Where is RCS Now?

An article by Polina Hristova for ROCCO

Spotted! Rich Communication Services impatiently grunting and groaning in the waiting room after a decade of sitting in suspension; it’s now standing right before Google’s office door and tapping its foot aggressively, hoping that the big shot will finally let it in or it’s going to have to reschedule that meeting with iMessage again. But RCS isn’t entirely trapped and isolated – it has a clear view of the competitor’s office which is fast and dynamic: Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat walk in and out every day, waving at RCS mockingly which seems to contribute to its irritated mood. Will RCS ever enter Google’s office and send SMS into retirement? Guess only time will tell but the clock is ticking and the whole world is watching.

ROCCO (Catch that Gossip Girl reference?)

October has finally arrived in its pumpkin carriage all colourful and spooky with that cosy, familiar aroma of cinnamon; people are back to dressing as clown night stalkers and seasonal depression is at all-time high, and all that jazz. RCS seems a bit depressed or how would one feel after clinging on promises for so many years?

RCS wants to be promoted, it wants to replace SMS which has been active since 1992; RCS can do a much better job and is a lot more careful than SMS has ever been. However, the old fool is still full of life and is efficient despite being outdated, so no one cares about RCS’ potential.

By 2010, nearly 6.1 trillion SMS messages have been exchanged.
RCS was born in 2007 but it was in 2016 when GSMA laid out the first draft of RCS’ capabilities: location and media sharing, group chats, read receipts, typing indicators, no additional app support, end-to-end encryption (E2EE), data connection, interoperable platform for all kinds of devices. It will have the ability to perform everything the Messenger app can offer, for example, but without having to install a single thing.

But not everyone is on board with the idea. Only 49 operators have launched RCS (KT and SK Telecom in South Korea, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom in Europe). Alcatel, Asus, HTC, LG, Lenovo, Samsung and ZTE represent some of the hardware manufacturers who have agreed to support RCS in their devices, but Google and Microsoft are the only two providers who support GSMA’s Universal Profile.

Jibe’s Early Access Program (https://jibe.google.com/business-messaging/) was launched this year and many companies have signed up to experiment with the enterprise angle RCS can offer – a more visual, engaging, empathetic and conversational approach to customers. Flight reminders with interactive options to change seats or communicate a delay, branded messaging experience with creative designs and catered content, etc.

But the Universal Profile is still in the process of completion with the second release expected at the end of this year, detailing features like plugins and app security.

It has taken nearly a decade for RCS’ promotion to be put into motion. It’s getting tired of waiting as it watches the success of the apps from the other office. It’s starting to get old, less relevant as it used to be. Actions speak louder than words after all and Sprint is the first and only carrier to roll out RCS support for Android via Android Messages.

RCS is moving and soon it’s going to finally step into Google’s office – but how long would it take to come out? Not as long as George R. R. Martin’s Winds of Winter we hope – now that’s an epic wait.

Watch this website for future research on RCS. Coming Soon.