LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 LATIN AMERICA, MEXICO: Google’s Todd Parker talked up the evolution of RCS (Rich Communications Services) to capitalise on the mobile messaging boom, with several other execs highlighting the potential the technology offers.
RCS is a GSMA-backed technology for advanced messaging services built on an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) backbone, including video calling, presence, photo sharing and enhanced messaging.
Following the search giant’s acquisition of RCS developer Jibe Mobile last year, and a subsequent push for the platform announced at Mobile World Congress this year, Parker, who works in business development for Google’s messaging activities, revealed: “In the future, we will be introducing three new pieces of the puzzle, which we think will start helping the carriers take it to the next level, helping them monetise, helping messaging start making more money.”
New additions will support the use of plug-ins and bots, enabling more to be done within the messaging app – echoing similar strategies used by players such as WeChat and Line. This will also enable other partners to be brought into the ecosystem.
And enhanced video support is also promised “within the next year”.
Sergio Collazo Llerandi, value added services engineering manager at America Movil, also noted other opportunities in areas such as mobile money, driven by the ubiquity of messaging – again a path taken by apps such as Kakao.
“Most of the people know how to use messaging, and the next step is sending money, sending a file, it’s natural.”
Parker also said that Google’s approach, where RCS is positioned as the Android messaging app, but not tightly integrated with the platform, offers some advantages. “Today’s RCS is not a download. It’s not something you have to go out and market to your end users, beg with them, plead with them, ‘please download this app’. That barrier was a steep barrier.”
“After working with a lot of operators and understanding what we need to do, you have to iterate that product every two weeks. WhatsApp is doing it, Line is doing it. Everyone is doing it, so you have to be right there with them with a very high velocity rate for features.
Both Mary Clark, CMO of Syniverse, and David O’Byrne, project director – programme services at GSMA, positioned RCS as a key partner for voice-over-LTE.
“People will tell you that it has missed the window, the train has gone, I’ve heard that for years. But VoLTE is the key in many ways. Having RCS behind that, when you are thinking about the use cases for the consumer, the ways that in an integrated fashion they can communicate with anyone, using multimedia in that moment, it is a contiguous experience,” Clark said.
“When we combine RCS messaging with VoLTE, we get advanced communications, which opens the door to an exciting, fluid and unique experience for operators to bring to consumers,” commented O’Byrne.
And while RCS has seen growing support among Android vendors due to the growing commitment of Google, O’Byrne also mentioned the notable omission of Apple. “Believe me, we are working very hard in the fruit industry to broaden that coverage.”