By: Cesilia Faustina
The dependency towards mediation, however, does not seem to share the same spotlight as other telecom systems out there. With the array of systems available to support communication service providers (CSPs), it’s easy for mediation to drown under all the systems. Systems like billing, charging, and customer management would tend to be in the spotlight when it comes to telecom these days, causing people to forget one of the most important systems there is, mediation.
An introduction to mediation
Telecom mediation is a term known as the act of passing information between network elements and network operations, so it takes records of call, data, or any events, commonly known as CDRs (Call Detail Records) or EDRs (Event Detailed Records), in a variety of formats and forwards it to its rightful destination, thus the name “mediation.” It mediates important and necessary data to the correct OSS application, which may include billing, partner management, collections, etc.
Think of it like a website, a beautiful and shiny new website looks good from the outside but behind the scenes, there’s a bunch of coding and programming that the web developer had to do, mediation is like that web developer, the unseen core of great results.
A mediation platform or system essentially is the software that does this process. It collects Call Detail Records (CDRs) or Event Detail Records (EDRs) that are ready to be released by the network switch and converts the events and usage into the required format by the OSS application. Usually, a mediation system is associated with billing, as a crucial functionality in the telecom workflow, however, mediation can be used for a wide array of other functionalities (as mentioned).
So, none of the core functionalities of a telecom provider would be possible without mediation, or at least it would be very hard to do.
Telecom billing and revenue management
As mentioned, billing systems tend to get the limelight of the telecom systems market; the telecom billing and revenue management market is predicted to grow from USD 10.8 billion in 2019 to USD 18.0 billion by 2024. This includes software for Mediation, Billing and Charging, Revenue Assurance, and Fraud Management, and related Services. The popularity of telecom billing systems is rightfully deserved; however, it would be incomplete without mediation. Mediation systems allow telecom billing and revenue management systems to exist.
Billing mediation itself is the process of converting usage data into formats that billing engines can then translate into currency values. So, the same as the definition before, but more currency specific. The rise of mediation systems has given ease and flexibility for CSPs to conduct businesses on a daily basis in a quick and precise manner.
What can it do?
Mediation systems, in fact, cover a range of features ready to make life easier for telecom providers. Below are a few main functionalities to look out for:
This feature ensures the remedial action in response to error handling and the overall efficiency of the system, which includes functionalities like assigning user roles, configuring any parameters, scheduling jobs/processes for each CDRs, monitoring the system’s resources, logging operations, and providing reports and CDRs cycle summaries.
A mediation system has the flexibility to collect network CDRs/EDRs from all types of network elements. It accurately and properly collects all types of data into manageable forms, something that can then be processed by other telecom systems. Having adaptable features for data collection also means ease in handling missing files and duplicated data, no matter the type of data or technology used.
Data conversion essentially means using or executing certain business rules on the collected data. A mediation system has the ability to provide system users with total control when it comes to the mediation part. So, you can control the data, sent and received, according to your own defined record format.
The system should also filter all your data, something definitely needed in the world of telecom today. All CDRs coming in will be distributed and separated into categories based on their attributes; helping to organize and ease up the mass of data.
This feature entails combining multiple CDRs/EDRs into on consolidated record to better file and data management and a more efficient mediation flow.
The Dumper can transfer converted/filtered files into the destination applications’ 'Downstream systems'; typical downstream systems are retail and wholesale billing, fraud management, prepaid platforms, and reporting platforms. This is done by using various dumping rules, in accordance with the data’s needs.
Other functionalities that are generally available in mediation systems are auto-deletion, file recoveries, trace function (used to trace all data and ensure none are missing), and log separation, which helps to assign and group CDRs/EDRs into different log files.
A recap of its awesomeness
To answer the question of why we need a mediation system is because, without it, CSPs would have difficulty functioning. Mediation systems provide a fast-paced and direct method of distributing key data, something the telecom industry is highly intertwined with. Its flexibility also creates ease when handling giant clumps of data.
So, even though mediation may not get all the spotlight, it still works as the heart of a successful telecom operation, and one we should continue to salute to.
For more information about telecom mediation systems, check out ESKADENIA’s mediation system, ESKA Mediation.