New apps help firms screen phone numbers on Do-Not-Call list

A screen capture of the Hoiio telephony app which has the SpiderGate software on it. Each time a call is made from the app, the user can check the number against the DNC Registry over the Internet. -- ST PHOTO: IRENE THAM
A screen capture of the Hoiio telephony app which has the SpiderGate software on it. Each time a call is made from the app, the user can check the number against the DNC Registry over the Internet. -- ST PHOTO: IRENE THAM

As firms scramble to comply with the Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry rules that are now in force, new services have sprung up quickly to help them screen their extensive call lists.

One local firm, Straits Interactive, has developed paid software called SpiderGate, which works with free telephony app Hoiio to identify within seconds if a number is listed on the DNC Registry.

The app was developed by local telephony firm Hoiio.

The service is targeted at firms from sectors such as insurance and property, whose agents are constantly on the move.

Each time a call is made from the app, the user can check the number against the DNC Registry over the Internet.

The user will be notified within five seconds if he can proceed with the call.

The Straits Interactive-Hoiio partnership's first customer is Savills Singapore, which has 800 property agents.

Ms Eileen Quek, 33, an agent from the property services firm, said the service has helped her maintain her productivity despite having to check the DNC Registry, which was launched last Thursday. Previously, she could make five to 10 calls to potential customers in a day. "I can still make the same number of calls now," said Ms Quek.

Checking the DNC Registry is largely done manually if companies do not wish to have the process automated with technologies such as SpiderGate and Hoiio.

First, a user has to upload files with numbers on the DNC Registry's website.

A cleaned-up list can then be downloaded from the website, with a waiting time that varies from a few seconds for the website to screen 10 numbers, to 20 minutes on average for three million numbers.

Another Savills agent, Mr Stephen Chua, 42, said the service gives him peace of mind.

"You want to be able to call without going through list after list, and yet be in the clear with the law," he said.

Straits Interactive-Hoiio has already signed up more than 10 companies in the real estate, financial services and lifestyle industries.

Companies pay a basic fee of $8,000 for the SpiderGate system to work with landlines.

An additional $240 per year applies for each mobile line.

The Hoiio app is free to download from the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores.

While users have to pay an airtime charge of 3.4 cents per minute, it is cheaper than the average 16 cents per minute charged by local telcos.

Users also have to pay 1.07 cents per number for Straits Interactive-Hoiio to check the DNC Registry. This is cheaper than the 2.5 cents per number that users have to pay if they do so themselves.

Another local company, Fort Digital, is offering similar services.

The SMS broadcast service provider - which counts mega-store chain Courts and realty firm DTZ as clients - charges users 1.2 cents per number to check the DNC Registry.

Both Straits Interactive-Hoiio and Fort Digital can charge less for the checking service as they buy credits in bulk from the DNC Registry.

itham@sph.com.sg