Even though mobile phones have evolved into smartphones, there is one feature that hasn’t seen many transformations and it’s SMS (text messages). The Short Messaging Service, popularly known as SMS, was widely used by people in the 90s-00s for quick communication with their friends and family. However, it hasn’t evolved much in the past 30 years. There’s still a limit of 160 characters, but that hasn’t stopped people from using it. Consumers and businesses use it for different purposes, but it isn’t a preferred medium for quickly communicating with others.
Currently, people around the world are using IMs like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and other instant messaging apps to quickly chat with each other and interact with their friends and family. Interestingly, a few of these apps already have a billion users. Besides communicating quickly, here are other reasons why instant messaging apps are preferred over SMS –
- They support multimedia resources
- Real-Time Communications
- Read receipts
- Ability to chat with a group and
For the same reasons, more and more businesses are moving to these social media apps to connect with their users. But the problem is having a presence in different channels doesn’t give much scope for a unified communication that’s essential for better customer experience. So, what should businesses do?
Meet RCS – Rich Communication Services, the predecessor to SMS.
What is RCS?
Rich Communication Service – RCS is the messaging protocol that will soon replace SMS. RCS offers rich messaging features that are similar to WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc. and removes the existing limitations of SMS.
Though it was introduced back in 2008, it hadn’t gained much traction until recently. This could be due to the different approaches adopted by carriers and the costs involved. In 2016, several global telecom operators, Google, and the GSM Association launched an initiative to accelerate the adoption of RCS. Under this initiative, carriers have agreed to move towards a universal profile based on GSMA’s RCS specifications and an Android RCS client provided by Google.
Last year, Google upgraded its Android Messages app and made the chat features available for all users in the US. Besides, a few carriers in the US like Verizon, Sprint, etc. natively support this feature. Even though the adoption rate is slow, several carriers in Europe & Latin America have also implemented it.
RCS vs SMS – Differences
There are a lot of limitations in traditional SMS’s that are no longer a problem in the RCS. The RCS protocol offers features like group chat, sending and receiving high-resolution photos and videos, maps, location sharing, and much more. All these features will become a part of the carriers’ messaging experience itself.
How businesses can adopt RCS Messaging?
It’s quite evident that businesses have been sending text messages for many years now. Whether it’s balance alerts from a bank or a package delivery notification from an e-commerce store, SMS’s are one of the key mediums widely used by businesses. With the upgraded RCS, businesses can finally be able to provide a unified communication in all their channels. Moreover, they can give an easy way to provide their services as well.
As an example, when someone books a flight, the booking partner can provide the boarding pass in the message itself and can even allow the selection of a seat. Likewise, businesses can directly chat with their customers, push promotional messages with rich media, monitor the engagement, etc.
The applications are limitless and adopting it will be able to bring branded, interactive mobile experiences within the default-messaging app itself.