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Get set for a rich new messaging experience in 2019

SMS messages  go multimedia in  2019,  to  take on Whatsapp and Facebook  with new avatar called   Rich Communication Service
By Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, December 17 2018: Texting is so boring -- at least,  the kind that you can do by default  on  all hand phones, no  matter how basic.   It offers plain vanilla,  when we long for the cassata  quality of a Whatsapp  or a Facebook  Messenger, where we can attach photos, videos or sound bytes.
But these  new age messaging apps  have their limitations. For starters you need an Internet connection -- which many basic feature phones lack. And  the biggest hassle is that your recipient  must also be a Whatsapp or FB Messenger user.  But all that  is about to change:  2019 should see India among a handful of nations graduating to a new multimedia avatar of the basic SMS.  It's called  Rich Communication Service or RCS and incredibly,  is  technology that was adopted, a full ten  years ago, by the GSM Association, the global   body  of cell phone services. The main evangelist is Google and it looks like its push has  finally come to shove:  Three months ago,  Samsung came on board to incorporate RCS  into its mobile phones starting with the Galaxy S8.   In the US, Verizon  is the first telecom player to offer RCS, in a limited way -- on Google's Pixel 3 XL handset.
Leading  cloud communication player, Route Mobile is the first to bring RCS  to India by joining Google's early access programme; they will  offer a robust  business messaging platform to help brands  achieve an engaging 2-way communication with their customers, says group CEO  Rajdipkumar Gupta: "It will allow brands to send interactive messages like images of their products, GIFs, videos, and location to the nearest point of sale (POS). It supports browsing and purchase of products through online payments –without leaving the messaging app. Retailers can now demonstrate products, airlines can handle bookings and banks can process banking transactions – all over messaging. Brands today have been looking for a more holistic mobile communication solution apart from traditional messaging. With Google’s RCS, we now have one."  
In 2019, we can expect to graduate from SMS to RCS  as more devices and services providers join in.  Is it a big deal -- and if so how big?

Other than the obvious advantage that you can send multimedia messages -- with  animated GIFs,  still photos, and videos --  to anyone with  an Android device,  it will let you know if the person you’re texting is available, and can send you a receipt to prove they received your message. It will  handle longer messages and larger files. It will also bring some group messaging  features not currently possible with  SMS.   All this may sound much like a Whatsapp today -- but Google is cannily pitching RCS to businesses as a huge value adder,  For example once you have bought a flight ticket, the  airline can  remind you to check in for a flight and can leverage the multimedia  capability to provide easy check-in complete with a boarding pass, visual flight updates, and  a  personalised route  map of the terminal which you can follow from entry to  baggage check-in to security to  boarding gate, without having to look for all this signs.....
The possibilities are infinite.  RCS promises to  live up to its name and bring a rich new level of  communication  your phone in the new year




    


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