What is RCS Messaging and Where is it Heading in 2018?

RCS Business Messaging Title with woman holding smart phone in background

We’re back. Sort of!  Hitting the ground running from the momentum of the Mobile World Congress Americas 2018 in Los Angeles last week. No doubt, you’ve now heard more about 5G and the sweeping latitude of application and roll-out nearly all big tech either demonstrated or enthusiastically promised within the next two to seven years.

We were excited by all the applicable community, civic and wellness focuses, albeit the vast opportunity in gaming and communication is formidable, too. You can check out our posts from the floor at the conference, over the days, for quick-read highlights and takeaways of the event:

From the Floor – Takeaways from #MWCA: here and here.

Certainly, 5G and IoT, and every facet wrapped around these––from legality, regulation, privacy, use-cases, network advancements and more, were deconstructed throughout the event. But the steadfast momentum of RCS Business Messaging is going to have a more immediate impact on both users and businesses–for the better.

This advancement dovetails well with the AI movement and advancement in intelligent messaging, from chatbots to voicebots. RCS Messaging is a much more user-friendly interface for conversational AI, user and branded business experience.

What is RCS Business Messaging or RCS Messaging?

Rich Communication Services RCS smartphone screen with airline flight and check-in information

RCS, or rich communication services, is the move toward a universal messaging profile that would replace SMS (short message system) as an upgrade in features that aren’t available on SMS, across carriers and devices. Universal RCS means that these features will be available on phones that support it, across carriers.  

  • Texting via desktop
  • Branded design options along with a Verified Sender feature
  • Carousel and Card option design elements
  • Gif, High-resolution images and video
  • Multi-user video calls
  • Read receipts and suggested replies
  • SMS reach
  • QR Codes

RCS Messaging in 2018: Where it Stands Now

First, the Mobile World Congress Americas announcement from Google and Samsung means that RCS will work across both Android Messages and Samsung Messages, which is an extremely large user-base both nationally and internationally. Moreover, Samsung has been one of the top most popular brands across continents in recent years.

Rich communication services has been on the table for over a decade, but 2018 is a turning point:

  • In the last year, Google’s focus on RCS has helped it gain hugh traction.
  • Google announced its Early Access Partnership Program in February to garner greater adoption.
  • Google and Samsung announced their collaboration for RCS messaging-ready Samsung devices on Android.
  • Worldwide, over 52 operators in 38 countries support RCS in some capacity.
  • Stateside, T-mobile, AT&T and to a larger extent, Sprint, are on board with the universal profile.

The most important takeaway from #MWCA18 regarding RCS, is not whether it will become the universal profile, but that it is becoming the predominant and the obvious successor to SMS. Ultimately, for B2C brands, the reach and engagement outlook override any other messaging option and that has continued to be revealed in revenue forecasts, where the increase is speculated at $100 million to date to $9 billion in the next two to five years.