Cartoon depicting different ways of chatting
September 22, 2022

Leveraging Rich Communication Services

Digital Experience

Whether you know it or not, Rich Communication Services (RCS) is at the root of the way we speak to each other — from the most personal of conversations to high-octane business meetings. RCS is a burgeoning trend that is being seen more and more frequently as users interact with businesses. The days of stale, static text messages are quickly fading in the rearview mirror. 

The mobile device industry is always seeking ways to communicate faster, simpler, and more seamlessly. This blog will explore the ins and outs of rich communication services as well as its impact on business communications. 

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What Is Rich Communication Services? 

Rich Communications Services is an advanced messaging feature developed by Google for Android devices that significantly upgrades basic SMS text messaging. It is more commonly thought of as the “chat” function with capabilities that include group chats, video, audio, and images. 


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What Is Rich Communication Services Used For?

Rich Communication Services is used for creating a more interactive and dynamic communication feature for users, as opposed to sending a simple text-based message.

Additionally marketed as Advanced Messaging, Chat, joyn, SMSoIP, Message+, and SMS+, there is an estimated 390 million Rich Communications Services users per month through mobile phone carriers throughout their respective countries. 

Think of your favorite mobile messaging app — whether it be Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WeChat, and WhatsApp. All of them offer things like read receipts, better ways to share media, and indicators that a person is typing. RCS does all that at a larger scale. 

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Rich Communication Services for Business 

RCS has become an essential tool for businesses trying to reach their customers. As smartphone technology continues to progress, it is crucial for companies to keep up and not get left behind in the digital dust. 

Millions of businesses leverage SMS texting to communicate with their customers; think of all the package delivery updates, appointment confirmations, and security alerts you have received through your mobile device. Additionally, companies can put their own spin on Rich Communication Services by adding their own branding look and feel. 

Want to go even more in-depth on the impact RCS is having on businesses? Check out this Harvard Business Review report on how “mobile messaging blazes a path to consumers.” 

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RCS vs. SMS Messages: What Is the Difference? 

SMS text messaging has been one of the go-to methods of digital communication since the 1980s. Yet, just like anything with its digital brothers and sisters, it was only a matter of time until it faced challengers and changes. 

RCS messaging offers several features that SMS text messages simply do not have. RCS transforms conventional messaging into something far more interactive and feature-rich of an experience for conversations. Rich communication services are the force behind popular messaging apps such as iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. 

How exactly are RCS and SMS messaging different? There are a few key ways RCS stands out: 

  • Integrates location sharing 
  • Allows companies to brand their messages 
  • Verifies message senders 
  • Incorporates action buttons into messages 
  • Integrates location sharing 
  • Offers more dynamic group chat features 

RCS improves on SMS text messages that come with most phones by default.  

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Who Supports Rich Communication Services?

From its inception, RCS has been strictly an Android-based service — and as of this writing, that does not appear to be changing. 

Have you ever wondered why an iPhone user and an Android user experiences their text conversations differently on their respective devices? That is because Apple has thus far been reluctant to adopt RCS, and that is the reason behind pixelated images and buggy group chats. 

In an interview with The Verge, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that iPhone users aren’t “asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point.” RCS and iMessage are both very similar in their features and capabilities, but they simply do not work well together. Cook’s solution to this problem? “Buy your mom an iPhone.” 

Today, the battle between Android and iOS continues to rage. Android has even taken it upon itself to launch a campaign in an attempt to lobby Apple to adopt RCS. Maybe it will happen someday, and it will make the lives of testers the world over that much easier. 

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Rich Communications Services Benefits & Challenges

Like any mobile application feature, rich communications services come with their fair share of benefits and challenges. Let's take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of RCS in more depth:

RCS Benefits

Those who opt into using rich communication services can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Improved engagement from customers. With more dynamic chat features such as video demos and customized promotions, RCS helps organizations create ways for more interactive engagement from current and potential customers. 
  • Enhanced collaboration. RCS makes it simpler for teams to share information through their group chat feature and ability to transfer files. 
  • Increased in-app support. From Google Messages and Android Messages to Telegram, more and more messaging apps are adopting RCS, making it a more accessible and accepted messaging protocol. 

RCS Challenges

The disadvantages that some find with RCS include:

  • Network bandwidth issues. High-quality images and videos, as well as other rich media used in RCS consume a lot of network bandwidth. If not managed correctly, companies can face network congestion. 
  • Interoperability. A major disadvantage of RCS is that it is not supported by Apple. Therefore, a large percentage of mobile phones do not support RCS.
  • Complexity. RCS is also known as a technically complex feature that can be difficult to implement and maintain without the right personnel to manage it. While this issue is less concerning for enterprises, technical complexity is a larger obstacle for smaller organizations. 
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Bottom Line

With Rich Communication Services, a whole new world of connection becomes available to us. Rich Communication Services makes communicating with the people we love easier and interacting with businesses much more engaging. For more information on RCS and the Google-created feature, go straight to the source

As with all new digital developments, Perfecto strives to be at the forefront of support and adoption. Explore the ways that Perfect addresses some of the toughest mobile testing challenges.

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