Tag: Caller ID

Do you ever think about what you’d do without caller ID? I do. I’d burn the tread on so many “Is your refrigerator running” classics, it’d go out of style (and don’t even try to tell me it’s already out of style). They’d call me “The Prankster” and no one would know it was me. Ah, the days of anonymity.

Admittedly, we all take caller ID for granted these days, but in reality, people have been using different forms of “identification” throughout the ages.

Talking Drums

Thanks to messages relayed by talking drums, African tribes knew of European explorers’ arrival in a new village or area before they even arrived (much to the chagrin of the explorers, I’m sure). At the time, they learned that information could be carried by drum for up to 100 miles.

Smoke Signals

LOTR Gondor

Speaking of communications that can travel for hundreds of miles… remember that stellar scene in LOTR where the Rohan army was signaled to help aid Gondor in battle? From soldiers in Ancient China to Native Americans to Australian Aborigines and even the Vatican, people have used fire and smoke signals to communicate that they have arrived in a new territory, to signal trouble or call for help, or even to signal the selection of a new Pope.


Heralds were originally officers in medieval Europe, responsible for carrying messages between commanders of opposing armies. In the 12th century, a herald formally announced tournaments (including jousting!), and the name of each competitor. It was essential for the heralds to recognize the arms of local nobles on sight, and be familiar with each family.


caller id carson

Let’s raise a glass to Downton Abbey for re-educating our generation on the in’s and out’s of butlers back in the day. You KNOW Carson would keep away any unwelcome callers.

According to Emily Post’s 1922 book of etiquette, “when a servant at a door says ‘Not at home,’ this phrase means that the lady of the house is ‘Not at home to visitors.’“ While saying “Not receiving” actually means the same thing, saying “not at home” is more polite: “Since in the former you know she is in the house but won’t see you, whereas in the latter case you have the ‘pleasant uncertainty that it is quite possible she is out’.”

Calling cards

In Victorian times, if you wanted to call a friend, your only option was to swing by their house with a calling card. Cards served a number of social purposes, with strict rules.

Generally, the bearer waited in a carriage, and had a servant deliver the calling card. It was expected that one would deliver the card to a servant and leave. The receiver of the card “returned the call” with their own card in a few days, inviting the initiator back for a visit. If the aspiring socialite received the answering card sealed in an envelope or did not receive a return card, it meant to maintain a social distance. “Oh, a sealed envelope, huh? You’re coming through loud and clear, Diane. LOUD AND CLEAR.”

Telephone operators

history caller id

As telephone networks expanded, every phone call was processed through a switchboard. Switchboards were manned 24/7. The operators knew just about everything that was happening in small communities – bet the gossip around that water cooler was *quite* juicy. It was commonplace to call the operator when trying to locate someone. Every call had a certain ring. The sound and number of rings showed who the call was for, “so after a while, everyone knew who was calling who,” said a retired operator.

Caller ID

Work on caller ID technology started in 1968 by Theodore George Paraskevakos. In 1971, “Ted” developed a transmitter and receiver, making the very first caller ID prototype. The prototypes were a hit with the telephone companies. In fact, the telephone companies originally wanted caller ID to be a pay-for-play business, charging for each call and providing the caller ID in the form of a voice announcement. Thankfully, Mr. John Harris had a better idea and promoted the idea of caller ID on a telephone set display.

In 1976, Mr. Kazuo Hashimoto, built said prototype of the set display. Between 1984-1989, depending on your location and service provider, caller ID made it into your household.

Then, in 1995, we had the first technological popularity contest: call waiting. You’re on the phone and you hear a beep. You look down at your phone display and see who’s calling. Then, you have a decision to make. Is that first call more important or are you ready to ditch that first call for the new, younger call that just came over the line? Tough decisions!

Smartphone Caller ID

With the introduction of the mobile phone, caller ID fell by the wayside for a few years until Android brought it back to life. Now, apps like Hiya tell you who’s calling. We’ve come a long way from smoke signals, number of rings, telephone operators, etc. These days, your caller ID gives you social updates, call & text blocking and even the weather from where your caller’s located. We’re practically the Jetsons.

caller id history

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When you meet someone for the first time, it’s not always easy to remember a name or tie a face and name together. Even the most reliable people have a hard time remembering the most crucial details after meeting a handful of people at one time.

Aside from being polite when trying to remember names, it also becomes an issue that can impact your social and professional lives. Forgetting the name of your neighbor’s boss means it will be more difficult to follow up on that job offer, or knowing that you’re going to have to remember the name of your son’s best friend’s dad will eventually come into play. But wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to make the process more automatic and less of a struggle?

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Hard

The name-and-face game doesn’t have to be a dance around the issue of running into a new acquaintance whose name you don’t quite remember or whose face you’re having trouble placing. Instead of only relying on your memory—powerful, sure, but not always reliable—the solution is sitting right in your pocket: your smartphone.

With the free Hiya app, you can tie together names, numbers and faces. It’s time to swap out your classic desktop Rolodex for your phone, the modern version that has the added benefit containing pictures along with addresses, and phone numbers.

The Hiya app is a tool that can get you out of many awkward social moments. When you see someone you recognize, but whose name you can’t quite remember, try checking your phone. If they’re also a Hiya user and you’ve saved them as a contact, then you’ll have their name and photo right at your fingertips.

By seamlessly integrating Hiya with your social network like Facebook, your phone does most of the work related to remembering names and faces for you. Hiya users that you’ve stored as a contact will automatically show the person’s most up-to-date profile picture and name. There’s no more worrying about an unrecognized number calling your phone, or trying to remember who “Cindy from Work Conference” is, or if another number is that telemarketer that won’t give up because you can see exactly who is calling you.

A Useful Tool, Right in Your Pocket

No matter where you go, there’s always the potential to meet new people who are currently or will soon become involved in your life. Wouldn’t it be nice to meet them, add them to your contacts, and not have to worry about remembering a name, face, or number the next time one of you wants to get in touch? By downloading the Hiya app, you can.

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In a time not long ago, 2008, a gallon of gas cost $3.39. The Phoenix Lander identified water in a Mars soil-sample. Barack Obama (D) became the first African American US President. The world was still reeling from the introduction of Hannah Montana and a writers strike forced people to find hobbies outside of new television (gasp!) for three months. And in that year, a piece of technology that had gone by the wayside since the moment smartphones were invented came to life: caller ID for your smartphone.

Smartphone caller ID has come a long way since its inception and there’s still room for improvement, but think of the progress we’ve made. What did your phone even look like then? 10 bucks says you were using a BlackBerry like the rest of us.

Now, let’s take a look at what other pieces of greatness came out in 2008. (To be clear, I’m not talking about the BlackBerry Bold).

Top Songs

2008 music

Low performed by Flo Rida feat. T. Pain, Bleeding Love performed by Leona Lewis, No One performed by Alicia Keys, Lollipop performed by Lil Wayne feat. Static Mayor, Apologize performed by Timbaland feat. One Republic

Top Movies

2008 movies

Wall-e, No Country for Old Men (2008 Oscar Winner), The Dark Knight (RIP Heath Ledger), Iron Man, Twilight

Top TV Shows

2008 tv

American Idol, CSI, The Mentalist (hunka hunka), NCIS, Dancing with the Stars

Sportsball and such

2008 sports

Super Bowl Champions: New York Giants (the cost of an ad in 2008 was $2,700,000), NBA Champions: Boston Celtics, World Series Champions: Philadelphia Phillies, Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China: Usain Bolt breaks the record for 100-m sprint with 9.69 seconds.

Who was born in this year

You guys, they’re 8. If they’re gonna be famous, we don’t know about them yet. It wasn’t that long ago.


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Spam and scam – two words that look and sound very similar. To many people, they essentially mean the same: trouble. Here at Hiya, we use these words a lot when we talk about phone security. As we continue to follow our mission of protecting our users from unwanted calls, we want to make sure that they know how to identify a spam or scam call.

We’ve found however, that the lines can become blurry between a spam versus a scam call. So we’re taking a moment to set the record straight and find out what the real difference is.  

A Bunch of Junk – Spam Calls Explained

Our Data and Reputation Services team are experts when it comes to detecting the newest phone spam or scam. They know what distinguishes a spam from a scam call and what you should do if you get one. This is how Jan Volzke, our VP of Reputation Services, explains a spam call,

“Spam calls are similar to email spam in the sense that they’re a form of unwanted communication. Spam calls and text messages are distributed in bulk and in most cases unsolicited, which means they occur without any prior request. Examples may include telemarketers, who are typically live agents hoping to sell their legitimate (albeit unsolicited) services. Another variant of spam calls are robocalls, which deliver a pre-recorded voice statement with the same goal of a sale. Like email spam, robocalls are illegal without prior consent.”

It is also interesting to monitor the call patterns of Spam calls. Call patterns exhibit unique characteristics that allow sophisticated heuristic algorithms to identify Spam calls. Here is a pattern for a number used by Telemarketers:

The pattern shows that Telemarketers consistently make a large number of calls over a long period of time. The daily volumes do not vary by much.

Cheats, Thieves, Swindlers – Meet the Scammers

Here is how Jan defines a scam call,

“Scam calls are a form of fraudulent activity with the goal of stealing your money or your information. Similar to email scams, phone scams often present a bargain for merchandise, or something completely free (such as a free prize or winning a contest). Others demand payment for actions that victims have not done or services not ordered, including missing jury duty or payments on an outstanding debt like unpaid taxes or utility bills. Scams may arrive in form of either calls or text messages and should be blocked or deleted.”

Call patterns for Scam calls are completely different. Since these are criminals, they use one number for a short duration of time and quickly discard it. Here is the call pattern for a number used to propagate an IRS scam. The lifespan of the number is very short and the volumes are bursty in nature – a few days of large amounts of calls, followed by a long period of no activity.


Scam calls are harder to identify because of how short their lifespan is. Criminals are getting smarter and frequently switching numbers to avoid detection. Most anti-spam solutions that rely on user reports are ineffective against scam callers for this very reason.  Advanced heuristics-based call pattern analysis and machine learning algorithms help detect scam calls.

Whether it’s a spam or a scam call, the best thing to do is avoid engaging with these numbers. If you happen to pick up a call that seems suspicious, hang up immediately. An unwanted call may at best be annoying and at worst may lead consumers into costly traps.

If you want to put an end to all those pesky calls, we’ve got you covered. The Hiya mobile app provides you with real-time alerts of incoming calls that are marked as suspected spam or scam. By blocking and blacklisting numbers, you can stop repeat spammers and scammers from ever ringing through to you. Say bye to spam and scam with Hiya.

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1976: A gallon of gas costs $0.59. Polyester, platform shoes, and velvet blazers reign king. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak form Apple Computer Company. The Viking 1 lands safely on Mars. Jimmy Carter (D) wins the US Presidential election. And Caller ID was created.

That last one gave you goosebumps, didn’t it? I know the feeling. But let’s all contain our excitement for a moment and check out some other incredibly noteworthy accomplishments from the year of the corduroy suit.

Top Songs:

1976 TopSongs

Silly Love Songs performed by WingsDon’t Go Breaking my Heart performed by Elton John & Kiki DeeDisco Lady performed by Johnnie TaylorDecember, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) performed by Four SeasonsPlay That Funky Music performed by Wild Cherry

Top Movies

1976 movies

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1976 Oscar Winner), Rocky, The Omen, Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men

Top TV Shows

1976 tv

Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Charlie’s Angels, The Six Million Dollar Man, M*A*S*H

Sportsball and such

1976 sports

NBA Champions: Boston Celtics, Super Bowl Champions: Pittsburgh Steelers (the cost of a Superbowl ad in 1976 was $110,000), World Series Champions: Cincinnati Reds, Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria: Nadia Comanici (Romania) earns the first “perfect 10” in gymnastics

Fun Factoids


Stretch Armstrong was the most popular toy (and why not), IBM produced the first laser printer named the IBM 3800, VHS tapes were released, Concorde cuts transatlantic flight time to 3.5 hours


Can you dig it? This is the same year the words “Jazzercise”, “download”, and “startup” (heyO!) made it into the dictionary – this is a very big year. Pretty far out if you ask me. Now dream on, dreamers and keep on truckin’.

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We’ve all been guilty of clogging up our smartphones with apps. But over time, some people have learned to limit the number of apps they have on their phones for a variety of reasons, while others are quick to test a cool new app, but soon delete it if it isn’t worth keeping around.

However, no matter how you find and organize the apps you use, it’s all about knowing what to look for in a high-quality mobile app that makes the process easier.

When it comes to a caller ID app that’s versatile and you can see yourself using on a daily basis, it’s even more important to make sure you’re picking the right one.

Here are five things to look for in a mobile caller ID app:

1  Awesome data sources: The most immediate advantage offered by a caller ID app is how it identifies incoming calls and text messages. Gone are the days of debating on whether you’ll pick up a call. Now you’ll immediately know if you want to answer, ignore or even block future calls from the number. Because you’ll be making big decisions based on what your app tells you, it’s crucial that the data used by the app is accurate and up to date. Hiya leverages a reliable, consistently updated database to provide you the best info possible.

2  ID for both text and calls: The use of texting has become a practical and easy alternative to phone calls, it makes so much more sense, that many people want to identify not only voice calls, but text messages too. A caller ID app that doesn’t provide this service means limited effectiveness and a lot of time spent trying to figure out who is texting you and why. Hiya delivers info on incoming calls and texts, giving you complete coverage on both methods of communication.

3  Detect and avoid spam: Why go through the process of determining if an incoming call is spam when the right app can do it for you? Hiya not only identifies the person or company trying to call your phone, it also lets you know if that person has been reported in the past as a telemarketer, scammer or annoying caller. With that initial information, you can choose to ignore those calls and avoid what could be a costly phone call.

4  Block unwanted callers: Having more control over your calls means you should also get to choose which calls you receive. Finding a caller ID app that gives you that capability will brighten up your day because it stops unwanted calls from interrupting you. Hiya  lets you block any phone number—spam or not. So whether you want to block that telemarketer, or don’t ever want to take a call from your ex again, Hiya has you covered.

5  Customization and ease of use: A smart caller ID app allows users to change settings and make decisions that create a personalized and more individually effective program. With the Hiya app, you can customize how your caller identity shows up when calling other app users. It helps them recognize that it’s you and gets more of your calls answered. A lot of that is due to a simple integration with Facebook or LinkedIn. When you connect Hiya to one of your social profiles, you automatically get your name and photo updated on your caller identity.

Need to see more? Check out some of our other cool features like location and photo sharing by watching our video.


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Hiya made its first appearance in June on Geekwire 200, but this month they’ve made the biggest jump! Moving up 62 spots to number 134, the caller ID app officially spun out of Whitepages in April, and continues to grow and keeps users up-to-date on the latest phone scams, phone protection, and industry news and trends.

Check out their new ranking on GeekWire 200 by clicking the image below:


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You may not realize it, or want to admit it, but mobile phones have become our lifelines. Today, your mobile phone does much more than make phone calls. It’s your calendar, alarm clock, phone book, and portal to the Web, where other cherished items like email and social media live. So it’s no surprise then, that people are buying more of them. But with more phones in the wild, comes the flood of unknown numbers.

Let’s take a look at the spike in mobile phones and learn more about how Hiya helps you manage them by blocking unwanted calls.

Mobile phones are on the rise

The use of smartphones and tablets keeps growing. The number of worldwide mobile users is estimated to go from 4.3 billion in 2014 to 5.2 billion by 2019. That’s a 21% increase. Believe it or not, the average person in North America will own approximately 3 mobile devices by 2019. What these numbers tell us is simple: the amount of mobile phone numbers is rising rapidly.

What that means for you

Life would be easier if your mobile phone automatically identified names for incoming calls. Unfortunately, this only happens when a number is already stored in your phone book. And now, as mobile devices become more of a hot commodity that we all own, the chance of us getting caught off guard with a phone call from an unrecognized number is going to rise. No one wants to return a call to a telemarketer by accident or otherwise waste time with unknown numbers that are better off avoided. At the same time, the growing number of mobile devices—more than one per person on average—means it’s increasingly likely that when you receive a call, you won’t recognize the number, even if it’s a family member, close friend, or a manager at work. Sorting through these two very different types of calls is time consuming and frustrating without using the right tools.

Identify & block unwanted numbers

The old saying, where there’s a will there’s a way applies here. We developed Hiya to solve these issues. With Caller ID, you’ll finally have the ability to know who’s calling even if they aren’t in your phone book. It’s a free app for your Android that helps you make better decisions on which calls to answer. And as an increasing amount of mobile devices continue to flood the phone lines, you might find that you want to block certain numbers—spammers, scammers, and exes, to name a few. Caller ID allows you to block phone numbers of your choosing so they stop interrupting your day. Now’s your time to take control and send unwanted calls straight to voice mail and prevent them from ringing through.
Hiya has other cool features like location sharing and spam ID. Download it free on the Google Play Store.

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Recently, a few of us attended the IMS World Forum in Amsterdam. This was the first time Hiya has attended this show.  We learned quite a bit, but more importantly, we confirmed that Hiya has a lot to offer the global IMS ecosystem. Network-based caller ID and spam detection is still a nascent market.

There were many takeaways from the show regarding the status of IMS deployments at various mobile operators around the world.  Broadly speaking, there is a wide spectrum: some are “bleeding edge” innovative, others are focusing on optimizing the virtualization process, and still others are just entering into planning stage. This cut across mobile operator size and region.

However, one unifying theme did emerge across all operators: for the past 3-5 years, the overall focus of their IMS strategy has been about reducing costs. This is completely understandable because migrating to an IMS platform is not trivial.  It is also “core” network. The complexities and associated risk are very large.

The “bleeding edge” operators appear to be deploying or considering the deployment of next-generation IMS services.  For example, we saw one case study where Vodafone UK successfully deployed wifi calling.  Others are deploying or looking at deploying Video over LTE (ViLTE) in the near future.

But this is just the head of the snake. The vast majority of operators are just now beginning to think about which innovative IMS services to deploy.  It appears that the cost-reduction phase might be bleeding into a new, forward-thinking phase.

This is where Hiya can help.

Deploying caller ID and spam protection via the Telephony Application Server (TAS) enables a mobile operator to offer ubiquitous protection across all devices on the network, regardless of operating system (Android, iOS) or device (phones, tablets, cars, appliances).

At Hiya, we work with all industry-leading TAS servers and can deploy our services via a hybrid server/client model.  We can even help the mobile operator build and deploy apps to help crystalize the value for their subscribers.

The backdrop to this are two related trends:

  1. The cost of perpetrating mass spam and fraud continues to go down. Consequently, more and more bad actors are spamming. It’s a truly global problem that client-only solutions are increasingly struggling to address.
  2. Regulators are beginning to respond. In the U.S., regulators have recently enabled U.S. mobile operators to block spam.  Legislation in Congress is calling for even stricter measures. Similar trends are happening within the E.U. 

At Hiya, we encourage all mobile operators to start addressing the growing spam problem sooner rather than later.  We believe that network-based spam detection, anchored in industry-leading solutions like the ones we offer, would be a prudent first service to prioritize in this new IMS-enabled world. It would also go a long way towards building subscriber trust to reduce churn and maximize future monetization strategies.

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We know you’d rather not think about it, but remember the days before caller ID? The anxiety you’d get every time the phone would ring and all you could do was GUESS who was on the other end of the line.

Well we’re taking you back, back into time, when you had all these feels before caller ID made life a little bit less stressful!

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