance at Mobile World Congress.

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Mobile World Congress is upon us again. Even though I think MWC is rubbish, this is an important time for companies to announce something, ***anything***, just issue a press release and hurry up about it. I ignore most of these press releases, because they are rude. It is very impolite to announce new products and services that might equally be used by wireline telcos, just because a lot of wireless telcos are having a big party in Barcelona. However, I could not ignore the latest cVidya press release. I tried to. I really did try. But I kept thinking about it. I was compelled to think about it, because I had no idea what cVidya were trying to say. Dear readers, if you can explain what cVidya has just announced, then feel free to write in and explain.

Major Expansion of cVidya’s Market-Leading Revenue Assurance Solution

Okay, so this sounds like one of those adverts which begins: ‘the best product on the market just got even better.’ I always like those ads, because they are so daft. How can things be so great, yet always leave so much room for improvement?

MoneyMap® V8 ships with new business analytical layer, risk methodology and pre-defined packages

What is a new business analytical layer? Do RA people often complain about missing layers? I suppose the layer has something to do with analysing business stuff. But beyond that, I have no idea what the layer does. Maybe it just sits around doing nothing, like a layer of pointless fat. If it does something, maybe cVidya should say what it does.

Whilst I am bemused by the new business analytical layer, I am stunned by the revelation that cVidya have launched a new risk methodology. The new risk methodology arrives just 12 months after cVidya launched their ProactiV risk methodology. So what happened to ProactiV? That was new, only 12 months ago. Maybe cVidya realized that ProactiV was full of flaws, so they replaced it. Or maybe the new methodology is the same as the old methodology, but they decided to announce it a second time, in case you missed it first time. I would ask questions about the new methodology, and what makes it so new, but cVidya still have not answered my questions about the old methodology. Some things get better and better, whilst other things never change.

‘Pre-defined packages’. Whaddya mean by ‘pre-defined packages’? Imagine telling the love of your life that you are going to the shops to buy some pre-defined packages. Any normal person would assume you are having an affair, and you cannot be bothered to invent a decent cover story. Literally nobody, since the dawn of time, has ever bought anything for its pre-defined packages.

Enhanced with sophisticated business analytical capabilities and support for big data…

Was there a version of cVidya’s software that failed to include sophisticated business analytical capabilities? How much more sophisticated is the new stuff, compared to the old stuff? And in what sense does a revenue assurance tool need to provide support for big data? Is cVidya implying that telcos will be stuck with small data, unless they buy MoneyMap?

…Version 8 includes an array of advanced features that enable managers and analysts to easily pinpoint the most urgent Revenue Assurance issues and quickly address them.

Again, what is new about this? I thought these guys had been pinpointing the most urgent issues, and quickly addressing them, since their start-up first cranked out a reconciliation of leased lines to bills.

Some of us remember a time before cVidya existed. It was called 2001, and Stanley Kubrick made a film about it. Kubrick thought that we would be flying around Jupiter by the year 2001. When cVidya started, a year later, they concentrated on pioneering the technology of reconciling leased lines to bills. And they told everybody that reconciling leased lines to bills was the most important thing that anyone could do. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that their software could not process other forms of data, like CDRs. Perhaps cVidya is now admitting they spent most of their 12 years persuading customers to deal with minor stuff that suited their product range, instead of really urgent issues. In that sense, MoneyMap v8 might genuinely offer something new.

The new, highly business-orientated, version of MoneyMap…

‘Highly business-oriented’? What was the orientation of their old software? Was it leisure-oriented?

…is able to track the monetary value of each case and then aggregate the total value by line of business, business unit or another sub category

At last, we see some signs of sophisticated business analytics. In this case, it is the kind of analysis you perform by adding up both the rows and the columns of a spreadsheet.

It enables Revenue Assurance managers to access aggregated and comparable data based on different attributes, such as their personal needs…

‘Personal needs’? Do RA managers satisfy their personal needs using RA software? The only way I can imagine an RA manager using RA software to satisfy a personal need is if they fudge the reports to hide a fraud they committed.

A new case management system makes it straightforward for analysts to track and prevent revenue losses.

Otherwise known as a list. I also find lists can be competently maintained using a pencil and paper. The technology of pencil and paper was already proven to be robust and reliable, way back in 2001.

Drawing on cVidya’s deep knowledge and expertise in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, LTE, mobile money, wholesale, cable and other technologies and verticals, MoneyMap 8 is designed to enable CSPs to quickly adapt to a constantly changing market.

Somebody decided that M2M, LTE, mobile money, wholesale and cable all needed to be mentioned somewhere. So here they are. I have literally no idea how any of this connects to the major expansion, the high business-orientation, or the pre-defined packages.

New pre-defined packages will significantly reduce CSPs’ revenue leakage as they deploy self-provisioning, sponsored data programs, connected living propositions and many other advanced services and models.

I think this says: ‘super rocket woo woo fantastic’. It might be a bit of the screenplay from 2001 which was cut from the final cinema version. If cVidya are trying to communicate something meaningful about their product, it must be in a language I do not recognize.

Before anyone says that all press releases are equally as bad, take a look at the press release that Lavastorm issued a few days ago. It gives a few simple bullets on the new things their FMS can do. Whilst words cannot tell me why one ‘visualization’ is better than another, the press release straightforwardly tells the reader about new functionalities and why they are helpful. It may not sound very sexy to let users save a search for later re-use, or to let them bulk edit multiple fraud cases, but at least we can comprehend what the software does.

In contrast, cVidya’s press release ends as follows:

“MoneyMap – the leading Revenue Assurance solution on the market – has evolved into an even more leading business bazooka that will ***vroom vroom*** superexcite executives and analysts and literally orgasm everyone we’re hoping to sell it to,” said Alon Aginsky, President and CEO of cVidya.

“The new pre-defined packages ***woof woof*** are both hyper-defined and ultra-packaged, making them far superior to the pre-defined packages you find elsewhere. The latest version of MoneyMap draws on insights gleaned from cVidya’s 12 ***just count ’em baby*** years of experience, starting with the reconciliation of leased lines to bills, and culminating in this year’s business-oriented risk-methodologized business-analytical layer that is so thick and creamy it removes stubborn stains that other washing powders leave behind.”

“During those 12 years, we have tackled every revenue assurance challenge that any service provider has ever faced anywhere on this planet, and we are unique in being able to say that whilst keeping a straight face. Also, we checked some dealer commissions for a service provider in orbit around Neptune. We are very proud to say we are still in business, still not locked in an asylum, and still better than we have ever been before. ***Bow Wow*** Not everybody knows this, but I used to be the 95th most powerful man in telecoms ***howls at the moon*** so if you stick with me, I’ll take you out of this world.”

Actually, some of that last bit was made up by me. But it is pretty similar to Aginsky’s quote from the actual press release. And it makes about as much sense.

So readers, if you can explain the differences between MoneyMap 8 and MoneyMap 7, I would be grateful for your insights… especially if you can share them in plain English. Previously I would have asked my loyal cVidya readers to comment, but there is no point. We all know they have nothing to say about their products, and this press release proves it.

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Lavastorm Analytics, the data analytics firm headquartered in Boston, has announced a number of enhancements to Lavastorm Fraud Manager, its fraud management system. The improvements are:

  • an improved reporting and visualization engine;
  • configurable case types for different kinds of fraud;
  • enhanced searches and filters which can be saved for later re-use; and
  • bulk editing of multiple cases.

You can find the Lavastorm press release here.

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