We have seen SMS and recently also messaging in general, sinking deeply into our daily communication patterns. No matter if personal or business, Messaging is here to stay. But with 160 characters and pure text, as well as no intelligent back channel for communication, the SMS standard has its fundamental limitations. This might be the reason why messaging apps have gained such relevance and replaced the SMS on most smartphones today. Alternatives to the messaging apps are hybrid solutions such as Apple’s iMessage and now the newly arriving Android Messages from Google, which also includes the new “Rich Communications Services” (Google RCS).
This new RCS standard is the answer from Google and its telco partners to the ongoing innovation within the field of messaging. There is a transformation of the messenger platform from a simple text communication channel to an application and rich content interface. Prepping the rollout for some time (expected in Q3/2017) and acquiring the Jibe Mobile platform as a foundation two years ago, Google and its currently 27 carrier partners push towards a broad rollout, striving to make RCS an advanced standard format for messaging. By integrating the channel into the new native Android messaging app (now called Android Messages) and also getting third-party device manufacturers on board, RCS has the means to rely on a large install base of Android devices to reach its market potential and see a relevant adoption.
With this upgrade, Google RCS enables the Android Messenger to provide features such as group chat, high-res photo sharing, read receipts and to handle rich content. In addition, businesses can use RCS to have a branded messaging experience with information about the business and the ability to share content like images, video clips and gifs with their customers.
One example is the translation of the customer pre-flight experience with an airline. From reminding the customer to check-in, handling the full check-in experience, providing the boarding pass and offering visual flight updates, as well as terminal plans and additional content, all is handled within the messenger. Hence, now the full customer experience can be delivered directly within the messenger, without media breaches but with a fully, context relevant distribution of information.
Consequently, we are not only experiencing an upgrade within the messaging infrastructure with RCS but also get a glimpse on how digital customer experiences evolve. By receiving the ability to consolidate customer communication and customer journey within a consistent communication channel, businesses now receive a new level of causal and contextual driven interaction via messaging with their customers.
Imagining the potential of Google RCS and the richness of use cases, it gives a pretty good idea what kind of value this new format is adding to messaging and how it will support the evolution of existing customer communication patterns.