Sunday, 14 August 2016 22:14

Say Hiya: a carrier solution to fight robocalls and phone spam at network level


Got a tough problem with unwanted calls? Then you need a higher Hiya solution to work, not at the phone or phone OS level, but a step above – at the network level.

Available in the US for now, but hopefully one day across the planet, is the "Hiya Cloud", which is dubbed the first solution to help carriers fight robocallers and phone spam at the network level.

Hiya Cloud has another name: The Honey Badger of Phone Protection.

What Hiya Cloud does is to integrates directly into wireless and wireline networks, providing caller ID, call blocking and call spam protection for consumers in the US. It would be nice to see this technology here in Australia plenty of people who received robocalls from political parties or unions could have used this technology during the election — if such blocking is actually allowed.

What Hiya Cloud does in greater detail is to "provide mobile and landline operators with the only service on the market that can apply spam detection services where the call originates, halting the threat before it even reaches the device".

This is said to "deliver a faster, more impactful line of protection for all subscribers, regardless of operating system or device".

The company says that, in light of recently proposed legislation in the US, and at the further recent urging of the FCC, Hiya Cloud is the first network-based solution available to carriers to help them in the ongoing fight against unwanted robocalls.

Alex Algard, founder and chief executive of Hiya, said: “While the recent announcements by the FCC shined a light on the pervasive robocall problem in the US, anti-robocall solutions prescribed through inflexible regulation are not the answer.

"We believe that both carriers and consumers will ultimately benefit from agile and nimble solutions from the industry, which is why we are launching Hiya Cloud."

When integrated into wireless and wireline networks, Hiya says it provides a better phone experience for users that includes:

Spam Protection: With Hiya's state-of-the-art phone reputation service, users will have much needed context for unsolicited spam and scam calls, giving them peace of mind when answering or ignoring a call. Hiya lets users block unwanted callers, and provides them with an auto-blocking feature that keeps known scam numbers, like the recent IRS scam, from even ringing through to a user's phone. In addition to Hiya's proprietary algorithms that detect spam calls, it also integrates the FCC and FTC complaint lists into its existing database.

Caller Identification: By leveraging Hiya's proprietary dataset that includes more than 600 million active mobile and landline phone numbers in the US and more than 1.5 billion unique numbers globally, users will be able to make informed decisions about whether or not to answer a call.

Call Management: Hiya Cloud can process and manage calls on behalf of the user, allowing mobile carriers to provide unique consumer products such as parental controls, do not disturb, out of office, call screening, and visual voicemail.

Here an image of how the system works – please turn your phone horizontal to see the full image as it is cut off when the phone is held vertically.

Hiya Cloud

Hiya says that, as "an issue impacting nearly every smartphone user, the growing phone spam problem has also caught the attention of [US] regulators".

"In June 2015, the FCC announced that it would enable US mobile operators to block spam.

"In April 2016, US Representative Jackie Speier introduced the ROBOCOP Act, a piece of legislation that would require telecom companies to offer consumers free, optional robocall-blocking technology.

"The ROBOCOP Act was then introduced to the Senate by Charles Schumer of New York. Finally, last week, Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, sent letters to major wireless and wireline phone companies giving them 30 days to come back with concrete, actionable solutions to address these issues."

Hiya says that "deploying caller ID and spam protection via the IMS Telephony Application Server (TAS), or at the network level, enables mobile operators to offer ubiquitous protection across all devices on the network, regardless of operating system (Android, iOS) or device type (phones, tablets, cars, appliances)".

The company then adds that it "can work with all industry TAS APIs and can deploy its services via a hybrid server/client model so that mobile carriers can quickly and efficiently build and deploy a solution to actively protect their subscriber base".

"As a complete solution for any mobile network", the company says its "Hiya Cloud includes features such as service provisioning, user authentication and authorisation, customer service support, fraud protection, spam analytics and call disposition".

The company proudly boasts that its Hiya Cloud joins its "suite of spam protection and caller ID products and services that include popular Android and iOS apps that have been downloaded more than 30 million times, as well as partnerships with T-Mobile and Samsung that leverage the power of Hiya to protect their users from robocalls".

In April 2016, Hiya was spun out of the US Whitepages as a stand-alone company entirely dedicated to protecting users from unwanted calls made to their mobile devices.

A video of the company’s existing Hiya product for iOS and Android devices can be seen below.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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