Expert: How merchants can add RCS options (Part I)

Press release – June 8, 2017

By Kristina Knight, BizReport

Google has released RCS messaging to consumers using Android devices; they identify RCS as an upgrade to more traditional SMS options. But, just what to brands need to know about RCS before jumping in?

Kristina: Let’s start at the beginning – what is RCS?

Tim Fujita-Yuhas, Director of Product Management & New Product Strategy, OpenMarket: RCS stand for Rich Communications Services, which simply put translates to an enhanced messaging experience–think text messaging 2.0. RCS gives the simple text message an upgrade in that its capabilities are more similar to enhanced messages sent through a third-party app. Think better group chat capabilities, high resolution photo sharing, video chat, along with the standard read receipts and typing indicators.

Kristina: Will RCS supplant traditional SMS?

Tim: While you’ll hear RCS being widely described as an “upgrade” to SMS, I prefer to refer to it as the next evolution of SMS. RCS builds off of SMS’s technology to deliver users an enhanced messaging experience. RCS was developed as a direct response to the naysayers, those viewing the standard SMS text message as having hit its peak at 20+ years old.

In its “old” age, SMS has maintained its position as the most convenient, simple, and real-time form of communication in the digital age. In fact, it hasn’t just held its ground, it’s gained steam–as the majority of millennials prefer to communicate with businesses via texting–over email, voice calls, and social messaging platforms.

So while SMS may have needed a dose of new, enhanced, digital experiences to compete in the ever-changing communication landscape, the idea behind it and the immediate benefits it enables will never go out of style. It will, however, continue to adapt with the times, as proven with RCS.

Kristina: Will we see a move to put RCS messaging across mobile devices or will this remain an Android option?

Tim: The goal for RCS is to ultimately exist on every phone, through every carrier, and allow consumers to connect with everyone in their network–whether it’s brand to consumer, or person to person, communication. With the technology currently growing at a 15 percent monthly rate, universal adoption of RCS is not only soon, it’s inevitable.

More from Tim and OpenMarket tomorrow, including how brands can prep for an RCS campaign.