Interview

AITech Interview with Arnd Baranowski, CEO – Oculeus

AITech Interview with Arnd Baranowski

Strengthening technology to reduce fraud has become the need of the hour. And AI-driven capabilities are acting as a guard.

1. Can you please start by sharing with us some background information about Oculeus?

We position Oculeus as an innovative provider of software solutions for the telecommunications industry. Our solutions help our customers build efficient network operations and maintain profitable businesses. To achieve this, our products utilize AI-driven technologies and include extensive automation tools.We have a well-established customer base around the world that includes telecommunications service providers, network operators, and other providers of voice and messaging services.
We are proud to say that a majority of our customers consider Oculeus to be a strategic technology partner in the success of their businesses.

2. Can you describe how Oculeus has grown as a company in recent years?

In recent years, Oculeus has matured into a global company.
Take, for example, our customer base. We have grown our customer numbers to well over 100 ongoing organizational users. We have customers in a range of telecoms verticals from the smallest Tier 3 network operators to the largest Tier 1 service providers.
Our product portfolio is another area that has expanded significantly. For many years, our flagship product has been a telecoms wholesale management system. We originally developed this product for voice services and then expanded it to support SMS services.
We recently upgraded this offering to include next-generation Cloud capabilities and have already rolled it out for many of our long-standing customers. We also have strategic plans to offer solutions for retail voice and MVNO services.
Telecoms fraud prevention is another strategic growth area for our company. We have developed an innovative approach that leverages AI and automation to deliver a solution to an ongoing problem that is costing telcos and their customers millions of dollars in financial damage each and every year.

3. What challenges does Oculeus solve for your customers?

This question we can answer in one sentence: Oculeus helps our service provider and network operator customers establish and maintain efficient network and business operations. The ongoing feedback we receive from our customers is that we offer a solution that is both highly technical and very “business-friendly”.
Many of our early customers were providers of wholesale telecommunications services. For these customers – many of which are still with us today after so many years – we replaced cumbersome manual processes with highly automated workflows. Many of these customers are managing their businesses with nothing more than our software and a series of switches.
The automation we provide in our software helps many of our telco customers keep their voice and messaging business lines relevant and profitable.
AI is another technology that we are applying that helps our customers meet this challenge, especially in the area of preventing telecom fraud.

4. How important is AI for the telecoms industry?

The telecoms industry was one of the early adopters of AI.
AI has always played a significant role in the digital transformation strategies of telecoms companies and AI-driven innovations are helping automate business processes, analyze large volumes of data and make better, faster decisions.
Overall, AI holds the potential to significantly improve and even revolutionize the network and business operations of service providers and network operators.
Of course, fraud detection is an important new area where AI can be used to analyze and detect fraudulent activity, such as unauthorized access to telephony systems or other network resources.

5. How is Oculeus using AI in your telecoms fraud prevention solutions?

AI plays a central role in our telecoms fraud prevention solution and positions our customers to be able to identify and block fraudulent telecommunications traffic before any significant financial damage is caused.
We apply AI to learn a customer’s regular communications traffic and patterns and to monitor continually for exceptions to a baseline of expected network activities. In addition, the baseline itself is also continually refined and updated by our AI, taking into consideration the customer’s unique business conditions and policies.

With AI-driven capabilities, suspicious communications traffic can be identified, investigated, and blocked within milliseconds.

6. Are you applying AI in your other products?

Yes, our core wholesale traffic management system also relies heavily on AI technologies. For instance, the AI automatically diagnoses and corrects errors that may be present in the wholesale price lists that telcos exchange with each other. These price lists are generally lengthy and notoriously complex to process as each telco uses its own unique format. Our AI normalizes the formatting to a single common standard and also hunts for human or technical errors, which it is then able to fix automatically. Here, our AI has trained itself to understand what was really intended.

7. Where else in the telecoms industry are you seeing AI being applied?

Network optimization is one example, where AI is being used to analyze large amounts of data from networks to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. This can help improve network performance and reduce costs.
For customer service, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are widely deployed to handle straightforward customer queries, freeing up human customer service representatives to handle more complex issues.
In marketing and sales, AI helps telecom companies personalize their marketing and sales efforts by analyzing customer data to better understand individual needs and preferences.

8. What additional trends in the AITech space do you see?

In our space, cybercriminals are also increasingly using AI to improve the speed and effectiveness of their telecoms fraud attacks. We have seen several incidents in which fraudsters have used AI to refine and adapt their methods for evading detection and bypassing traditional anti-fraud solutions. We also see that AI is being used by cybercriminals to generate large numbers of phone calls and text messages that appear to be legitimate, but are actually part of a scam.

9. What advice would you like to give to product managers considering incorporating or expanding the use of AI?

Many of the AI solutions currently offered in the market today are somewhat ‘black box’ in nature. Product managers should be wary of vague or unsubstantiated claims about AI features and benefits. In 2023, AI is well embedded into the technology space and when being presented with technology solutions, enterprise users should be clear in requesting clarity in terms of “what does the AI do?” and “how does it bring value?” to their business activities.

Arnd Baranowski

CEO at Oculeus

Arnd is the CEO of Oculeus. He is the driving force behind the company’s growth and recent expansion in the telecoms fraud protection space.

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