Guest Column | August 2, 2017

An Invitation To RCS Messaging For Retailers

By Steve Murphy, CIO, 3Cinteractive

Secure Messaging

When you look around today, you see a vast amount of mobile phones in use. Before, consumers had to wait to get home or find a nearby payphone to make calls. Now, these handy smartphones are in everyone’s pockets or bags.

But what are consumers really doing with these devices? Sure they use them to talk, but the majority of the time consumers have their eyes locked on reading the latest news provided by online resources, scrolling through their social media feeds, or emailing and texting. In comparison to texting and social media use, why has the whole point of mobile phones become to converse digitally instead of vocally?

In 2012, Forrester Research shared key information of how U.S. consumers use their mobile phones. Forrester found about six billion text messages are sent daily, or about 8.6 trillion texts in a single year. Just imagine how those statistics have changed today.

The demand for mobile carriers to constantly upgrade their networks to provide enough data for smartphones gets higher, and SMS technology’s framework needs constant evolutions to provide the latest tools to keep the messaging experience relevant. Because of this, mobile companies have begun expanding their opportunities with Rich Communication Services (RCS).

What Is RCS?

RCS involves adding dynamic features consumers want to utilize in their SMS and MMS today. However, it isn’t just a simple application one can have installed and, voilà, RCS is there. RCS needs the support of carriers, the device, and the messaging application.

Benefits of RCS include adding or attaching images and videos, adding your location, and the visual indicator of when someone is typing to leave a comment or message. This was known as Release 1 of RCS Universal Profile. Release 2 provides great tooling for businesses and developers to deliver app security, branding options, analytics, management of business programs, and application to person messaging.

Why RCS Is Different

There are a handful of messaging apps in use by millions of consumers such as Facebook Messenger, What’s App, and Skype. These over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps however have one thing in common: you need to download their specific named apps in order to use them.

This is where the uniqueness of RCS comes in. RCS will become the new SMS, not saying it will replace SMS itself, more that it will exist on every phone and open for all carriers much like SMS does now. With this liaison between all carriers, this network will be available to almost everyone. Consumers and marketers will be able to interact much more easily. Because of its involvement with carriers and their managing messaging systems, consumers will be protected from fraudulent messages and spam messages.

Conclusion
Industry leaders are jumping to keep up with the newest forms of phone-based messaging and changes in communication. Businesses are building better relationships with their customers thanks to evolved messaging that includes chat, photo sharing, payments, and video call.

These business-to-consumer relationships benefit from the advanced services of RCS, and the ability to combine this rich communication channel with SMS. Today, the GSMA, in partnership with leading mobile development companies, is working to bring RCS to mobile operators and enterprises and help create the rich media content businesses want.

The capabilities of OTT applications will not be lost under RCS, rather they will be a complement to one another and become a channel that supports consumer journeys through customer service and sales.

About The Author
Steve Murphy leads 3C’s global technology organization, overseeing the existing platform and systems as well as championing the development of new, innovative products that support mobile marketing programs for the company’s clients. Steve is an experienced technology and business executive with more than 20 years’ experience growing profit by developing products in online, mobile, and telecom for both direct-to-consumer and business-to-business companies. His passion for innovation and developing revolutionary technology products has resulted in awards of 18 patents. For more visit www.3c.com.