RCS, or ‘Rich Communication Services’ is nothing new. In fact, the protocol dates back to 2008, but somehow, the messaging service has never found its way into the mainstream. However, with Google announcing that all Android devices will have the ability to opt into RCS, the days of text messages appear to be limited.
Why? What is RCS and what makes it better than traditional text messaging?
Simply, where text messaging uses a cellular network to send messages, RCS – much like Facebook Messenger – uses data. The reason this is important is the increased functionality that the new system offers. According to Google, thanks to integrations and the flexibility of data, users will be able to use RCS as the homepage for their phone, and life. Things like reservations, plane boarding passes and tickets for concerts can all be purchased, saved and sent on RCS. Files can be uploaded and bills can be paid. Crypto and traditional transactions can be completed and social networks can be integrated. In other words, all actions can be consolidated, saved and actioned in one simple platform.
At this stage, Apple hasn’t said if it will embrace RCS, and this may mean it has an alternative system or strategy – although with RCS having so many years in development – with substantial backing – it’s difficult to see how even Apple could overcome such a lead.
RCS is more than likely to have an immediate and powerful impact on the way we, not only communicate but also purchase products and interact with our mobile devices. It’s more than likely that many smaller apps will go by the wayside as RCS creates an easier journey from curiosity to final payment and even further than that. The future for SMS looks grim, and RCS is likely to be the bringer of its end.