Rich Communication Services (RCS) are beginning to rapidly transform text messaging as we know it. Simply put, RCS is essentially taking all the best functionality of messaging and giving it a 21st century upgrade.
Syniverse has been moving right along with RCS’s fast-moving changes, and in my role, I’ve been right in the thick of helping customers make the most of this technology. In the past few months, I’ve discussed how “RCS Marks New Chapter for Enterprise Messaging,” the “Questions and Answers to Know for Next Stage of RCS ,” and the “Challenges Ahead for RCS Enterprise Messaging .”
In this next piece, I’d like to talk about another game-changing capability of RCS that I’ve become more and more involved with recently – Messaging as a Platform, or MaaP. This component of RCS is simply a platform that enables plug-ins (software programs installed into an application to enhance its capability) to interact through text messaging in an intelligent way and communicate in a conversational manner.
MaaP offers an incredible opportunity for communication providers and businesses to strengthen their engagement with customers. This technology enables communication services between third-party businesses and customers that can open up a range of services. It provides people with direct access to a range of brands and services from within the native text messaging application itself and allows people to interact with virtual assistants to do things like book flights, buy clothes, or make restaurant reservations without having to download and keep track of a bunch of apps.
And one of the biggest game-changers that MaaP will power is chatbots. A chatbot is a kind of software robot that mimics human conversation to communicate with customers through a messaging interface. As a basic form of artificial intelligence, chatbots are cheaper and faster than live service agents, can use keywords and key phrases to respond instantly to people in multiple independent conversations at the same time, and can offer 24/7/365 online support and customer engagement.
Chatbots are simply a must-have in the world of RCS business communications. In the last few months, I’ve been working with customers to begin integrating chatbots as a good tool for managing Syniverse’s two-way chat APIs, or application programming interfaces, which are code that allows two software programs to communicate with each other. Many customers now integrate chatbots over APIs to automatically converse with people through text messaging. RCS uses chatbots in the same way, but in a richer environment.
The advent of RCS creates a natural environment for chatbots to thrive. In particular, the concept of chatbots has been almost unanimously well-received, but there’s been one big challenge: How do customers find your chatbot? However, since RCS doesn’t require the customer to install another app, and brand verification can be baked into the RCS standard, RCS is poised to break out chatbot adoption. In fact, according to the consulting firm Tractica, there will be an estimated 1.8 billion unique, active chatbot or virtual assistant users by 2021, and a market worth more than $600 billion in revenues by 2020.
For a company looking to leap into the RCS world, having a ready chatbot by your side is essential for delivering a successful customer experience. It’s an experience that Syniverse looks forward to continuing to help customers deliver, and one we’ll continue to share more on here on Synergy.
Rick Carlson is a Principal Solutions Engineer at Syniverse.