SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Greg  Collins
Greg Collins is a technology analyst and strategist with extensive experience in creating innovative, highly analytical and enduring market segmentation...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Greg Collins | March 16, 2017 |

 
   

Rich Comunications Services Breathes New Life into Mobile Messaging

Rich Comunications Services Breathes New Life into Mobile Messaging Many organizations use messaging apps as a key interface for customer service inquiries, deploying automated chatbots and maintaining customer contact.

Many organizations use messaging apps as a key interface for customer service inquiries, deploying automated chatbots and maintaining customer contact.

Rich Communications Services (RCS), the oft maligned messaging and multimedia application, has been making something of a comeback and is expected to gather even more momentum throughout 2017. Once seen as the operators' competitive response to OTT messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Line, and WeChat, RCS is now the successor technology to SMS and MMS services and a vast improvement on the default messaging functions installed on handsets. RCS underpins new revenue generating services that will leverage the messaging app through enhanced functionality such as the ability to share high quality images, organize group chats, make video calls, and share location data.

portable
Critical Mass
Critical mass is always a key driver for industry-wide adoption, so Google's interest in RCS is highly significant. In September 2015, the tech behemoth acquired Jibe Mobile, the messaging start-up developing the RCS platform for next-generation applications. Google then adopted RCS features for Google Messenger 2.0 and announced in November 2016 that it had partnered with Sprint. "As part of the arrangement, select LG and Nexus phone owners already with Sprint will see their default SMS app switch over to Messenger through an app update," reported Android Authority. Google's Pixel devices are also included. With Google pushing RCS, the aim is clearly to install a universal messaging platform that straddles Android devices and networks, making future developments and additional functionality easy to design and then deploy. In addition to Sprint, there has been a pretty aggressive roll out of RCS-based services by other providers and in other geographic markets. In the U.S., AT&T and T-Mobile (Advanced Messaging) have also launched services, as have Vodafone in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Albania, and Claro in several major South American markets.

Most recently, Samsung announced plans to expand RCS messaging services directly from their devices, without the need for an additional app, allowing mobile network operators to quickly launch the service and avoid building their own network infrastructure. As the table to the right shows, as of October 31, 2016, RCS-based services were up and running in most major markets. On top of that, Canada launched services for Rogers and Fido at the end of 2016.

Adopting a Universal Standard
In order to further support the mass adoption of RCS, the GSMA is linking the technology with its Universal Profile (UP), which the GSMA describes as "an industry-agreed common set of features and technical enablers for Advanced Communications. The Universal Profile has been developed to deliver a richer, common user experience globally, and simplify both product development and operator deployment of Advanced Messaging."

GSMA states that "47 Mobile Network Operators covering a subscriber base of 4.7 billion people globally, 11 manufacturers and 2 OS providers, have committed to supporting a single, standard implementation of the Universal Profile to accelerate the availability Advanced Communications."

A Base for New Revenue Streams
While messaging no longer represents an important revenue stream for operators, the messaging app is where smartphone users spend the most time and where they are increasingly sharing files and content and initiating other service such as voice calls and Web searches. The messaging app is now an important business tool. Many organizations use messaging apps as a key interface for customer service inquiries, deploying automated chatbots and maintaining customer contact.

The chatbot market in particular represents a significant revenue opportunity as more enterprise customers seek to deliver a more personalized customer experience, deploying chatbots effectively as "gatekeepers," fielding initial customer contact and routing interactions efficiently to the relevant part of the business. In December 2016, a TMR report valued the global chatbot market at $113 million in 2015, and predicted it would expand reach $994.5 million by the end of 2024.

RCS is also seeing traction across other user groups. For example, users can now initiate gaming sessions within messaging apps. We can also expect to see developments and integration relating to personal health and fitness, travel, shopping (both online and in-store), and more. For network operators, RCS is not the service that will provide these services, but rather it will be the medium upon which these new, revenue-generating applications will reside.

Finally, ease of integration is another factor that plays in RCS's favor. As VoLTE services achieve further global penetration, RCS can be added to the network with relatively little effort. This is due to the fact that it resides on top of the same core network as VoLTE, namely an IP Multimedia Subsystem or IMS. The one area that has not yet been opened up to RCS is Apple's iOS. RCS enables services that are, in essence, similar to iMessage, and thus far there has been no indication from Apple that they plan to cater to RCS, or adopt RCS outright into the iPhone. However, that's not to say it would not be pushed through for Apps in a carrier update. We shall just have to keep an eye on this space as it progresses.

Learn more about mobility trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 to 30, in Orlando, Fla. View the Mobility track, and register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.





COMMENTS



July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.