Telecom Times sat down with WeDo Technologies CEO Rui Paiva at the firm’s recent WeMeetAsia conference in Kuala Lumper. In 2001, Paiva co-founded and became chief executive officer of WeDo Technologies.He also holds an executive and advisory position at Sonae IM, a tech investment company, part of the SONAE Group.
Telecom Times – Is telco-specific risk management as a pure play or standalone business venture more prevalent in Europe than in some other geographies? Don’t recall ever hearing much buzz from any potential rivals. Is this perhaps because telcos traditionally seemed to be somewhat like castles with moats around them, perhaps preferring to keep as many business functions as possible in-house?
Rui Paiva – Telco-specific fraud has been around for many, many years. The practice of fraud management began as an in-house function, where fraud teams built their own capabilities to suit their local needs. In fact, the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) began back in 1985 when members from several large service provider fraud teams decided to create an association to help the industry work cooperatively to solve some of the challenges.
But with the increase in IP networks, communications service providers are finding that they have a lot more data sources to track in order to detect and shut down fraud incidences and they simply do not have the manpower or the AI or big data talent in-house that is required. Therefore, we see carriers increasingly looking to bring in best-of-breed solutions, like WeDo’s RAID platform/software, to fulfil this need.
In general, Europe has been a first mover in recognizing this, because they operate in a highly regulated and near borderless market. Therefore, if a fraud incidence rises in one carrier, it will spread a lot faster across the continent. Having said that, we are recently seeing double digit growth in the Americas because it has become a lot easier, cheaper and faster for a fraud incident, such as the Wangiri scam for instance, to spread across globally, so distance is no longer a barrier for telecom fraud.
Telecom Times – Key trends going forward, are the ones that stand out on your radar all technology based as in disruption etc. or can you see from your POV something emerging outside or analogous with tech that has yet been overlooked by most. Perhaps changing in terms of consumer behaviours and preferences, in turn influencing enterprise priorities as well? Perhaps even as impactful as the sharing economy?
Rui Paiva – The growth of IP networks has been a game changer for carriers and enterprises alike – where it has enabled cloud services, IoT and eventually things like autonomous cars to take the street. This means that not only have the business models changed but so have the way consumers engage with their carrier, as well as consumer’s expectations! While carriers took years trying to figure out how to monetize Value-Added-Services, Over the Top providers have come in, launched their product and taken the customer relationship away from carriers.
With 5G and IoT, these business models and new relationships will continue to evolve at an even faster pace. From a fraud and risk perspective, it’s this growing ecosystem of players, data and added risk complexity that will increase the opportunity for bad actors to find new ways of cheating the system.
Telecom Times – You touched on legacy issues during our round table. Going forward, do you see this remaining as much of a hassle or barrier to adoption of your proposition? And if so, from a management POV, is the process of addressing that issue worth investing actual resources in? A legacy taskforce?
As the number and complexity of revenue risk and fraud instances continue to grow, I don’t see it being sustainable for carriers to continue to relying and tweaking their in-house legacy revenue and fraud management systems. What’s more, the in-house skills gap for capabilities, such as AI and machine learning, will get to a point where carriers will need to look to specialist vendors to help them leapfrog their capabilities to meet 5G+ requirements
Telecom Times – Can you highlight some markets globally (in addition to Brazil, I would imagine) where WeDo has traditionally performed well? Why was that? And which markets right now would you earmark as key growth target markets and for what reasons?
Rui Paiva – Our first international customer was OI in Brazil – together with our own anniversary this year, this relationship also goes back 18 years! Larger Europe has always been a solid and challenging cooperative market, especially because so many of the different rules need to be applied throughout the European Union, that are waivered elsewhere. Local currencies and scalability are also very prevalent factors to be taken into account, as much as the cultural and local partnerships needed in markets based out in Asia, for instance. Through important partnerships such as Amazon Web Services, we are confident that we will see a somewhat of a leapfrog growth in central and north America.
Telecom Times – For a while now, l’ve been interested in cyber security as a developing business vertical in its own right. (the police needs crime or else it has no raison d’etre). Where do you see potentially rewarding opportunities for WeDo at the crossroads where advances in cyber security learnings and telco or IT risk management capabilities meet?. Virtual technological cross pollination, so to speak.
Rui Paiva – As mentioned in our discussion, we are strong advocates that fraud management and security should be tightly integrated. By working hand-in-hand, this means that when a security layer is breached, the fraud management system will be able to identify the threat and minimize any potential damage – and visa-versa.
We’ve found that there are some types of telco fraud, namely subscription fraud, that often precipitates instances of security fraud – and even terrorism. The ability for carriers to spot this indicator early on and share it with security teams can help stop larger threats and bad actors in ways that go well beyond telecom fraud.
Telecom Times – In the next few years, as CEO, which key achievements or commercial signposts would you like to see eventuate? And how hopeful are you of reaching those?
I see our work on making all our solutions available over the Cloud as a key achievement and something that we’ve been leading the market in. Additionally, our investments in advanced machine learning and AI techniques are game-changers, as well our strategic local and global partnerships.
We’re looking forward to continue these focused efforts, especially in developing predictive models, capabilities and insights that will continue to improve our ability to spot not only the known threats, but new and unknown ones as well. This is where the real challenge lie in today’s digital economy, and where most of our R&D resources are currently focused and where we’ve already seen significant impact.
Richard van der Draay was in Kuala Lumpur as a guest of WeDo Technologies.