Business applications push RCS forward

The Rich Communications Services (RCS) standard took another step forward last week as a number of companies announced support for the GSMA’s advanced messaging standard. The most notable development on the front was Samsung's announcement that its phones will support Google's RCS standard.

“By furthering our robust partnership with Google, we will bring a richer messaging experience to our customers, letting them seamlessly chat with their friends and family across messaging platforms,” Samsung’s Patrick Chomet, EVP head of product and services innovation, said in a release. “This collaboration will help further the industry’s momentum toward advanced messaging and global RCS coverage.”

Importantly, Samsung also noted that developers and brands would be able to use the GSMA’s “RCS Business Messaging” standard to “reach both Android Messages and Samsung Messages users, bringing richer business messaging to many more users.”

Although RCS-based messaging promises to add pictures and text messages to operators’ standard SMS serviceslike WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage already dothe technology also promises to allow businesses to market to potential customers through rich media. And it’s that marketing angle that appears to be driving this latest round of RCS announcements.

Perhaps the best example of this trend comes from Zipwhip; the company announced an RCS-based messaging service with the California basketball team Sacramento Kings. “We are always looking for ways to ensure the Golden 1 Center experience seamlessly extends off the court and into the hands of our fans and guests through their devices,” said Ryan Montoya, Sacramento Kings’ CTO, in a release from Zipwhip. “Thanks to Zipwhip, we can provide our fans with the latest technology to stay connected, communicate with the franchise and get the information they need.”

Specifically, consumers with compatible phones and service from Sprint can engage in via RCS messaging with the Kings by texting 833-91KINGS. Zipwhip noted the program leverages its participation in Google’s Early Access Program for RCS business messaging.

But Zipwhip was not alone in the RCS push during the MWC Americas trade show in Los Angeles last week. Other notable announcements in the space included:

  • Nuance Communications said it joined Google’s Early Access Program for RCS business messaging.

  • mGage and mPulse Mobile said they teamed for RCS mobile messaging applications for the healthcare industry.

  • Japan’s SoftBank said it teamed with Synchronoss Technologies and TBCASoft to develop a demonstration of RCS messaging using TBCASoft’s cross-carrier blockchain platform.

  • Syniverse and Mavenir said they developed an RCS product for carriers to offer to marketers that uses Syniverse’s financial clearing and settlement offerings and Mavenir’s virtualized RCS network elements.

  • Vibes demonstrated an RCS product with Google and Redbox.

  • OpenMarket said it partnered with the likes of Virgin Trains, Vodafone and Google to show off RCS services.

  • And said Summit demonstrated an RCS Universal Profile platform with a mobile network operator.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the GSMA continues to expect growth in the RCS-based messaging space. The firm said that operators could expect the deployment of RCS messaging to raise revenues from messaging from $60 billion annually to $90 billion annually by 2021.