Challenges Ahead for RCS Enterprise Messaging

Is RCS (Rich Communication Suite) ready to take the mobile world by storm? Although RCS use is starting to skyrocket, I’ve seen several challenges from recent customer work that could affect its use.

In two recent blog posts, I’ve written about the anticipated impact of RCS for mobile users, and the expected next steps for RCS implementation. In this third post, I’ll explore these areas further by talking about some distinct challenges that mobile service providers and enterprises will need to address to make the most of RCS.

I work with a lot of companies to help them use text messaging services to better reach and engage their customers. From the front-line view I’ve had, I’ve formed one important observation about RCS: It’s at a tipping point where it’s positioned to explode in use. However, without global availability including wide consumer reach, mass adoption, and device parity, it still has a way to go before it can be seriously considered by enterprises as a viable channel or as a replacement for existing channels, like standard text messaging.

In conversing with enterprises today about RCS implementation, I’ve gotten two common questions above all others:

What’s the user experience through the RCS client on the device for enterprise discovery?
Ideally, the RCS client user experience is very similar to today’s SMS client experience, with the difference being the ability to search enterprise services available for RCS as well as additional personal and enterprise conversations separately.

How do I implement my BOT to manage my RCS communications?
Onboarding a BOT, or a build-operate-transfer, a contractual relationship in which an organization hires a service provider to set up, optimize, and run an IT or business process service delivery operation, should be  standard in connecting end points for delivery through either an interface or API (application programming interface) pathway. Once the BOT is ready, something such as a form fill will likely be available for onboarding and discovery. Keep in mind, bots are expected to be crucial to RCS communications.

As these questions show, RCS is already beginning to change the messaging approaches of enterprises today. But for RCS to be a solid communication channel for enterprises, mobile service providers and enterprises will have to address the challenges of accessibility, interconnectivity, and adoption. For these reasons, there’s still work ahead before RCS will be able to fully replace today’s enterprise text messaging channel. But the good news is that the technology and design approach is there, and some enterprises are already jumping into enterprise RCS to get familiar with its features and functions.

Today, operators and communication “hub providers” – providers of network devices that perform a variety of processing functions, including network management, bridging, routing, and switching – are investing heavily in RCS. Hubs will be vital in the same way they were vital back when text messaging first required interconnectivity. Without this interconnectivity, RCS will remain as fractured and limited as it is today, which does not work for an enterprise looking to build a new communication channel. This is good news, because it means that presumably most of the interconnectivity challenges that were encountered with text and multimedia messaging interconnectivity should largely be solved for RCS interconnectivity. For this reason, how well and how fast operators and hub providers finish providing full interconnectivity will be a big factor in companies’ decisions about how to move forward with RCS.

RCS promises to eventually revolutionize messaging, and Syniverse has positioned itself at the front line of this revolution. We look forward to helping customers make the most of RCS in their businesses and reporting on more RCS developments right here on Synergy. Until then, if you have any questions or thoughts on RCS, please consider leaving me a comment below.

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Rick Carlson is a Principal Solutions Engineer at Syniverse.

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