Application-to-person messaging is driving RCS adoption globally
At the 2019 Competitive Carriers Association Convention, Josh Wigginton, VP of product management at Interop Technologies, spoke about the future of Rich Communication Services (RCS), which despite a slow adoption, is now picking up as business use cases become more evident.
“RCS is moving beyond a consumer experience. Now brands and businesses are getting involved,” said Wigginton.
He explained to the room that 2019 was a pivotal year for RCS. “All Tier 1 operators have launched it, so has US Cellular, and some operators in Canada and other countries,” he commented. “Today, RCS is about remaining competitive and relevant. There are 300 million active RCS users globally, and 80 carriers have launched it around the world.”
Wigginton expects there to over a 1 billion RCS users by next year.
Designed to improve messaging functionality that comes installed on phones by default, RCS is part of the new Advanced Messaging standard, and has texting, of course, but also high-quality picture messaging up to 10MB in size, group chats, location sharing, and video calls by default. The goal of RCS is ultimately to provide consistent interoperable messaging service across mobile devices and networks.
According to Wigginton, RCS is a game-changer because it becomes a native experience and is not dependent on the user being in the Apple system, for example. “Out of the box, you’re not having to download an application. The other is it’s a carrier-grade service, so you have the security and trust that comes with the carrier. You can do banking and that will be more secure with carrier messaging than an over-the-top application.”
Wigginton admitted that RCS has seen slow adoption, which he said is because there wasn’t a strong, compelling business case for mobile operators to launch. “They were asking: how am I actually going to make money off this service?” he stated.
But, that’s not the case anymore. A2P, or application to person messaging, is driving RCS adoption globally by connecting brands and enterprises to subscribers. “If you think about the way marketing works, it follows the eyeballs,” explained Wigginton. “Now, messaging is where the eyeballs are, so that’s where the brand wants to engage subscribers.”
It turns out that, when on a device, people spend most of their time on messaging applications.
“The cool thing is that the way they designed it is not about spam or sending you a bunch of stuff you don’t want. It’s about creating use cases that really solves problems by, for example, integrating natural language processing AI into the chat box or sending QR codes,” he explained.
Wigginton went on to point out that customer expectations and desires around communication have changed. “If I want to communicate with Visa, I don’t want to pick up the phone and call them anymore. I want to message them like I do my friend,” he said.
For mobile operators, the real benefit will come from charging brands or enterprises for these A2P messages to be delivered across their network. Further, because RCS is a richer messaging experience, the messages a brand is paying for do not just contain text and not limited by 160 characters. They include high-quality images, coupons, QR codes and so on, and the operator gets paid to deliver all of that content to a user.
In August, Nex-Tech Wireless selected Interop’s cloud-native Rich Communication Services platform to advance its deployment of Carrier RCS to subscribers, bringing Interop’s U.S. RCS operator total to 11.
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