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.
Rick Carlson is a Principal Solutions Engineer at Syniverse.