Equinox Information Systems
As seen in the April 2, 2018, INCOMPAS Insights eNewsletter
Headquarters: Madison, TN
Q: Tell us about your company history. When was it founded? How has the company evolved since its founding? Have your services changed? Are there key milestones in your company’s history and growth that you can highlight?
Equinox Information Systems was founded in 1986 on a simple, yet clearly-defined vision: to be a great place to work and always do the right thing for our employees and customers. Because of this founding mission, our goal is not to measure our success in terms of revenue growth. Instead, we focus on providing exceptional service and fostering long-term relationships with our customers always. And this philosophy has stood the test of time—Equinox has shown a profit for 30 consecutive years, average employee tenure is 17+ years, we have served more than 360 companies, and the number of customers who has ever declined to serve as a reference for us is zero. Measured by these statistics, our success stands as a testament to the founding principles.
When Equinox first opened its doors in 1986, we developed custom software for the rapidly emerging and competitive telecommunications industry. By 1991, we had developed expertise with Class 5 switch databases and the collection of usage records from multiple switching platforms. In 2011, version 10.0 of Protector was the most widely installed fraud management system in the country, and the company’s TeleLink platform emerged as a leader in the revenue assurance market space. In 2013, TeleLink broke new ground in the mediation arena—processing a billion records per day. Today, Equinox is the dominant supplier of Fraud Management Systems (FMS) to telecommunications companies in the US market, and the company has deployed TeleLink to address the usage analytics and reporting requirements for least 60 other carriers for an unparalleled depth of experience in the telecom business assurance arena. In 2015, company ownership transitioned to the employees as part of an employee stocked owned program (ESOP), whereby every employee is a stakeholder in the company’s success.
Q: Please tell us about company’s top executives and the work that they are doing in our industry.
The members of our management team have been part of Equinox Information Systems for an average of over 25 years each.
Byron Middendorf is Equinox’s CEO, owner, and founder. With over 35 years’ experience in the telecom industry, Byron provides vision and long-term strategic development for the company and its complete suite of software solutions. As an active participant in many industry organizations, Byron contributes articles and white papers to many trade journals. Although he enjoys those tasks, he is most passionate about his mission to ensure that Equinox is a great place to work.
Wayne Lowe founded Equinox in 1986, and as the company’s President has continued to be actively involved in daily operations. Applying his three plus decades of industry experience, he oversees the development staff and also handles all HR and finance tasks for the company. Wayne regularly contributes his time and resources to several local charities.
David West joined Equinox in 1996 with a focus on sales and strategic planning. He continues in this role today, overseeing all sales and marketing efforts as well as working closely with customers and developers to ensure that Equinox solutions evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of the telecom industry. As the company’s Executive Vice President, David actively participates in multiple industry organizations, serves on several such committees, and regularly blogs on industry trends and topics.
As Vice President of Support, Joe Herron oversees all aspects of customer support, including testing, documentation, installation, training, and help desk. Since joining Equinox in 1996, Joe has worked tirelessly with our customers to be sure that they all not only benefit from using our products but that they also describe their experience with us as extraordinary.
Q: Where do you provide services?
Since 1986 we have worked with carriers located around the globe. Equinox solutions scale to accommodate any sized company in any location. We currently have installations in the United States, Canada, Australia, several Caribbean countries, Mexico, and Singapore, to name a few.
Q: What types of services do you offer your customers?
Equinox specializes in business assurance solutions that help telecom companies stop fraud, mediate usage data, manage expense, and optimize revenue. We do so by offering two key solutions that address profitability and network efficiency issues. The two systems are currently installed at companies around the world. The systems’ configurable settings let each company address custom needs/projects.
- Protector, the most installed fraud management system in the U.S., is a comprehensive, scalable solution that distinguishes telecom fraud from legitimate customer usage to help combat even the newest fraud schemes. Protector is a time-tested and market-proven system that has well earned its reputation by saving carriers hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud losses over the years.
- TeleLink solves business assurance challenges by making usage data actionable. Its advanced usage detail analytics, call reconciliation, invoice reconstruction, routing assurance, and margin analysis tools provide essential revenue management, expense management, and network management benefits.
Q: What is your target customer base? Please include names of prominent customers and case study details.
Since 1986 we have worked with more than 360 carriers around the world. Our TeleLink and Protector solutions currently process 1.7 billion usage records daily for customers across all market segments of the telecom industry, including cable/MSO, wireless, wireline, ILEC, CLEC, VoIP/UCaaS, IXC, peering, teleconferencing, and wholesale providers around the globe. While we focus on tier 2 and smaller companies, our solutions scale to accommodate any sized company in any location.
We currently supply mission critical software to companies like Birch Communications, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Consolidated Communications, Frontier, Inteliquent, Windstream, and a host of others. Visit the following links for a complete customer list
and representative case studies
Q: What are the biggest challenges that your company faces and how is your company overcoming these challenges?
We recognize that profit margins are extremely tight in the telecom industry, so it’s critical for companies to protect and optimize their bottom line. Therefore, our solution is valuable only if it creates benefit for a carrier in one of those two areas. Our challenge is to engineer solutions that respond to technological advancements rapidly, efficiently, and most importantly cost effectively so that it positively affects the customer’s financial performance. To do so, we develop all applications in partnership with customers to address specific business needs.
By driving product innovations based solely on customer feedback, we ensure that features provide true value for existing customers and appeal to prospective customers. Additionally, by designing configurable settings, customers can adjust to changing trends or business shifts directly in the application rather than waiting for expensive code changes. Finally, we offer a la carte options, for maximum flexibility and cost-efficiency in addressing specific revenue assurance challenges.
Q: What are your competitive opportunities and threats?
During our 31 years in telecom, we’ve served most tier 2 U.S. carriers, including 10 of the top 15 service providers/cable companies in the country. Yet, in the million-dollar advertising age and a highly competitive industry, many folks may not realize all that Equinox has to offer or that we are able to help companies of all sizes. While some may view this situation as a competitive threat, we view it as an opportunity—we make sure all customers get personal service from the entire Equinox team and that our solutions offer reliable, market-proven results. In fact, our marketing strategy involves taking care of and listening to our customers. We do not advertise in traditional ways. We take care of our customers and employees, and they, in turn, take care of marketing our solutions.
Q: How is technology/new products and services impacting your business model?
Our goal is to make sure customers are satisfied and possess the tools needed for protecting and growing their revenue. We listen to and let our customers’ input drive product development. Because features are designed to address their specific needs, our business model remains the same—educate ourselves about new technology and products in the telecom industry, stay abreast of policy/regulatory changes, and most importantly, continue to take care of our employees so they can create and deliver the best telecom solutions in the industry.
Q: Have you recently acquired new customers? Entered new markets? Added new services/products?
In the last year, we’ve welcomed several new customers to the Equinox family, including Birch Communications, CTS Telecom, FirstLight, New Horizons Communications, OneStream Networks, Saddleback Communications and Reinvent Telecom, and Solarus. We’ve also deployed new or additional Equinox solutions for many existing customers, including Armstrong, BCM One, BVU, CallOne, Charter, Cincinnati Bell, First Communications, Granite, InContact, Midco, Telem Group, Transbeam, and WOW!
We constantly optimize our Protector and TeleLink applications to meet customers’ real-world business challenges. Some of the recent product additions include:
- Adding hundreds more event and statistical fields for advanced reporting and usage analytics.
- Driving new product features and functions based on our Metaswitch partnership.
- Refining the quick glance dashboards in our FMS.
- Offering native FCC Rural Call Completion compliance reporting.
- Further extending the library of rating and routing assurance templates in the system.
- Offering switch-based and operational measurement (OM) reporting.
- Redesigning and reintroducing the TeleLink user forum.
- Introducing dashboards and explorers in TeleLink.
- Deploying additional SIP monitoring options for the FMS.
- Adding revenue management tools for bursted usage reporting.
Q: Describe your relationship with INCOMPAS. How long have you been a member. Why did you decide to join the association? What are you looking to gain from your INCOMPAS membership (policy advocacy, new business, networking, education, etc)?
Equinox was an active member of INCOMPAS from 1987 (when it was called Comptel) until 2017. During that time, we participated in every annual meeting and tradeshow the organization offered. After a one-year hiatus, Equinox rejoined INCOMPAS in 2018 to more actively engage with our customers, many of whom are also members of the INCOMPAS organization.
INCOMPAS events have always been an important avenue for connecting with customers and industry experts. Also, INCOMPAS lets us keep a close eye on the business and regulatory issues currently facing the telecom industry. This information allows us to quickly and effectively support our customers.