There’s been a lot of news lately related to launches of voice over LTE (News - Alert) (VoLTE), which enables cellular network operators to leverage their IMS infrastructure to reduce the costs of calls and refarm spectrum. But an even more interesting area of activity relative to the cellular carriers and IMS may be RCS, which could allow wireless service providers to better compete with the over-the-top threat.
RCS is a specification that leverages IMS to deliver rich communications services including file sharing, IM, videoconferencing, VoIP, and more. RCS has been around for a while, and the GSMA tried to move it forward by creating the joyn brand, but that received only limited adoption, explains Doug Makishima, COO of D2 Technologies (News - Alert). Nonetheless, RCS is a good technology, he says, and now it’s getting even stronger because it’s becoming available as a native app in endpoints such as smartphones.
Early RCS required end users to download applications, he explains, which encouraged people to compare these carrier-supplied apps and services to what was available from over-the-top app companies. That wasn’t helpful, notes Makishima, given service providers weren’t able to keep up with app cycle releases, so were only able to deliver very basic functionality. The result was carrier-provided apps that were unexciting, required user effort, and didn’t get traction, he says.
However, the communications ecosystem, including companies like D2 Technologies, is now starting to come together to allow cellular operators to deliver RCS-based functionality direct from smartphones and other devices – and without the need for end users to download apps to enable that, Makishima explains. That can create stickiness for operators and enable these companies to harness their competitive advantages, he adds.
Makishima was at the CTIA (News - Alert) in Las Vegas this week demonstrating how native RCS can enable end users to easily enjoy a variety of easy-to-use communications capabilities that would seem to deliver on the true promise of unified communications. The point of the demo was to show the seamless user experience that could be enjoyed all via one phone number.
“This is one way [carriers] can push back and offer service parity” with the over-the-top types, says Makishima.
Edited by Alisen Downey