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The Evolution of Mobile Call Recording

9 min read
Author Business Systems UK
Date Mar 11, 2016
Category Mobile Call Recording

With the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID II) cracking down on rogue trading and introducing greater regulations into the market place, the need to consider what it means to have a robust mobile call recording solution in place is now more important than ever.

With the introduction of several recording solutions throughout the years and the implications these have had for organisations, we step back in time to consider the evolution of mobile call recording and the journey it has been on to reach where it currently stands in the marketplace today.

2011 – The year Prince William and Kate Middleton got married. Also the year in which the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as it was known then, enforced new rules requiring financial institutions to record all ‘relevant’ conversations employees had on their mobile phones.

2012 – A monumental year for the UK in which the 2012 Olympics took place in London. Also the year in which banks approached the FSA (Financial Service Authority now changed to the FCA) arguing that the mobile call recording technology currently on offer made compliance an impossible process for the majority. Despite this, the FSA fights back:

“All relevant firms have had to implement systems to comply with our rules and the technology has been working successfully for a number of years. We expect all firms to be compliant.” 

Let’s take a look back at the different technologies throughout the years:

2011 – 1st Generation mobile call recording – Application based solutions

In a nutshell this solution meant users are able to download an application directly from their service provider. The app provides a call interception as well as a redirection function to intercept inbound and outbound calls, placing them on hold and dialling a Conference Bridge at the end of which is a call recording server.

An advantage of this solution is that it works in conjunction with any network the user may be on. One of the major drawbacks of this solution is that every call (inbound & outbound) creates an additional outbound call to the conference which increases call costs and causes delays of several seconds when calls are being made or received. Another downfall is the fact that this solution is technically non-compliant as the app is able to be switched off by the user at any given time, making it a less viable option for the majority of regulated firms.

2011-12 – 2nd Generation mobile call recording – SIM based solutions

The second generation of mobile call recording encompasses a SIM replacement solution which means you get to keep your existing number and handset – the only thing that changes is your SIM card. This solution is typically operated by mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) who are able to install a recording capability into their network. There are two ways to record calls – The first is ‘on-demand’ with the option to record a call halfway through a conversation. The second is ‘always available’ which means all calls are constantly being recorded. All calls which are recorded are sent to the data centre for easy storage and retrieval as well as being accessed through a secure and intuitive web interface.

An advantage to this approach is that there are no delays or double dialling – calls made to any handset fitted with a SIM are automatically routed via a platform before being delivered straight to the destination number with no impact on the user experience. Another advantage is that it is not dependant on any particular software, enabling the user to use their existing handsets or choose the handset most suited to them. A disadvantage to this approach is that roaming coverage can be limited, which can be problematic as regulations state that all calls, regardless of location need to be recorded.

2014–15 – 3rd Generation mobile call recording – In network SIM based recording

The third and latest generation of mobile call recording is network based voice recording where calls as well as text messages can be recorded on any mobile device, irrespective of the current operating system. Calls are routed to and from the handset with a mobile switching centre and played back through a secure web interface with the option to be integrated into the playback system of an organisation’s landline or CPE based recording system.

Because this is a network based solution, a key advantage is a more reliable and seamless user experience at home as well as abroad. Another benefit is that some network based solution providers will be able to work with the users’ existing equipment, whether on premise, hosted, third party hosted or hybrid with the ability to dual stream recordings into their multiple existing call recording platforms.

So there you have it – the evolution of mobile call recording technology throughout the years driven primarily by regulatory bodies persisting with their drive for greater transparency and observation of financial activities. Which solution organisations will choose to go through will entirely depend on their user requirements as well as budget.

If you need some advice on mobile call recording, then talk to our team who will be able to provide best fit advice depending on your requirements within an ever changing marketplace.

[1] Banks ignore UK’s mobile phone regulations, Reuters, March 17th 2014