New app promises 'robocall transparency'

First Orion Corporation says testing is promising, system could be on way soon

DETROIT – Your cellphone rings but when you check the screen, all you see is a number and a random city or state calling you.

It's easy to get fed up with robocalls, but the days of mystery callers may be over.

"Caller YD" is a technology being developed by Arkansas-based First Orion Corporation.

The company's CEO, Jeff Stalnaker, said the goal is for consumers to have access to the new call system by 2020.

"When your phone rings, you know who is calling and why," Stalnaker said. "What we don't want to do is classify all robocalls as bad."

This will be done through a picture that pops up on your screen when a company is calling.

Stalnaker said the caller transparency system has been under development with a major phone carrier for the last 24 months.

"When you look at the statistic that 84 percent of mobile calls go unanswered, you realize that there is a massive problem for legitimate business with legitimate purposes," Stalnaker said. "You can't get them to answer the phone because all they see is 10 digits and maybe a state."

The reluctance to answer cellphone calls leaves messages from the pharmacy, school or another legitimate calls unanswered, but many people fear getting burdened by scammers.

The company conducted a survey of 1,000 cellphone owners and found more than half (55 percent) had received a scam call in the past month.

Orion already offers various cellphone call protection apps, including a system to block unwanted calls that can be purchased at the Google Play store or Apple store. But Stalnaker hopes this new system will take robocall blocking to the next level.

For information on the apps First Orion has that will block robo calls, click here.

"YD 2020 is coming soon," Stalnaker said. "We're just in the pilot stages of launching this. It's complete and full transparency, and it's free."

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