Bytes launches name-matching solution for African names

Bytes Universal Systems, a Bytes Technology Group company, has launched |Guiro, its patented software solution that enables intelligent name-matching for African names. |Guiro aims to help companies manage their customer data more effectively.

“One of the great challenges in maintaining an accurate customer or citizen database is ensuring that all information pertaining to an individual is consolidated,” says Winston Anderson, chief architect at Bytes Universal Systems. “Programs already exist to help companies match data that has been collected under variant spellings of names, but they are designed for European languages and naming systems. |Guiro now allows them to perform the same cleansing on databases that contain African names.”

For example, name-matching methods can relate Thomson and Thompson, Smith and Smythe, or even first names like Robin and Robyn. Now, with the aid of |Guiro, companies can also relate information captured under Radebe to Hadebe, which are variant spellings of the same surname. |Guiro thus takes into account the different ways in which local phonetic sounds are rendered in Western script.

This phonetic matching is achieved via a patented method, Dumsandi, which is part of |Guiro.

|Guiro combines the phonetic matching provided by Dumsandi to score other characteristics of each entry (address, ID number, household number, gender and so on). This score helps to distinguish between exact matches, assumed matches, potential duplicates and genuinely different records.

“Customer information is typically stored in different places in a company’s systems, and under different variants of the same name, particularly if it has been captured by different people,” Anderson notes. “But when a customer phones in to a call centre, it’s very important that the agent can access all the information about them to deliver the best quality of service. |Guiro will help them access vital information about Mr Khumalo that was captured under the name Kumalo, for example.”

Consumer research shows that modern-day customers are increasingly insistent that companies recognise them no matter what channel they are using to interact with the company, and deliver a consistent experience. Companies are thus under pressure to use the vast amounts of customer data they already possess more effectively—but it needs to be both accurate and complete. Software such as |Guiro plays a role in helping to make that customer data useful.

Name-matching has a major role to play in helping both the private and public sector detect and cut down on fraud, especially when it comes to short-term and medical insurance claims and social benefit payments, says Anderson. Global experience also shows that it can also significantly enhance service delivery for large projects such as National Healthcare.

“|Guiro” is derived from a word in Khoekhoegowab, one of the Khoe languages, that means “match”, and the “|” symbol denotes a click. “Dumsandi” is a portmanteau from words for “sound” in Tswana/Sotho and Zulu/Xhosa.


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Bytes launches name-matching solution for African names