The GSMA today announced that multiple global brands including 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, ITV, Snaptravel and Subway have launched live trials of RCS Business Messaging based on the GSMA’s Universal Profile for Advanced Messaging (UP). The service upgrades existing SMS business messaging to create a richer and more interactive experience for consumers, allowing them to engage directly with brands within the messaging platform via artificial intelligence and chatbots. There will be a number of live demonstrations showcased at the GSMA Innovation City at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
‘In the space of a year, operator RCS launches have almost doubled from 30 to 55, underpinned by the Universal Profile, and have the potential to double again in 2018. Networks are now being interconnected in Europe and the Americas and we are seeing a rapidly growing base of global users,’ said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. ‘RCS Business Messaging is also being adopted by leading global brands who see the opportunities it presents to engage with consumers in a more interactive and compelling way.’
In the U.S., Google is collaborating with Sprint to enable campaigns with 1-800-Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, Express, SnapTravel and Subway in collaboration with messaging partners 3C, CM.com, Mobivity, OpenMarket, Smooch and Twilio launching through Google’s Early Access programme. Also in Mexico where they will launch soon, Google is partnering with Telcel to enable campaigns with 5 Piso, Banamex, Broxel, DHL Mexico and Secretaria de Salud in collaboration with messaging partners Airmovil, Auronix, Aldeamo, Movile and Tiaxa. Vodafone, the first mobile operator to commercially launch RCS in 14 countries, is working closely with ITV and OpenMarket to see how RCS can be used to help interact with their viewers. They along with Google are also closely working with IMImobile on Barclays, British Gas, Foxtons and Pizza Hut Delivery. In addition to CLX Communications on Nissan and with Infobip to support Uber in exploring the potential of RCS Business Messaging.
RCS is incorporated natively into a phone’s default messaging service and enables users to enjoy enhanced messaging services such as group chat, video, gifs, file and location sharing, amongst many others, without needing to download an app. RCS Business Messaging takes this further by allowing subscribers to engage directly with multiple brands from one messaging platform to make restaurant reservations, book train tickets or make purchases without having to juggle numerous apps.
Momentum is growing around the world with over 159 million current active monthly RCS users, according to GSMA Intelligence, a figure that is expected to grow to 350 million by Q4 2018. GSMA Intelligence also estimates that the RCS Business Messaging market will be worth over $74 billion by 2021.