Rich Communication Services (RCS) is the evolution of SMS and is the protocol that will replace it in the long-term. We can trace its roots back to 2007 when it was picked up by the GSMA, but interest from mobile carriers did not properly develop until around a decade later. Global operators, Google and the GSMA aligned behind adoption of RCS in order to finally deliver the channel for interoperability across operator networks and devices through Google’s RBM platform. Essentially RCS combines the best features of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage into one platform and includes the following features:

  • Trusted branding with a name and logo
  • Verified Sender Status to provide users with extra peace of mind and security
  • Rich Media with images, videos and GIFs
  • Client based DLRs and read receipts
  • Customisable and suggested replies that can be programmed by the brand based upon their needs
  • QR codes for tickets, tracking and the redemption of offers
  • Suggested actions utilising the Android eco-system, including suggested replies for Google Maps, Calendar and Dialler

It can also be considered to essentially deliver the power and functionality of a mobile application within an SMS thanks to the powerful Android ecosystem. RCS will transform communication for numerous ways across industries and disrupt the current messaging sphere in the long-term, especially the A2P Chat App services and the wider world of customer service in general.

What does this mean for SMS?

SMS Marketing is still one of the most successful marketing mediums available to brands and enterprises to communicate with their audiences. Even in today’s smartphone dominated world, the humble SMS is still sent by 97% of smartphone owners, meaning that it remains the most widely used feature on devices. All that could be about to change though with the advent of Rich Communication Services (RCS) in the world of mobile marketing. That does not mean that the SMS is about to be killed off though, far from it! SMS will remain the default fallback option when it is not possible to send an RCS message and to those who do not have the channel available on their device. Check out our video below to see a demonstration of RCS in action!

 

Why is RCS Such a Big Deal?

The most popular messaging applications, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat all require a data signal to send messages and the recipient also needs to be using that application. If one of these is not possible in that specific moment, the message does not get sent and users have to revert to sending SMS. It goes without saying that the SMS is well overdue an upgrade, and that is exactly what Rich Communication Services (RCS) provides as well as offering opportunities for brands and advertisers to reach large numbers of recipients. Keep reading to find out more about RCS and why it will change the world of messaging!

What are the Advantages of RCS?

The widespread awareness and knowledge of the Android ecosystem will ensure that market penetration and user adoption will be seamless, and the impressive metrics of SMS will transfer over to RCS in the long-term. This also has numerous advantages for brands as it also assists with user penetration and increasing market share as it removes the requirement for users to download the brand’s mobile application. It also offers opportunities for customers to engage with brands at a time that suits them through sophisticated chatbots, essentially allowing brands to be omnipresent – brands offering this will gain a distinct advantage over their competitors thanks to an enhanced personalised service. RCS is also a technology that can be levered to suit multiple sectors and purposes, including: flight check-in and tickets, train tickets, events, customer service and support and even internet banking. The ability to offer this highly personalised service with the combination of convenient and secure payment technology is an undeniably powerful combination to generate conversions and revenue.

The Future of RCS

Since the involvement of Google in RCS, things have gained traction and we can expect a greater number of European countries having RCS coverage over the upcoming 12 months. This will also be complemented by larger device coverage in the countries where RCS is already rolled out, meaning an ever-increasing number of users and opportunities for brands. Those brands familiarising themselves now with RCS and making plans for the wider roll out and increase in awareness will be the ones who gain the most from this exciting new channel. rdcom is a partner with Google for its Jibe initiative and hosted Italy’s first RCS round table, meaning that we are well placed to guide you through your adoption of RCS and to build the right strategy for you!