The GSMA’s Future Networks programme hosted the 25th edition of its GSMA RCS Business Messaging Lab this week at MWC Shanghai. The event, which brings leading stakeholders in the messaging industry together such as mobile operators, aggregators and brands, took a focused look at the potential of RCS to become a leading messaging platform in a Chinese market that sends more than 700 billion SMS messages every year. The session including speakers from China Mobile, LivePerson, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, SoftBank and 3C Interactive.
The GSMA’s Jill Cooper reminded a packed auditorium that RCS delivered a ‘completely different experience than SMS with no friction and no apps to download’ and highlighted the huge sales potential of brands to engage more directly with consumers in a more compelling and interactive way. The GSMA’s Chief Technology Officer, Alex Sinclair also highlighted the huge strides the industry had made in a short space of time with 76 global operator launches – that is expected to rise to 135 by 2020 – and approximately 278 million monthly active users today that is expected to reach 831 million by 2020, making it one of the top 3 messaging platforms in the world. He also pointed out the fundamental role of China in driving this adoption accounting for approximately 40 per cent of the market, in part due to the sheer scale of the country but also the support and commitment of its operators and brands.
For Sinclair the biggest opportunity for operators and the wider ecosystem is in RCS Business Messaging and he encouraged the industry to accelerate its adoption to take advantage of a market estimated to be worth over $74 billion by 2021 according to GSMA Intelligence. RCS Business Messaging enables subscribers to engage directly with multiple brands from one messaging platform in a more interactive and engaging way so that they can make restaurant reservations, book train tickets or make purchases without having to juggle between numerous apps. It means that brands can open up a new channel to reach and engage with their customers across a variety of different customer experiences, such as advertising or customer care, driving higher conversion rates and brand loyalty. Sinclair argued that with common GSMA RCS specifications, support from Google, Samsung and others and a community of A2P aggregators in place ‘there was really no reason for brands not to start the process’.
Eddie DeCurtis, VP of Network Distribution at LivePerson, a conversational commerce market leader, talked up the need to ‘bring brands and consumers together’ and ‘make life easier for brands and consumers to communicate’ highlighting the growth of the company from a webchat customer service platform in 1997 to the launch of its comprehensive Maven RCS product today. Jeff Michard, VP Client Strategy, 3C Interactive also outlined how RCS was changing the way in which brands are approaching conversational commerce. In China, messaging is the number one platform of choice for consumers where WeChat had risen to become the overwhelming market leader and number one app with 1.1 billion subscribers.
Henry Calvert, Head of Future Networks programme, GSMA highlighted the work being done to get operators to complete full market launches, such as Japan’s three principle operators, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank who launched their ‘+message’ service last year. He also made the point that the RCS platform can create value and can be easily monetised as opposed to other messenging platforms.
DeCurtis highlighted how LivePerson and its Maven RCS product was designed specifically with operators in mind and that ‘in the current universe carriers are left out of the value chain but in the new world they would become its centre and the growth number are huge.’ LivePerson estimates that the RCS market would have a value of ¥511 billion by 2021 and offer brands 20 times the market engagement. DeCurtis outlined the role of Maven in making conversational commerce an essential aspect of an operator’s success. Maven is already being utilised by over 250 enterprises around the globe and over 20,000 brands and offers a full service to users including different levels including a ‘conversation builder’ as well as ‘bots and humans’ or a conversation manager and ‘humans’ or conversation intelligence. The product aims to connect consumers easily to brands and match a consumer’s intent all the way through to fulfillment.
To get involved in future GSMA RCS Business Messaging Labs, join us at the next <a href=”https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/events-and-webinars/rcs-awareness-lab-26-philippines/”>RCS Business Messaging Lab</a> in the Philippines on 5th September, sponsored by LivePerson, part of Asian Carrier Conference.
For further information please go to <a href=”http://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks”>www.gsma.com/futurenetworks</a>.