MEF Minute readers won’t need reminding that mobile is the most personal, universal and immediate of all media. People love this. Sadly, so do fraudsters, scammers and opportunistic marketers. As phone penetration has passed 100 per cent in many regions, unwelcome calls and texts have proliferated. Hiya Mobile says from January to May 2016, nearly 1.5 robocall complaints were submitted to the Federal Trade Commission in the US.
Hiya offers the protection against this intrusion: its app reveals the identity of a caller and gives users the power to screen unwanted calls and detect spam. They can then block the call and even ‘blacklist’ the number. Hiya says its systems can identity spam or scam with up to 97 per cent accuracy.
“For Millennials, watching TV without a smartphone is the same as watching it without audio.” So says Emanuele De Leonardis, innovation director of data and analytics at Orange.
Other key features include:
- Caller ID: Only take calls from approved people
- Call Blocker: Black list spam, scams and telemarketers
- Scam & Spam Protection: Alerts automatically appear to warn if an incoming call is suspected spam
- Phone Book Contact Photos: See profile photo, job title and city information for contacts from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
- True Contacts: Add names and addresses from the Whitepages directory to the phone book contacts to keep them verified and up to date
Hiya can do all this because has over 1.5 billion unique numbers in its database. It uses algorithms to screen more than 3.5 billion incoming calls per month, and identify spammers within minutes.
Crucially, all this screening happens at the network level, which means unwanted calls and text don’t even get as far as the handset before they are blocked.
On stage at the Meffys, Hiya’s Sarah Wilkinson said: “The fact that it’s built into the network means it covers any device and any operating system. It’s the highest protection you can get.”
Though Hiya is available as a free download from app stores, the company has teamed up with handset companies and operators to reach as many users as possible. Its partners include T-Mobile USA and Samsung (which pre-loads Hiya for Galaxy S7 and Note 7 users). The app currently has 7.5 million active users.
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