What’s new in nCode 10?

nCode 10.0 is the latest version of Nova’s powerful address quality engine for Canadian mailing addresses.  nCode 10.0 was released on January 17, 2011 to coincide with the first release of  Canada Post’s new point of call reference data.  There are a lot of significant improvements in nCode 10.0.  You can get the full story in our What’s New in nCode 10.0? whitepaper, but the highlights can be found below.

Point of Call Reference Data

The primary driver for changes to nCode in version 10.0 is the introduction by Canada Post of Point of Call Range Based Address Data (PoCAD).  Up until now, all SERP software, including every previous version of nCode has been based on the Postal Code Address Data (PCAD) file published by Canada Post.

As of January 17, 2011, Canada Post requires that SERP recognized software produce Statement of Accuracy (SOA) reports using PoCAD data instead of PCAD data.  According to usage restrictions imposed by Canada Post, only SERP recognized software can use PoCAD data.

The PoCAD data is more granular and will detect street numbers and apartment numbers that don’t exist, despite being in the middle of ranges that are known to be valid according to PCAD data.  PoCAD data represents both a unique opportunity as well as some unique challenges.  Search our blog for the “PoCAD” tag for more detailed information about what point of call data is and what it means for you.

SERP Rule Changes

When you use the nCode Batch Processor to produce an Statement of Accuracy (SOA) report, nCode will now use a new reference database built using PoCAD data.  This is a new file that you will have to deploy, called NCODEPOC.DAT.

Canada Post realizes that mailers have a significant task ahead in cleaning up poor unit information.  The increased granularity offered by PoCAD data is intended to detect more deliverability problems and allow mailers to identify and correct problem addresses.  Rather than penalize mailers by causing them to lose eligibility for discounts due to better detection of problems, Canada Post has chosen to institute a transitional period in which the calculation of address accuracy reported on the SOA will temporarily excuse poor apartment numbering.

The transitional period extends from January 17, 2011 to January 12, 2012.  The transitional period may be extended at Canada Post’s discretion.

Note: On November 2, 2011 Canada Post announced that the transitional period for large urban business addresses will be extended to January 2013. This does not apply to apartment addresses. As of January 13, 2012, invalid apartment addresses will count against your accuracy score.

During the transition period your Statement of Accuracy Report will have an additional statistic on it that shows the percentage of your address records that are classified as invalid excluded addresses.  Outside of the transition period, this line will no longer appear.

Also, during the transition period, if you report the status of records while you produce your SOA reports, this status information will identify those records that are invalid excluded addresses.  These addresses will have a primary status of “N” (non-correctable) and a secondary status of “X”.  After the transition period, the secondary status of “X” will no longer apply and will not occur.

Operational Changes

The PoCAD reference data is about four times larger than the traditional PCAD data.  Fortunately, Nova’s advanced proprietary reference database technology allows nCode to significantly exceed linear performance expectations.  The new PoCAD reference database file is less than twice the size of the traditional file (NCODEREF.DAT).  When processing batches for the purposes of creating an SOA report, nCode may require an additional 12MB to 26MB of RAM, depending on your other concurrent nCode work.

In terms of batch record throughput, the good news is that nCode 10.0 is about 11% faster than nCode 9.0 on batches using PCAD data.  When running SOA reports, PoCAD data must be used and the batch throughput drops an average of 28% when using PoCAD data with nCode 10 as compared to PCAD data with nCode 9.0.

Installation & Maintenance Changes

In nCode version 9.0, the nCode address reference database consisted of a single file called NCODEREF.DAT.  With nCode 10.0, the NCODEREF.DAT file will continue to be distributed and used for all interactive and some batch operations within nCode.  However, version 9.0 and version 10.0 NCODEREF.DAT files are not interoperable.  Also, for the purposes of creating Statement of Accuracy Reports, a new address reference database file will also be required.  This new file is called NCODEPOC.DAT.  The file is about 26MB in size.

Both files are built once per month using the latest information published by Canada Post.  If you are licensed for the nCode Batch Processor, you will be able to download NCODEPOC.DAT along with your monthly NCODEREF.DAT update.  Both files are to be deployed to the same location in your system(s).  As always, deployment is as simple as performing a file copy.

Note that if you are using both nCode 9.0 and nCode 10.0 for a period of time, you will need to download and deploy both the version 9.0 and version 10.0 NCODEREF.DAT files separately.

New License Files

In order to enforce the usage restrictions imposed by Canada Post on the Point of Call data used by nCode, we have had to introduce a new license file that is not part of your nCode 9.0 deployment.  The new file is nCode.lic.  This is a 1KB binary file that Nova will supply to you.  All users of nCode must have an nCode.lic file installed in order to use nCode 10.0.  The deployment location of this file will vary according to your platform.  For most cases, this file can be deployed with your nCode Toolkit libraries.

Migration & Support Timelines

nCode 10.0 was released in January 2011.  nCode 9.0 address reference database files will continue to be made available through our website until the end of December, 2011.  You should note however, that nCode 9.0 will no longer be SERP certified by Canada Post for the purposes of creating Statement of Accuracy (SOA) reports after January 16, 2011.

Nova will continue to support previous versions of nCode.  If you feel that you will have challenges completing the migration from nCode 9.0 to nCode 10.0 prior to December 2011, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss how we can assist you.

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