Telesign’s APIs Go Past Typical CPaaS Choices, Masking Buyer 360, Safety, and Extra


One of the crucial widespread segments of the API financial system has to do with programmatic entry to companies which are out there from the world’s varied telephony networks and infrastructure suppliers. API-driven SMS textual content interplay is simply an instance of the type of service that’s out there from CPaaS suppliers (in any other case referred to as “Communications Platform as a Service”). 

Amongst their many chief promoting propositions, API-based CPaaS suppliers are recognized for insulating builders from carrier-specific technicalities. For instance, for SMS messaging, a CPaaS usually provides builders a uniform API that works throughout all carriers such that when sending SMS textual content messages to a cellular person, the developer doesn’t must know or care which service that person is subscribed to or how you can entry that service’s particular infrastructure.

Whereas carrier-independent programmatic entry to textual content messaging companies was a really apparent and pure start line for the CPaaS phase, the portfolio of companies is increasing to incorporate a broader vary of performance for CPaaS customers that covers every part from safety and knowledge integrity to nurturing higher 360 buyer views. As a way to that finish, the extra data a CPaaS can provide in regards to the cellular subscriber, particularly through API, the higher. 

Alongside these strains, Telesign is one such CPaaS that was principally gifted a pure benefit over its rivals when, in October 2017, it was acquired by Bics. With over 500 of the world’s carriers as its prospects, Bics is among the world’s largest suppliers of mobile roaming companies. As Telesign’s director of product administration Vince Oh defined to ProgrammableWeb, by advantage of its place within the world cellular infrastructure, Bics (and due to this fact Telesign) has entry to knowledge about world cellular subscribers that isn’t as simply accessible to different CPaaS suppliers. 

In that interview (the video, audio, and full textual content transcription are embedded under), Oh explains how the Bics acquisition made it attainable for Telesign to “construct and deploy new knowledge merchandise.” 

For instance, as extra corporations look to separate the wheat from the chaff in the case of prospects registering for his or her companies, the phenomenon of digital numbers (the place a telephone quantity may exist for under a second in time) will be the supply of main complications. Thanks partly to the info that’s out there to it by means of its Bics guardian, Telesign is ready to assign a confidence rating to any telephone quantity (digital or not). By way of API, Telesign’s prospects can test a quantity’s rating earlier than accepting it as a type of authentication or as a novel identifier for a buyer. 

This one utility barely scratches the floor of the vary of companies Telesign is ready to provide (all mentioned by Oh within the interview). However it does replicate the type of capabilities that Telesign can provide because of it’s inclusion in Bics’ portfolio.  

Right here’s the interview.

Interview with TeleSign’s Director of Product Administration, Vince Oh

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Full transcript of David Berlind’s interview with Telesign director of product administration Vince Oh

David Berlind: Hello, I am David Berlind, editor-in-chief of ProgrammableWeb, and this can be a particular sponsored version of ProgrammableWeb’s Builders Rock Podcast. With me right this moment is Vince Oh. He is the Director of Product Administration with an organization referred to as TeleSign. They’re an API supplier. They’re the type of API that now we have in ProgrammableWeb’s API listing, the type of firm that we write about. Vince, thanks for becoming a member of us right this moment.

Vince Oh: Thanks for having me, David.

David: Yeah, it is nice to have you ever. So for these people who find themselves not conversant in what TeleSign does, why do not you give us the transient overview?

Vince: Certain. So TeleSign is a CPaaS or a Communication Platform as a Service and now we have a uniquely completely different providing round offering a mixture of communications in addition to knowledge options that allow our prospects to intelligently interact with their finish customers all through their total buyer life cycle.

David: So what does that imply? How is it that an organization may interact, as you say, particularly over for instance telecommunications, clearly the T-E-L-E could be very iconic within the identify of your organization. So possibly dive into how that works.

Vince: Yeah. I assume if you happen to like, I can clarify somewhat bit about the place we come from after which the place we’re right this moment.

David: Yeah, that’d be good. Yeah, positive.

Vince: Yeah. Yeah. So TeleSign was based in 2005, so it has been round for some time now. However we began out as extra of an authentication and safety firm. The corporate was based across the premise of a telephone quantity being probably the most available common distinctive identifier for any person on the Internet or for cellular purposes. Everyone has their very own distinctive identifier by nation, et cetera and it is exhausting to get that data, however a telephone quantity is one thing that everyone has. And so utilizing that telephone quantity to establish anyone and serving to defend their accounts is sort of the place we began. So SMS and voice-based two-factor authentication is a part of our DNA. We grew up in that area. And over time we expanded the portfolio as a result of buyer want and demand so as to add extra id round these numbers. So having the ability to inform what telephone kind the telephone quantity is related to, what service, after which increasing from there, issues like identify and deal with, et cetera.

Vince: After which over time what we occurred is we realized that we constructed this communication platform that is better of breed in the case of high quality and uptime, deliverability, et cetera. And the explanation why is as a result of we transfer in that authentication area, we actually wanted an answer that is top quality and available as a result of our prospects are sticking us in authentication for login flows and signup movement, et cetera. When our stuff does not work, individuals do not get to enroll or individuals do not get to login, which is principally the worst attainable factor that may occur.

Vince: So we constructed this platform and we determined that over the past three or 4 years in the past, with buyer demand, prospects demanding us to do extra than simply authentication, present for various eventualities and completely different use circumstances. So we opened the platform as much as extra normal communications, delivering SMS and voice communications for alerts, reminders, notifications, two-way communication, et cetera. The fascinating factor about that’s, along with that platform, is now we have this knowledge that we differentiate with, the place we enable our prospects to know extra about their customers, whether or not individuals registering for accounts and other people interacting might doubtlessly be fraudulent. May this be anyone that is really taken over the account and plans to commit fraud with it?

David: Hey, Vince?

Vince: Yeah?

David: Certainly one of issues we talked about within the heat up was quick solutions. I am going to ask the questions to steer you thru all of this.

Vince: Oh, sorry about that. Sorry about that.

David: You are like, we will be accomplished with the interview in a couple of minutes.

Vince: Sorry. Ought to I take a step again then?

David: Let’s begin it over and simply hold the solutions good and quick and I am going to attempt to lead you thru all that based mostly on the interview that we —

Vince: Okay. Sorry about that.

David: We’ll simply take it from the highest once more, okay?

Vince: Yep, yep.

David: All proper, right here we go. Hello, I am David Berlind, editor in chief of ProgrammableWeb and this can be a particular sponsored version of ProgrammableWeb’s Builders Rock Podcast. At present with me is Vince Oh. He’s the Director of Product Administration with TeleSign and API supplier of the type that we might have in our API listing. It is the type of firm that we might write about. Vince, thanks for becoming a member of us right this moment.

Vince: Thanks for having me, David.

David: Yeah, it is nice to have you ever. So let’s begin off with speaking about what it’s TeleSign does for its prospects, in a nutshell.

Vince: Certain, positive. TeleSign is a CPaaS or Communication Platform as a Service. And now we have a novel differentiation round offering a mixture of communication APIs in addition to knowledge options that allow our prospects to intelligently interact with their finish customers all through their total life cycle.

David: Okay. So communication APIs, knowledge. Let’s speak in regards to the communication APIs first. What are a few of these APIs and what do they do in your enterprise prospects?

Vince: Certain, positive. So now we have an SMS API, which permits prospects to allow world supply of SMS and two-way communications as effectively. We’ve a voice API which, once more, is for automation of outbound calling, inbound, two-way communication, et cetera. After which we are literally planning to launch our RCS beta API for wealthy communications subsequent week.

David: Okay. And the way did you get began doing all of this?

Vince: Really, it is very fascinating. We have been really based again in 2005 and we began out specializing in a selected use case which is to authenticate customers utilizing telephone numbers. After which over time, as our enterprise grew, our prospects demanded to make the most of our greatest of breed communication options for greater than that. So we expanded out to normal function alerts, reminders, notifications, two-way communication flows.

David: Let’s speak in regards to the authentication piece. Lots of people in all probability are conversant in what you are speaking about. I believe I’m, and that is type of the place you go to log in, however it double checks who you might be based mostly in your telephone quantity. Are you able to stroll us by means of that workflow and the place TeleSign matches in?

Vince: Certain, positive. There’s plenty of these sorts of flows so if you join an account in your e-mail supplier, et cetera, they ask you so as to add a telephone quantity to your account. The very first thing that occurs is you enter your telephone quantity after which the Internet property will confirm to just remember to have that quantity. Then they ship you a one-time passcode and then you definately enter it again in. And now that telephone quantity turns into a belief anchor to your account. So for subsequent logins or password resets and issues like that, principally there’s sure traits that the corporate or the web site seems for, doubtlessly like a unique IP deal with from earlier than or a unique machine. In these circumstances then they’d problem you and say, “Hey, I must just remember to are you.” And so along with a password, they ask you once more to do a one-time password problem. And they also will ship you a code to your telephone through SMS and voice name and then you definately principally validate that you’ve that second issue earlier than you’ll be able to log in.

David: Proper. I am conversant in that as a result of typically you turn computer systems, you go to log into your financial institution and so they’re like, “Oh, we do not acknowledge this pc. So we will ship you a passcode.” So that you’re those which are within the background. We do not actually see your brand come up or something like that, however is that your organization within the background offering that functionality to those large corporations?

Vince: Yeah. So TeleSign really powers quite a lot of these workflows. We really work with 20 of the highest 25 largest Internet and cellular properties the world over. We allow these two-factor authentication flows. And most of the time, I inform individuals once I discuss TeleSign and say, “Hey, you in all probability use TeleSign however you simply did not know as a result of we’re simply within the background.”

David: They do not know, proper. Okay. So you bought began within the authentication area, however that sort of lent itself to quite a lot of different purposes. You have been speaking somewhat in regards to the SMS utility. Clearly you’ve got the telephone variety of the shopper at this level. So that you’re in a pure place to additionally deal with SMS communications. Is two approach factor? Do you simply do the outbound SMS or can individuals reply to that? How does that work?

Vince: Certain. Each outbound in addition to reply or user-initiated workflows, we offer the flexibility for an organization or a model to speak with their finish person utilizing SMS as a channel. Outbound messages, usually there’s quite a lot of these with alerts and reminders like transport alerts or your flight’s modified or one thing modified in your account. Issues like that. But additionally two-way interplay for doubtlessly replying to that and saying, “Hey, I need extra data,” or potential chat bot kind of workflows to the place you’ll be able to automate issues like buyer help utilizing SMS as a channel.

David: Now based mostly in your expertise working with their prospects, is SMS the best channel of communication in comparison with another ones? I do know I get notifications that pop up on my smartphone display screen, not essentially from the SMS channel that is coming into it. Additionally there’s e-mail. Does it end up that SMS is one of the best ways?

Vince: Yeah. So undoubtedly SMS is among the best channels, particularly if you examine it to push notifications and e-mail. SMS has an open price of about, I consider, 90% of all SMSs are opened inside the first three minutes. And I believe there’s an motion price of about 20% there. So if you happen to examine that to one thing like e-mail, which has possibly, I consider, a lot, a lot decrease than that, like 20% possibly, after which the motion charges a lot decrease than that as effectively.

Vince: So it does not examine to the e-mail. You take a look at SMS as extra of a realtime communication and extra of a private communication channel versus e-mail and even push. The push does not have fairly the response price both since you typically get bombarded with push notifications otherwise you simply flip them off. Folks see SMS as a channel that is far more, once more, issues which are essential to you or issues that that you must take note of. And so of us actually find yourself interacting with it greater than these different channels.

David: Now, if in case you have obtained my telephone quantity, and once I say that you just, I imply that your buyer has the telephone quantity, as a result of they’ve collected it by means of your API, is there some extra intelligence that goes to that? The rationale I ask that’s as a result of there are quite a lot of telephone numbers on the market. Persons are establishing pretend accounts on a regular basis utilizing telephone numbers. How do you see whether or not a telephone quantity is even a superb telephone quantity? I might exit and get a type of one-time use telephones after which throw it away. How do you deal with that sort of scenario?

Vince: Yeah, that is very fascinating. And truly, that is what our prospects began going through. After they rolled out two-factor authentication, they began utilizing telephone numbers. They use telephone numbers to enroll as effectively to validate the person. And what they began seeing was individuals have been utilizing these doubtlessly fraudulent, low prices sorts of numbers to get by. And utilizing these numbers to create a bunch of bulk accounts. Then you are able to do plenty of issues with that to commit fraud.

Vince: And so we offered as a necessity from the shopper is beginning with the flexibility simply merely to have the ability to know “What telephone kind is that this?” Usually, we have related or have seen quite a lot of that kind of fraud related to non mounted VOIP numbers, in addition to in some circumstances pay as you go numbers.

David: Is an instance of that the digital accounts? I occur to be a Google Voice person. Is that an instance? As a result of I am assuming there’s APIs simply to go get these numbers after which deactivate them.

Vince: Yeah, undoubtedly. Positively. So non mounted VOIP, these sorts of numbers you’ll be able to purchase principally without spending a dime. And so individuals will simply get a bunch of these numbers and they might use them to create a bunch of pretend accounts which defeats the aim of utilizing a telephone quantity as proof. And there is additionally different issues like there are web sites on the market that enable of us to, we simply name them obtain SMS on-line sorts of web sites the place the entire function of these web sites are giving entry to a bunch of numbers through the Internet that provide help to full one-time passcode challenges.

Vince: So we helped our prospects detect issues like that. After which we advanced that over time to one thing that is far more clever and we name that Rating. And so a Rating really supplies a danger rating related to any quantity the world over. So it is much less of a black or white, “Is that this a VOIP quantity? And, if that’s the case, I’ll block you.” It is extra “Okay, on a scale of zero to a thousand, what’s the chance that this quantity is related to fraud?”

David: Okay. So that you’re type of leaving it as much as the shopper to resolve at what level the rating is unhealthy sufficient that they are going to refuse the account or one thing like that. Is that appropriate?

Vince: Yeah. Yeah, undoubtedly. We’ve the flexibility to coach the fashions utilizing machine studying, so we work with the shopper then to coach the mannequin based mostly in your labeled knowledge after which by means of that course of the shopper can even work out, “Okay, for me, a rating above 700, for instance, usually signifies that I’ll seize most fraud with the minimal quantity of false positives.”

David: Is that knowledge that you just’re gathering or that you’ve that helps you establish the chance and a few of the different knowledge that is related to the quantity, is that knowledge straightforward to get or do it’s a must to create relationships with an entire bunch of different corporations, carriers, et cetera, in an effort to collect that knowledge after which, programmatically by means of your API, inform a financial institution for instance, “Hey, this quantity’s too dangerous”? How did you get all that data?

Vince: Yeah, there’s quite a lot of proprietary knowhow and algorithms related to us having to work in safety workflows over the past 14 years. So we have developed in-house information related to what sort of patterns are going to be most definitely related to completely different sorts of fraud, is one space. After which the info itself that we might leverage is a mixture of working immediately with the cellular operators to attempt to purchase the proper knowledge factors in order that we are able to decide the rating.

Vince: After which the opposite factor is now we have an abundance of recent knowledge factors and realtime knowledge that we are able to now doubtlessly work with our acquirer, if you happen to would, Bics. So TeleSign was acquired by an organization referred to as Bics. It was a telco, I used to be one of many largest knowledge —

David: How is it spelled?

Vince: Bics is B-I-C-S.

David: Okay.

Vince: So we have been working with them to truly additional analyze the site visitors patterns utilizing all of the site visitors data that they’ve. And so a mixture of all of these issues is basically driving up the worth of Rating and the efficacy of Rating.

David: And so the enterprise that Bics is in is what?

Vince: So Bics is a telco, however it’s one of many largest suppliers of roaming options the world over. So their prospects are the carriers. In order that they have over roughly 500 carriers that do enterprise with Bics, have direct connections with over 700 of them.

David: Okay. So Bics is in a brilliant pure, and I do not imply to say supernatural, like doo, doo, doo, doo. They’re in a really pure place, given what they do, to have entry to this knowledge that then allows you to present one thing distinctive in comparison with anyone else. Proper?

Vince: Yeah. Yeah. Completely. They’re, I consider, and do not quote me on this, however I consider they see together of the info roaming enterprise or the operating enterprise after which the wholesale voice enterprise, which is among the largest wholesale voice carriers on the earth as effectively. I consider they see one thing like 30% of all types of cellular site visitors or voice site visitors on the earth.

David: So when an organization is a worldwide roaming supplier working with 500 carriers, you are actually dwelling at one of many greatest intersections on the earth, intersections of information, that’s. You are simply getting an infinite quantity of information that that is going to be useful to what it’s TeleSign does.

Vince: Completely. And so we noticed that as one of many areas of synergy when Bics determined to amass us. We will leverage that knowledge in addition to getting their direct service relationships to do enhance Rating and in addition construct and deploy new knowledge merchandise.

David: So what are a few of the new knowledge merchandise that you just’re deploying today?

Vince: We aligned our knowledge merchandise sort of twofold. One is Rating that we talked about and the opposite is our suite of telephone ID merchandise. The bottom telephone ID product does what it did many, a few years in the past, which is simply present the sort of excessive stage, the telephone kind and the service data. However we have been launching extra add-ons on prime of that. So issues like identify and deal with or identify and deal with match, having the ability to present machine data. So what kind of units is that this, what’s of possibly the hashed Mei related, issues like that.

Vince: Additionally, subscriber data. So, for instance, figuring out the tenure of a subscriber, what sort of subscriber are you? Are you postpaid? Are you in a household plan? That nature, to sort of assist with understanding… There is a very fascinating potential use case round that data the place in quite a lot of international locations the place it is actually tough to find out creditworthiness you may really leverage the tenure and the kind of account that you’ve with an operator, a minimum of as a knowledge level, to assist perceive the creditworthiness of a selected potential buyer.

David: So, if the quantity’s solely been lively for a few weeks, sort of sketchy, but when that quantity’s has been lively for a few years, significantly better. Is that it?

Vince: Yeah, undoubtedly. So issues like that. Additionally, extra merchandise that actually assist with a possible danger related to account takeover. So, we have heard issues on the information or on the Internet round individuals hijacking different individuals’s telephone numbers after which utilizing that to log in. So we’re offering data like your quantity porting, SIM swap, deactivation. We all know when a telephone quantity might have doubtlessly modified palms and if that is occurred very not too long ago after which impulsively you begin to see transactions in that account and you’ll undoubtedly flag these as suspicious.

David: Very fascinating. So a ton of information that will be helpful in quite a lot of contexts. Every thing from danger administration to, I think about, advertising. A few of this knowledge’s going to be a helpful to anyone who’s a marketer. Every other standout distinctive promoting propositions that make TeleSign particular that you can imagine?

Vince: Yeah, yeah. We talked in regards to the knowledge. Such as you stated, David, along with safety, these sort of use circumstances, there’s additionally the info helps our prospects perceive or have legitimate details about their finish customers in order that once they talk with them they’ve peace of thoughts that the individual really nonetheless has that telephone quantity. You ship an SMS or attempt to name them, you’ll be able to test to see if the quantity’s been deactivated because the final time I talked to you. And if that is now not a superb data.

Vince: So we assist with buyer engagement eventualities by differentiating with knowledge. The second piece was, I do not suppose I discussed this earlier, however due to the best way that we grew up by means of authentication, being built-in into prospects’ login flows and registration flows, we needed to construct a better of breed answer platform for messaging and as a voice when it comes to high quality.

Vince: So now we have principally, once more, high quality differentiation, from my perspective. Additionally, final however not least is the best way that we service our prospects. We’re actually good at working with enterprise prospects, medium to massive in addition to small as effectively. That is sort of in our pedigree, in doing proper by the shopper, creating nice relationships and being responsive and proactive and simply giving the shopper the proper of expertise in order that they need to work with us.

David: Okay. And do you’ve got any new merchandise which are about to be launched that you just need to discuss or you have to hold that type of information below wraps till it is launched?

Vince: Yeah. No, really, subsequent week we shall be launching our RCS API in beta. So RCS is Wealthy Communication Companies. It is principally the evolution of SMS, if you happen to would, so it is sort of subsequent era of the default messaging in your cellular machine, which is graphical, far more interactive, versus SMS, which is principally simply all textual content. We’re fairly enthusiastic about it. Once more, we’ll be launching subsequent week in beta, and we’ll be working with our prospects, simply beginning with doing a little proof of idea and displaying them the worth of RCS after which hopefully within the latter a part of the 12 months we are able to launch it.

David: And the way does that work, simply out of curiosity? You’ve got a brand new product, you go to your present prospects, and say, “Hey, look, we have got a brand new API. Do you need to kick the tires on that in order that?” so as to get suggestions from them and excellent it. Or do you set the API at their for normal beta and let any developer come and kick the tires? How do you usually try this type of factor?

Vince: Certain. It is fascinating as a result of TeleSign… I have been at TeleSign for about 5 years, and we have not had quite a lot of betas. And so particularly for RCS, it’s going to solely be out there for present prospects who we have already got a relationship with. As a developer, you’ll be able to’t simply come to our self service portal and use it. You’d need to contact us and work with us. After all we’re not essentially simply utterly limiting ourselves to present prospects. But when anyone is available in and so they need to construct extra of a direct relationship with us, then we are able to make that out there to them as effectively.

David: Bought it. And what in regards to the enterprise mannequin behind your APIs? How do you usually cost your prospects? Is it by the variety of API executions? Are there simply fundamental subscription ranges? What’s what you are promoting mannequin right here?

Vince: Certain, positive. Usually, it is transactional. So each SMS you ship, each knowledge request that you just make, voice name. Voice name is extra of a per second sort of ranking. So principally you pay for what you employ. We do have some subscription kind of fashions after we get artistic with a buyer somewhat bit. So we try this as an incentive for patrons to get extra reductions in your subscription ranges. However, yeah, usually you simply principally enroll with TeleSign and then you definately simply pay for what you employ.

David: Terrific. And the place can people who find themselves fascinated with doing enterprise with you discover you?

Vince: Certain. Positively you’ll be able to come to our web site at after which there’s a “contact us” type there to allow them to use that to contact us after which it’s going to get to the proper individuals on the gross sales and advertising aspect.

David: Is there a developer portal that individuals can come and type of poke round and see simply precisely how the completely different APIs work, to allow them to pattern them and get an concept earlier than they contact you?

Vince: Yeah, yeah. So if you happen to go to the web site, you’ll be able to join an account after which on that web site, when you’re signed up, then you definately’ll have entry to a few of our APIs. Like I stated, there’s sure restrictions, just like the beta one after which some particular knowledge APIs as a result of they’re fairly tightly guarded because-

David: Delicate knowledge.

Vince: Precisely. So, other than these, most API can be found through the self service portal on-line. Once more, you’ll be able to undergo our web site.

David: Terrific. Nicely, Vince Oh, Director of Product Administration for TeleSign. Thanks very a lot for becoming a member of us.

Vince: Thanks very a lot, David.

David: And thanks everyone for watching this interview. It has been a sponsored model of ProgrammableWeb’s Builders Rock Podcast. Please come again to ProgrammableWeb, or our youtube channel at the place you will discover extra interviews identical to this one. Thanks for being right here. All proper. How do you suppose it went?

Vince: I do not know.



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