Another mobile world first in South Korea – the launch of the first cross-network services based on the Rich Communication Suite (RCS) specifications now being developed by the GSMA with the backing of many of the world’s leading equipment vendors and mobile operators.
The commercial launch is significant because it will be the first real market test of whether the operator community can use the contacts lists in their customers’ phones as a launch pad for a new class of communications services designed to build upon the popularity of voice calls, SMS and MMS.
The RCS software in the user’s device enhances the traditional contacts list with presence information, while enabling the user to share images or videos during a call or initiate an advanced instant messaging session across different mobile and fixed-line networks.
Making use of IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) technology in the network, RCS aims to marry SMS-style interoperability and ease-of-use with the rich functionality associated with Internet protocols.
Although some critics argue that RCS isn’t necessary given the barrage of social networking and other sophisticated communications apps now available, its integration with the traditional contacts book may appeal to users who have yet to venture beyond voice and SMS: Implemented well, RCS has the potential to bring many more people into the world of mobile multimedia services.
Moreover, with 60 vendors and operators backing the concept, it should have some legs. Let us know your thoughts…