RCS is set to be the new revolution in Mobile messaging, yet for many brands, the subject is often still a little hazy. We explain what RCS is and why it is time to get into this very promising technology, replacing SMS.
RCS or Rich Communication Services is a technology pushed by mobile operators and Google on Android phones. Its objective: to enrich SMS messaging with all the functionality that can be found on the various dominant instant messaging systems (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.).
Behind this breakthrough in SMS technology is also the response to the spectacular breakthrough into messaging apps that has been seen from the web giants and mobile operators. These are offering a closed ecosystem that sees the data escaping to Google and the monetisation going to telecom operators. Consequently, they are developing their response and are now offering brands a credible and attractive alternative.
Here are 6 reasons to start working on RCS now with myElefant!
Development of SMS
Compared to RCS, simple SMS seems bland… So no more plain text messages… RCS brings many new features to SMS communication and expands the range for Marketing teams. It will now be possible (in terms of main features):
- To enhance message content with new formats (images, videos, Gifs, Carousel)
- To deploy chatbots to automate part of the customer relationship.
- To use native Android functionality such as location sharing or direct payments with Google Pay
The objective is to let companies communicate more naturally with their customers on a highly popular channel.
All this without having to download a new app, it is the SMS app that will be updated.
Make an interactive interface a native format for all phones
WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat… So many apps that, from their arrival on the market, have offered a more engaging experience than an SMS channel. Yet this strength is also a weakness.
With RCS, Google is bringing an interactive interface and Rich Messages directly into the SMS channel. And it is this new feature that highlights the weakness of the messaging apps mentioned above. Each of these apps requires the user to download and opt-in upstream, which, as a result, is a barrier for the user, while none of this is needed for RCS.
Even if it has gradually lost market share in recent years, SMS remains by far the most widely used form of mobile communication, way ahead of all other channels.
Why download a messaging app if the features you are looking for are already available in your phone’s native communication system?
The new features are not revolutionary because they already exist on some instant messaging systems. But bringing these features into the native SMS channel has the potential to recover the entire mobile messaging market.
It is based on SMS opt-in
RCS is based on an app that is native to all Android phones and requires no installation. In agreement with mobile operators, opting in to RCS opt-in is the same as the SMS opt-in. Unlike other messaging apps, this does not require additional agreements. Consequently, the current target of your SMS campaigns is already ready to receive your RCS campaigns.
Brands do not have to invest to recruit a new community as it is the case for WhatsApp or Messenger; they have their community of SMS opt-ins, and it is already there.
myElefant, a member of Google’s Early Access Programme
Since May 2018, myElefant has been a Google partner in the area of RCS. We are working in close collaboration with the mountain view firm, and we stay as close as possible to innovations. In August 2018, myElefant was even the first European player to deploy an RCS messaging campaign in the United States with the PSG football club.
We are working at the heart of innovation to offer you the quickest and simplest possible deployment of RCS campaigns to your customers.
The ability to anticipate
Although RCS has not yet been deployed globally and will only be deployed from 2019, some major operators started pushing the technology in a few countries as early as 2018. Vodafone in the UK, Spain and Italy, and Sprint in the United States are already ready to deploy RCS. It is, therefore, possible to send “POCs” or proofs of concept in these countries to test the uses and performance of this new technology.
The myElefant platform is, of course, RCS compatible and will also ensure maximum deliverability since end users who are not RCS compatible will receive a Rich SMS instead. This “FallBack” situation is a major asset, providing a consistent user experience for all end-users.
myElefant recommends that its customers take an interest in this technology as soon as possible to get started in learning about the subject of interactive commerce, so they are ready when RCS becomes the major channel for mobile customer relations.
What about Apple in all this?
For the two giants, the situation is the same: messaging apps have eaten away at their hegemony over mobile services. They both find themselves fighting for the retention of messaging outside apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger).
Clearly, Apple is not to be outdone and is offering the market a version of RCS it calls Business Chat. It is very similar to RCS solution regarding functionality, but the conditions of use seem to be more stringent nowadays, which is limiting its uptake.
To date, Apple is therefore not RCS compatible. However, negotiations between the two giants are taking place under the control of GSMA, so it is not impossible that Tim Cook’s company may one day integrate RCS technology into its messaging system.
If you are interested in RCS or would like more information, the myElefant team will be happy to answer your questions.