Safeguarding the future of messaging with RCS
If OTT messaging services, such as iMessage, Snapchat and WhatsApp represent the messaging systems of choice for consumers today, then what’s next? The telecoms industry is dealing with constant revolution making innovation no longer just an option, but a necessity.
Could Rich Communication Services (RCS) which had previously failed under RCS-e JoynTM brand, be the latest tipping point?
Things have changed
When a number of European operators launched RCS services under the JoynTM brand, in 2012, the RCS client software was still heavily reliant on app-based implementation. Device OEMs still needed to be persuaded to build JoynTM clients into their devices, so the user had to discover and install the app themselves, says Bejoy Pankajakshan, SVP of Technology and Strategy at Mavenir Systems.
Instead of it “just being there” and “just working” as was campaigned, users had to make a prior action, consciously choosing over other well-known apps, such as, WhatsApp. As well as being far too much to ask of users, IMS deployment costs also factored into operator uptake.
Certain development of voice over LTE in network has eliminated IMS deployment business case issues. In addition, Google having created a common Universal Profile in conjunction with the GSMA now means most smartphones will be shipped with built-in Advanced Messaging capabilities, using a common profile.
This enables users to text, chat and share media with their contacts, regardless of which apps they are using. Now Service Providers can finally navigate towards an IP ecosystem that will interwork across mobile networks.
The RCS challenge today
Service Providers seeking to enable advanced RCS services are faced with two primary options: build their own ecosystem, or off-load RCS services to a third-party provider. The challenges of building out RCS ecosystems and networks are the lengthy planning and significant investment requirements. However, the option of offloading RCS services to a third party may make customising services and guiding the evolution of their RCS services more difficult.
A third way
However, there is another approach that we think goes above and beyond the traditional Telco vendor strategy and drives openness and interoperability. By utilising carrier grade RCS cloud services alongside an RCS interconnect hub, Service Providers can realise the unrestricted development and advancement of RCS.
RCS cloud services lower the barriers of entry to the RCS world by offering a hosted or fully managed service. They also offer flexible business and service deployment models that can reduce time to market from months to weeks. The RCS interconnect hub provides flexibility and scalability to interconnect the world’s leading RCS networks, creating an open and interoperable RCS ecosystem not dominated by third party providers.
By choosing an RCS cloud service that has a global base of messaging systems, ranging from SMS to MMS and voicemail at its heart, the operator has immediate access to carrier grade infrastructure and services. This also gives the ability to select architecture with both convergence and backward capability, fallback scenarios, and the latest network based security, spam, and fraud protection. All this, whilst realising monetisation opportunities through new services such as Multi-ID, Chatbots and Messaging as a Platform (MaaP).
A recent report from Juniper Research estimates that 28.2 trillion messages will be sent this year and that Rich Mobile Messages will generate about 83 billion messages per year within five years. In addition, Gartner predicts that by 2020 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human.
Operators are already harnessing application to person (A2P) SMS messaging to connect customers with third party businesses. This is key because the global A2P SMS market was valued at around USD 55.0 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach USD 70.00 billion in 2020.
Now, the GSMA is working to establish a common global and interconnected IP-based messaging platform that removes the need for multiple apps and delivers a unified, ubiquitous user experience. This is the operators chance to play a central role in services that utilise chatbots, Plugins, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and industrial applications.
Regardless of how operators approach their RCS implementation, they will need to make a choice to ensure their place in the future of IP-based messaging. A dynamic RCS ecosystem that offers collaboration where partners work side-by-side will allow operators to create experiences for their subscribers and explore service opportunities provided by competitors.
The author of this blog is Bejoy Pankajakshan, SVP of Technology and Strategy at Mavenir Systems
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