Also known as “joyn,” Rich Communication Services (RCS) is backed by the GSM Association and offers subscribers an innovative set of features that enhance the capabilities of SMS and MMS technologies. Subscribers can conduct individual and group chat sessions and exchange images or videos during voice calls or chats. Messaging sessions are effortlessly launched from the address book, which contains traditional contact information as well as enhanced information, including communication capabilities like chat, video/image share, and file transfer. With RCS, operators can combat increasingly popular “over-the-top” (OTT) services like Skype and Facebook Messenger.
OTT services are provided by third parties and carried “over the top” of operators' networks, resulting in little to no revenue for the operator. These services are downloaded from app stores, such as Blackberry App World, Android Market, or iTunes. They are rapidly gaining both mind and market share among mobile subscribers, and operators worldwide are feeling the impact. While SMS use continues to increase globally, SMS volumes have begun to decline in mature markets. In fact, according to research firm Ovum, operators lost $23 billion in SMS revenues to OTT services through 2012.
RCS has the significant advantage of working across networks and devices, unlike siloed OTT services that typically can be used only by those subscribers who have downloaded the relevant app to their device.
Nine of 10 leading handset vendors, including Nokia, Samsung, HTC, ZTE, Sony, and Huawei, have committed to embedding RCS-e clients on handsets and have started doing so. Downloadable RCS-e clients are currently available for iOS, Android, and RIM platforms.
RCS-enhanced (RCS-e) is the currently available version of RCS, developed to speed time to market. It offers enhanced features such as instant messaging, live video sharing, and file transfer across any device on any network operator.
Specifications have been defined through RCS version 5, which includes additional features like SMS/MMS interoperability, social presence information, and capability exchange based on presence or SIP options.
Interop Technologies is accredited by the GSMA as a joyn Hosted Solution Provider. Interop's solution does not require operators to have an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) core within their network, even though both the RCS-e v1.2 and RCS v4/5 specifications identify this requirement. IMS deployment requires a costly investment in capital and engineering resources as well as a wholesale change to operators' networks. To overcome this obstacle, Interop has incorporated the components of IMS necessary to support RCS directly into the Interop platform.
Interop's solution seamlessly integrates with an operator's IMS network if it is already part of the network infrastructure or will be in the future. For operators with an IMS core, RCS devices connect via the appropriate access network, be it Wi-Fi, LTE, 3G, or another packet data network. The device must then register and authenticate prior to accessing the RCS Messaging Server. Authentication, registration and SIP routing are all handled by different components of the IMS core. Once a device is registered, the IMS core routes all RCS messages to the RCS Messaging Server and other IMS networks. For operators without IMS, the IMS functionality built into Interop's server handles these functions. However, our solution is designed to seamlessly integrate with the operator's IMS architecture should it decide to implement one in the future.
Interop's solution incorporates the required IMS functions into the RCS Messaging Server itself. The server handles the authentication, registration, and routing requirements of the IMS core, while fully complying with IMS and RCS standards. This gives the operator the option of implementing RCS in the short-term, eliminating the IMS requirement. Other vendors work around the IMS requirement by either hosting an IMS core or offering “RCS-like” proprietary protocols that aren't truly RCS compliant. In addition, Interop's cloud deployment option lets operators launch RCS quickly and cost effectively.
Interop's solution fully complies with the RCS-e v1.2 specifications and will remain compliant with future versions of RCS as they evolve, ensuring that our solution provides interoperability across devices and networks. Services that are merely RCS-like cannot provide this guarantee and often operate in a “walled garden,” where only those subscribers using the same service can communicate. This is the same limitation preventing OTT services from achieving ubiquity.
Interop's RCS Messaging Server is fully backward compatible with legacy SMS and MMS, an RCS version 5 feature. As a result, mobile devices enabled with the Interop RCS Messaging Server can successfully conduct messaging sessions with other devices regardless of whether they operate using RCS or SMS/MMS technology, helping to bridge the gap between legacy and next-generation messaging services.
Interop's RCS Messaging Server is fully compatible with any RCS-compliant client. This gives operators the freedom to choose one or more clients for their devices that best support their business strategy and subscriber preference. Multiple RCS client vendors and smartphone manufacturers are testing their client software in the Interop interoperability testing (IOT) environment to ensure that standards compliance and interoperability are achieved.
|02/06/2013:||Interop Technologies Adds RCS Version 5 Features to Cloud Technology|
|05/08/2012:||Interop Technologies RCS Solution Provides Full Compatibility with Legacy Messaging|
|10/11/2011:||Interop Technologies Provides RCS-e Compliant Solution Without IMS|
|11/13/2012:||Can RCS Overcome the OTT Threat?|
|09/2012:||Preserving Messaging Revenue with RCS|
|08/28/2012:||Q&A: Interop on Advancing Next-Gen Messaging|
|08/27/2012:||RCS - Gaining traction, but misunderstood|
|08/07/2012:||Load-N-Go℠: Interop's “no strings attached” RCS evaluation program|
|07/13/2012:||Leverage LTE investment with RCS|