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A billing mediation platform is a system used to convert data of certain datatypes to other datatypes, usually for billing purposes. Billing Mediation Platforms are used mostly by telephone companies, who typically need to process UDRs (Usage Detail Records). In call scenarios UDRs are most often known as CDRs (Call Detail Records), and among broadband carriers they are often referred to as IPDR.
The CDR/UDR datatypes hold data such as NPX, NPA, Call Duration, peak time flag and call length. Data may be represented in ascii or binary formats. The billing mediation platform typically reads this data and converts it into common normalized format.
Billing Systems and all other downstream systems, in turn, converts this data to component[its own] understandable format.
Billing mediation platforms get their name from their behavior: they "mediate" data between systems. In a typical telephone company scenario, the systems providing data to the mediation platform are network elements, such as telephone switches, and the systems receiving data from the mediation platform perform accounting, auditing, archiving, or bill-generation functions. The mediation system collects, collates and prepares data for consumption by the downstream systems, which often accept data only in a limited set of formats.
Typically a mediation platform is used for the following tasks:
- Collection and validation of CDRs
- Filtering out of non billing-relevant CDRs
- Correlation of different input sources CDRs
- Aggregation of partial CDRs related to the same call
- Format change and CDRs normalization
- Business transformation of data
In a telecom billing scenario, mediation is the first step after receiving a CDR. The mediated CDR is forwarded to a rating engine, which calculates the charge associated with the CDRs. In today's world Rating Engines are more becoming necessary for the telecom billing system to meet the growing variant customer needs for different services.
Despite the name, not all of the data transferred via billing mediation platforms is actually used for billing purposes. For instance, the mediation software might generate traffic volume statistics based on the number and origin of the records passing through it. Those statistics could then be used for capacity planning, as part of a network monitoring procedure, or for any other business intelligence applications.
At core Mediation involves data transfer between various systems with or without modification of data starting from Network elements to OSS/BSS systems.
Sophisticated Billing Mediation software serves end to end functionality for telecom operators. Mediation software performs various operation from data collection to downstream distribution to modules like retail billing, interconnect settlement, business intelligence, fraud detection and revenue assurance.
Following list provides insight on mediation software activities
- Collection and Archive
- Normalization (Common Format)
- Record Enrichment (Using Complex Reference Data)
- Duplicate Record Detection
- Aggregation or Correlation
- Downstream Format Mapping
- Header and Trailer generation
- Downstream Distribution
- Error Messaging and Alarms
- Auditing and Reports
- Reference Data Configuration
- Provisioning services for the subscription.
Complementary to Billing Mediation functions, comprehensive mediation platforms also provide functionality dedicated to Service Provisioning (the two areas frequently intermix as services configured and used by the end customer result in usage data records generation in the network).
Mediating between the systems is not the only job that Mediation Platform can do. Actually this can be used as a provisioning agent. The basic provisioning commands can be configured within the mediation system and whenever we get a request for the system which does the provisioning, the request can be converted into a file, in which mediation can append the service provisioning commands and send it to HLR for activating any request. This of course, load dependent but can come very handy when there is a crisis in the other system.
Mediation platforms for Telecom Practice supports various systems:
- Retail Billing
- Wholesale Billing - National and International
- Network Traffic Management
- Data Warehousing
- Reconciliation system
- Fraud Management
- Provisioning Feed to Sub-systems
- Assurance Insight SynapSystem
Telecom operators offer Voice, video, data, fax and internet services to subscribers and partners on various product lines.Mediation products are tuned to provide solutions for complex business challenges
The call data is produced by network devices in the form of CDRs (Call Detail Record).