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RCS messaging: An introduction to rich communication services

Rich communications services (RCS) is the hot new thing on the communications landscape. But what is it and how will it change the way we communicate?

It’s hard to believe that SMS is more than 20 years old, when so many other platforms have come and gone in much shorter time frames. Remember AIM, Meebo or OoVoo?

Despite remaining relatively unchanged in this time – same black-and-white screen, same 160-charatcer limitation – SMS remains a hugely popular method for personal and business communications.

However, after many years, the next iteration of SMS is here. Rich communication services (RCS messaging) is a more advanced technology and looks to become the next big thing in communications.

What is RCS messaging and how is RCS different to SMS?

RCS combines the best of over-the-top (OTT) messaging and SMS functionality. RCS promises an app-like experience, without the investment or resources of an app. However, in the same way that SMS is a carrier-based service, RCS has all the benefits of SMS such as ubiquity and reach – but offers much greater functionality.

For businesses engaging with customers, RCS can do so much more, including:

RCS is also a huge leap in aesthetics, providing a much more interactive and interesting experience for customers. Businesses will be able to:

  • Brand their messages with their own colours and logos
  • Send high resolution images, gifs and audio or videos files up to 10MB
  • Showcase products with scrolling carousels
  • Send interactive boarding passes, vouchers or gift cards
  • Provide real-time status updates for flights, trains, and other services

Compatibility of devices

To access RCS, users will only need an RCS-enabled smartphone, which are already available. No apps, downloads, accounts or passwords required.

MessageMedia and RCS

This next generation of messaging will change the way that businesses communicate with customers and allow companies to build a deeper rapport with customers, providing richer content and a better experience.

Google is offering an Early Access Program for businesses to learn more about and interact with RCS. MessageMedia is proud to not only participate in this program, but also be the leading RCS developer in Australia.

In fact, our RCS team recently returned from Google’s developer camp in California in December 2018. The team succeeded in winning Google’s hackathon, which required creation of an RCS use case in just three hours, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of RCS and its potential.

MessageMedia has long been excited about the arrival of RCS and our product team is working extensively to ensure that we are ready for the launch of RCS in Australia. Work has already begun on customer trials with RCS, so please contact us if you are interested in trialling this exciting technology for your business.

When will RCS arrive?

Already many mobile network operators, manufacturers and operating systems support RCS in the UK, Europe and US. Large brands such as Subway, Walgreens and MGM Resorts are already using RCS in a range of ways and achieving great results.

RCS is expected to arrive in Australia and New Zealand later in 2019.

Learn more about RCS messaging and register your interest to take advantage of this exciting technology as soon as it arrives.

By Casey Waters, Product Manager, MessageMedia