Is it the end of text messages as we know it? In Barcelona, at the Mobile World Congress, Google announced on the 23rd of March 2017 the approval by many carriers and device manufacturers to make RCS the new native format for phone messaging on any android device – including wearables – by interconnecting with Jibe, the Google cloud plateform for messages. Incorporating new functions as group chat, live video, file sharing or payment, it will compete with IP-based instant messaging without any applications to be downloaded, it is likely to create new uses for users and a new market to tackle, far beyond plain text.

To Meet the Needs of Consumers for Multimedia Messages and Instant Messaging

The Android device app
Android Messages will be natively installed on the majority of Android devices. Source : Google

According to the GSMA Report on “The Futur of Mobile Communications”, while Short Messaging Services (SMS) – also known as text messages – are still used by more people and businesses with “four billion SMS users worldwide sending 20 billion messages a day”, IP-based instant messaging have truly dug in.

Facebook’s owned Messenger, WhatsApp and Telegram – with 60 billions messages a day and 2.3 billion active users – are the first players worldwide while “Tencent combined monthly active users of the Weixin and WeChat messaging services reached 697 million at the end of 2015 in Asia, representing annual growth of 39%” according to the report.

RCS is a 2007 instant messaging format that isn’t an “over-the-top” service as it does need carriers networks to work

A Strong Collaboration between Google, Manufacturers and Carriers to Make an Interoperable and Open-source Multimedia Message Format

The Google’s strategy is to make its RCS application “android messages” preloaded on every android smartphone by manufacturers as LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, HMD Global (Nokia), Archos and Wiko.

Conscious of that simple plain text SMS wasn’t enough anymore, 27 global carriers such América Móvil, Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Globe Telecom, KPN, Millicom, MTN, Orange, PLAY, Smart Communications, Sprint, Telenor Group, TeliaSonera, Telstra, TIM, Turkcell, VimpelCom and Vodafone agreed to launch a universal and interoperable profile based on the GSMA recommendations.

Google play a major role in this orchestration as it supplies Jibe Mobile, a scalable cloud platform and hub acquired in 2015 and interconnecting every users from every carrier.

Jibe use scheme
RCS will work across global networks thanks to Jibe. Source : Jibe

A Mere New Canal for Brands and Advertisers

We can easily believe that brands and companies will take advantage of these new abilities – and bring new revenues to carriers  missing the drop in revenues by SMS.

Brands will now be able to create new services for customers and leads by adding to
mobile marketing the sending of useful contents as comprehensive flight check-in, interactive maps, gifs and video clips – definitely all that you can find on your current instant messaging.

In view to promote their technology to business partners, Google offers companies to join an “Early Access Program”. Many famous companies as Philips, Subway or BlaBlaCar are going to be the first one to send RCS messages to their users and customers.

Wallgreen and Virgin Trains will use RCS
Instant messaging functions will now be available natively for every android device. Source : Google

As SMS are becoming more and more reliable and powerful, it is likely that would overcome e-mail in business use with an even more personalized, reactive and useful message. It is now another struggle for Google to convince major manufacturers like Samsung and carriers as AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to join the initiative  or compete with.

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