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What is Rich Communication Service (RCS) Messaging?

Universal Rich Communication Services (RCS) is poised to disrupt the old SMS (Short Messaging Service) standard.

We have entered an era where SMS is a rare method of communication. We seldom use SMS since the advent of services such as Apple iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Chat as they allow us to add GIFs, emojis, videos, and photos to the messages. However, these chat services are not the universal solution due to its limitation – For, eg, We cannot send a Facebook Message to your WhatsApp correspondent or if they are using a Google chat.

To address this challenge, Google made many attempts to launch the RCS, but since Android lacked a messaging competitor to Apple iMessage it was unable to do so. However, Google has embarked on a mass roll-out of the RCS messaging platform, including a raft of many new features to messaging on Android.

Let me further explain in detail. The Smartphone manufacturers and Telecomm carriers have collaborated with the mobile phone industry’s Governing bodies to develop a new take on texting – Rich Communication Service which combines the best of Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger into a single platform.

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is a protocol between two mobile operators, and phones and operators. The aim of RCS is for it to replace and transform the SMS text messaging. RCS was formed first in 2007 and was taken over by the GSM Association (GSMA), the industry trade body that represents the mobile operators globally in 2008. In 2016, GSMA agreed upon a Universal Profile – a set of standards that all the phone manufacturers, mobile operators, and software providers can use to help implement the RCS on devices.

RCS Messaging has a significant advantage over the SMS messaging. RCS features will work seamlessly between devices and messaging apps. These apps are the default SMS apps on their respective instruments. It means features like multimedia capabilities to the messaging, typing indicators, texting over WIFI, enhance group chat functionalities, sending HD photos and videos, and even see read receipts or get heads-up when somebody is replying in real-time. There will no longer be required to contend the 160 character limit while enabling more flexibility of sending longer messages.

Most of these functionalities are already available on the Apple’s iMessage or the chat Apps. RCS messaging will become the standard for all smartphone users, iPhone and Android users will be able to use these features to communicate with someone using a different smartphone type. RCS service will not be relying on the cellular connection. It will solely rely on your data connection, enabling users to use it on any device. RCS also supports company branding messages within, as well as sender verification, making it easy to verify the legitimacy of the correspondent.

Businesses anticipate using RCS messaging service to communicate status updates to their customers for trains, flights and other services that are complete with rich media enhancements like OR codes, boarding passes, and loyalty cards. RCS also can include convenient buttons for dialling the customer service instantly for changing seat assignment or providing feedback on customer experience or report any complaints. This feature will save travellers a lot of time trying to painstakingly spend logging into their smartphone’s web browsers and manually search for the company phone numbers.

In a recent press release from Samsung has announced a partnership between Samsung and Google. RCS feature will work seamlessly between Samsung Messages and Android Messages Apps. These apps are the default SMS apps on their respective devices. According to Samsung, this collaboration will further enable the Industry’s momentum towards advanced messaging and global RCS coverage.

To conclude, Google has never been able to unify the messaging experience across Android devices. However, RCS is the answer. Verizon is slowly rolling out to its customers. The carrier announced the launch support for RCS in early 2019. RCS is coming while still there is no clarity if RCS will be a runaway success. However, RCS will become essential for businesses as more operators adopt the standard.

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