Why Is RCS Messaging the Successor to SMS?


Few people ask their friends, coworkers or family to SMS them later. Instead, they ask colleagues and loved ones to text them with any updates they want to share. But there are some very intriguing reasons to believe the standard Short Message Services (SMS) text will soon be a thing of the past. Instead, Rich Communication Services (RCS) are shaping up to perform a not-so-hostile takeover. Learn more about the history of RCS and why you’ll likely be using the platform over SMS in the near future.

11 Years in the Making

Formed in 2007 by communication industry promoters, RCS is meant to make it easier for people to send messages from one mobile phone to another. This is, of course, the function of SMS, but RCS takes it up a notch or two. When it was developed, it was under the GSM Association (or the trade body that advocates for the interests of mobile network operators). Slowly but surely, it was being picked up by big names in the mobile industry.

By 2016, RCS had the support of 47 mobile network operators and 11 manufacturers, plus a nod of approval from Google and Microsoft. But the initiative failed to pick up steam at its original conception to carry RCS through to the billions of cell phones around the world. Carriers weren’t thrilled at the concept of switching their systems over to uncharted territory — even if it did so happen to be a more effective platform. But plenty of people have taken notice of RCS, and its staged to make a big splash soon.

RCS in the News

A little-known tech company called Google put out a very intriguing statement for anyone who owns a mobile device. They’ve already been working with the major cell phone carriers in the world to adopt the RCS protocol into Google’s own patented product. Simply named Chat, the platform follows the original guidelines of RCS Universal Profile originally developed years ago.

Now there are more than 50 carriers who support Google’s version of RCS and around a dozen smartphone makers who have followed suit. Because the carriers are jumping on the bandwagon, that means it shouldn’t take long to see the virtual networks do the same. Plus, experts don’t foresee a problem with merging the networks and the carrier platform together.

How It Works

Unlike standard Android apps, Chat makes it easy (and fast) to send high-resolution photos and videos. It facilitates communication with group chat features and better character limits. This way, you’re not sending two texts at the same time if your message exceeds 160 characters. And it has live update functionality that can make your life a lot more convenient. Did your flight just get pushed back an hour? Chat sends you the message so you can reset your alarm. Chat may look and feel a lot like your normal messaging app, but it gives you a lot more bang for your buck.

When Will We See It?

The plan is to start seeing Chat adopted en masse in the next year to 18 months. There are a few things standing in the way, but nothing insurmountable. Your cell phone carrier will first need to sign off on Chat, but that’s likely to have already happened. T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint are just a few names that will support it. As long as you have a newer smartphone, it should be able to support the Chat platform. If the person you’re talking to doesn’t happen to have Chat though, the message will come through as standard SMS.

Here at Glympse, we are busy planning for RCS. Stay tuned to learn more!


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