Are telcos getting the message?
Much store was initially set in RCS (Rich Communication Services) standards. These were (and are) designed to enable operators to launch compatible ‘richer’ messaging and other services. But they’ve been very slow coming (standards grinds incredibly slow) and like many such efforts critics say that JOYN services (the first generation services using RCS) have failed to hit the moving target that is the online messaging market - even when they’re free many users swerve to avoid them.
However, according to Alex Duncan, CEO of Openmind, the services should be deployed on phones by operators as the messaging default. Alex thinks they will hit the spot in the longer run for a few reasons.
Firstly, while RCS has been over-engineered it’s possible now (like everything else) to virtualise the software thus greatly reducing the capital cost of deployment. Openmind does a COTS platform (Linux) onto which it is supporting a set of RCS-compatible modules - Alex reckons this gets rid of 70 per cent the capital cost and from that position there are already moves by customers to virtualise the messaging software into an NFV framework.
But he thinks operators just need to stay visible in the messaging market by providing a default messaging set on the phone, even if they essentially give it away as part of the bundle. Customers can swerve around it if they wish to use Snapchat or WhatsApp, but it’s there when they need it and for many customers it will be enough. And, you never know, operators may even develop reveue-generating services to go with the set.