RCS Marks New Chapter for Enterprise Messaging

Like almost no other service, text messaging, or SMS, has been one of the mobile industry’s biggest success stories. At Syniverse, we’ve had the fortune to play a key role in SMS’s development since it became available almost two and a half decades ago. And now we’re looking forward to helping customers begin an exciting new chapter with this service.

People have been drawn to the simplicity and reliability of text messaging since the first message was sent, and it has since grown to become a multibillion-dollar service, with message volumes reaching trillions every year. A sizable part of those volumes comes from enterprise application-to-person (A2P) messaging, which, according to the GSMA, is still growing steadily at about 4 percent annually and expected to reach a volume of 2.8 trillion messages by 2022.

For the most part, the technology behind SMS has remained relatively the same, apart from some developments that include cross-carrier enablement, new operator billing standards, and, most recently, bot-based automation applications.

Now, however, an emerging technology, Rich Communication Suite (RCS), is finally reaching fruition and could revolutionize messaging as we know it. RCS promises to deliver a communication suite that not only includes text messaging, but enhanced features that enable a truly rich media solution that will eventually be positioned to replace SMS.

RCS works by using a native client on a smartphone to bridge communication between mobile networks and interactive messaging software. Importantly, since RCS is IP-based, it’s highly dynamic and able to offer distinct messaging features, such as high-resolution images, video, audio, private chat, location information, and analytic feedback, including read receipts and click-through rates.

What’s more, when it comes to RCS for businesses, it’s not all about flashy data, but also about added security. Compared with SMS, RCS travels through a more secure encrypted transport stream using verified sender IDs. Consequently, there’s no risk of “spoofing,” which SMS can sometimes be vulnerable to.

With the emergence of RCS, enterprises that today communicate by A2P SMS to their consumers will have a wide variety of new tools and resources at their disposal that standard A2P SMS messaging cannot provide them. They’ll be able to seamlessly integrate rich imagery, animation, and more contextual information all within a single messaging stream. In this way, Enterprise RCS is set to transform messaging.

In fact, many of today’s use cases for SMS are envisioned as being able to easily be translated to RCS, as the illustration below shows.

RCS is opening a new era in messaging, and Syniverse is at the forefront helping businesses make the most of RCS in their customer engagement strategies. In part two of this post, I’ll explore this era further by addressing some questions I commonly receive about RCS in my customer work and sharing some best practices I’ve honed recently.

In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on RCS, I would love to get them. Please consider leaving a comment below.

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10 Comments

  1. avatar

    Great article Rick! How do you see WhatsApp Business, Apple Business Chat and Facebook Messenger for Business impacting Enterprise RCS?

    Reply
    • avatar

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post, Jason. The three enterprise messaging solutions you asked about are already making an impact in enterprise messaging and are all doing a great job at paving the way toward universal enterprise messaging. Each solution offers a chat-like environment for their users. However, the drawback is they are each segregated into their own environments. Now some of these environments have greater reach than others. For example, Facebook Messenger is only for Facebook subscribers and just in kind; the WhatsApp for Business is only available for those that download that mobile app; and, finally, Apple Business Chat is only available for iOS users that use the service. Their functionality, though, does give enterprises the “RCS feel,” such as integration of buttons to enable actions, like payments or the ability to integrate a BOT to automate conversations, or adding files into the conversation. Overall, these solutions I see as stepping-stones to a more universal enterprise messaging solution, which in turn will teach enterprises best practices and enable them to learn from their limitations and technicalities.

      Reply
  2. avatar

    Very informative post and response. Syniverse is in a powerful position for shaping the future. Looking forward to the next article!

    Reply
    • avatar

      Thank you, Tom, for your response. Yes, Syniverse is well poised as an RCS hub enabler. In parts 2 and 3 of the next blog posts on this subject, I’ll go a little deeper into the current RCS environment and how hub enablers are key to enterprise reach.

      Reply
  3. avatar

    Great article Rick. Congrats ! Will be waiting to read the next ones.

    Reply
    • avatar

      Thanks, Rosaura. I appreciate it. Coincidentally, my second post on RCS has just been published, “Questions and Answers to Know for Next Stage of RCS” (https://synergy.syniverse.com/2018/05/rcs_questions/), and I invite you to check it out and let me know what you think. I’ll also be publishing the third and final RCS post shortly. Thanks again.

      Reply
  4. avatar

    Is Syniverse offering RCS as a messaging channel ?

    Reply
    • avatar

      Hello Hitesh. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. An answer, in short, is yes. Syniverse is planning on including RCS as a messaging channel in its existing digital service platform, which is an omni-channel platform designed for handling complexity for an enterprise with one single API endpoint instead of multiple API endpoints. This means the design is set so that you would be able to consume RCS the way you would consume SMS messages, MMS messages, or push notifications, and the difference would only be the recipient and content type, which Syniverse could help figure out. For an early look at our digital service platform, please visit https://developer.syniverse.com .

      Reply
  5. avatar

    Hi Rick, thanks for an informative post.

    I have a quesiton on how would all those featured enabled by RCS when in a chaotic envirnment:

    In China, not like the US, privacy is not given enough respect. Advertisers can easiliy get a Chinese phone number. So our phones are flooded with junk messages, so we tend to ignore whatever text messages we receive. If you were to introduce your RCS into China, in such an envirnment, how can you make sure the messages you send to be well received (acknowledged and read through)?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • avatar

      Hello Mr. Liao,
      Thank you for your comment and question in regards to privacy in the RCS environment.

      RCS is designed to have at least two layers of privacy control. The first layer is the BOT registration layer in which in order to actually have a ‘channel’ available on an RCS device client, the BOT/Enterprise must go through a registration and certification process. This process will also ensure the enterprise sending any messages is a valid company and not a ‘front for spam’. Secondly and most importantly, the RCS client itself gives the USER the ability to subscribe/unsubscribe to receiving messages. This ability is done by the simple action of pressing a button on the RCS client in regards to any specific enterprise channel the user has interacted with. This subscribe/unsubscribe control factor is the main difference RCS has from SMS; as the user has the ability to conduct a ‘conversation’ with an enterprise in RCS without actually subscribing to receive any solicited alerts.

      Reply

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