Few people outside the mobile industry paid attention to Rich Communication Services (RCS) until Google announced in September 2015 that it had acquired Jibe Mobile, a company at the forefront of RCS development. But what impact will this have on the future of RCS and the humble SMS in a climate where OTT messaging apps are becoming more and more popular by the day?
The development of RCS as a possible successor to SMS messaging began as early as 2007, with the GSMA giving its official backing a year later. At its core, it offers a range of advanced messaging features including group messaging, voice and video calls, file transfers and a host of other features. But despite the attractive feature set and initial industry optimism, RCS has failed to make the impact that many had expected it to.
RCS may have the backing of the GSMA and a number of global mobile network operators (MNOs), but it could be Google that is key to the standard’s future. With four fifths of the world’s smartphones running the company’s Android operating system, Google’s support is crucial to bring RCS to a wider audience.