RCS is now well on its way into the mass market in North America, with commercial launches in double digits and forecast to grow steadily over the next year – and leading the business case here as elsewhere is RCS Business Messaging. The latest GSMA RCS Business Messaging Awareness Lab, sponsored by 3cinteractive, was held at MWC19 Los Angeles last month. The 27th session included regional players and helped the ecosystem discuss the commercial benefits of using RCS, and how best to make it work for their organisations.
October’s Lab primarily focussed on North America with key RCS experts sharing their insights. There were many presentations on the big picture and landscape issues, such as Canada’s public authority on all things wireless, CWTA, who set out the current state of RCS in Canada (the three leading operators have achieved interoperability). However, attendees also wanted to know the current use cases in operation, and their commercial successes to date – and there was no shortage of those.
Infobip launched the first live RCS campaigns in Mexico earlier this year, (Club Comex and Utel). Since then they have added 10 more clients and launched more than 20 live campaigns to mobile subscribers of Mexican operators. Infobip’s David Aguilera took attendees through some case studies and illustrated why their clients found RCS as the solution.
A series of 10 campaigns for decor retailers Club Comex allowed promotion of products, interiors and offers via carousels of images and videos – a world away from a brief description and perhaps a link, as might have been possible with an equivalent SMS campaign. The RCS campaigns delivered a ten-fold increase in click-through rates and a 115% increase in revenues. In education, Utel Universidad used RCS to motivate students, send them reminders and answer enquiries, and stay in touch with alumni. And in tech, Samsung improved click-through rates by 34% over SMS in their campaign to urge users to download their Android messaging app.
ClubComex deemed RCS “the beginning of a new era of communication”, Samsung agreed it’s “the new beginning”, and Utel Universidad found it an “inspirational way to easily communicate and be approached by our students”. The excitement amongst Infobip’s partners in Mexico is evident.
In the United States, AirFind enjoyed success through RCS with 1News, which helps mobile users keep abreast of breaking news via RCS chatbot. Powered by Microsoft News, 1News marries convenience for the user – who needn’t browse proactively to stay ahead of the news cycle, or even download a separate news app – with new revenue streams for operators, via native ad, organic content and push notifications. 1News has enjoyed a click-through rate for featured ads of 15%, averaging only 40c per click, or 3c per message sent.
Apart from the natural focus on North America, there were discussions of wins further afield, with representation from the Japanese operators NTT Docomo, SoftBank and KDDI who have increased users of +message in a collaborative effort by more than fivefold since June 2018, with a total of over 10 million users. The A2P use cases have been especially successful, with open rates of 85%+, and clickthrough rates of over 40% more than comparable campaigns by SMS. Exit rates are also minimal compared to web-based campaigns. This growing strength and reliability will soon be put to a wider array of uses – from alerts in financial services, digital transformation in smart metering, evacuation warnings and safety information during disaster relief.
Mavenir proposed the next steps to advance the penetration of RCS. Such as the ecosystem must agree on where the common challenges lie and agree on common approaches. Among the most significant of these are on the specifications side, where there remains limited installed base of Universal Profile 2.0, with slow rollout of Universal Profile 2.x clients, and large quantities of older devices which cannot be upgraded. The gap between implementations of Universal Profile must be bridged over the next year – if that can be achieved. More and more enterprises will be able to see the returns on investment discussed in Los Angeles last month. We very much look forward to reviewing progress at MWC2020 in Barcelona in February of next year.