The RCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2012 - (Page 36)

THEME: CONNECTING COMMUNITIES Rich Communication Suite Connects Mobile Users in New Ways using today’s SMS and MMS technologies, enabling users to connect in new and unique ways. A central feature of RCS is an enhanced address book, from which users can initiate communication. In addition to traditional contact information (name, number, and email address), the address book identifies each contact’s capabilities – such as chat, video share, image share, and file transfer. Subscribers can start a messaging session or voice call from within the address book, including one-to-one or group chats, and can share images or videos in real time while communicating. Though RCS client solutions vary, they typically include “social” features that today’s connected users enjoy. For example, information such as a home page link and short, personalized status (“It’s a great day!”) can be displayed. RCS can also provide instant message-like indicators to identify when users are typing as well as a delivery confirmation when messages, images, or videos are sent. A major advantage of RCS is its ability to connect users regardless of platform and device type. Many OTT services are used in “closed” communities, limiting exchanges to only those users who have downloaded the relevant app to their handset. By selecting an RCS solution that is compatible with legacy SMS and MMS technologies, operators enable subscribers to launch all messaging sessions from the RCS client on their phone, regardless of whether the recipient’s phone is RCS enabled. If a subscriber sends an RCS message to a handset that is not RCS enabled, the message is simply converted to SMS or MMS to ensure a seamless user experience. Currently, five of the world’s largest mobile operators have committed to deploying an enhanced version of RCS known as RCS-e – Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, and Vodafone. These operators are initially launching RCS-e services in Spain, Germany, France, and Italy in early 2012. In North America, numerous operators are trialing RCS services. Six of the leading handset manufacturers have also committed to including RCS-e clients on handsets. In addition, the GSM Association plans to launch a downloadable RCS-e app client that can be used on iOS and Android platforms. Both the RCS and RCS-e standards require operators to have an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) core within their network. Understanding that this could delay implementation of RCS for some operators, Interop Technologies has developed a fully compliant RCS solution that supports operators regardless of whether they have an IMS core. This approach enables operators to compete with OTT players immediately and seamlessly implement an IMS core if and when they choose to do so. Operators evaluating RCS solutions must carefully consider available deployment options and the benefits of each. A hosted solution has the benefit of being both an efficient and economical option for operators that wish to enter the market quickly. Given the current threat of OTT players, time to market is an essential element of operators’ next-generation messaging strategies. Mobile phone users rely on messaging technology to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. By facilitating subscribers’ connections through RCS, operators can mitigate the use of OTT services while enhancing customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive communications environment . By Doug Thompson, Director of Product Management, Interop Technologies T oday’s mobile phone users have wholeheartedly embraced messaging technology as a way to stay connected with family members, friends, and colleagues. The growing use of smartphones, however, has led many subscribers to move beyond basic texting to more sophisticated —and often free—options available from “overthe-top” (OTT) providers, such as Skype, WhatsApp Messenger, and Google Talk. Subscribers download these applications to their phones from application stores, such as iTunes, Blackberry App World, or Android Market, and use them for communication services like individual or group chats. Gaining rapid popularity, these services are provided by third parties and are carried over mobile operators’ data networks. However, they provide no revenue for operators and represent a threat to traditional messaging revenues. In their fight to remain relevant as communication service providers, operators are turning to Rich Communication Suite (RCS) to compete effectively with OTT services. RCS is an industry initiative that provides additional features not available 36 THE VOICE • • Spring/Summer 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The RCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2012

2011/2012 Board of Directors/Staff
Chairman’s Letter
A Message from the President & CEO
The Community Shift: New Roles for Service Providers in the Networked-community Age
Broadband for All
Making the Networked Society a Reality
A Missed Opportunity: The FCC’s Long-awaited USF Reform Falls Short
LTE Connects Rural Wireless Communities Previously Excluded from High-speed Internet Access
Network Sharing: A Cost-saving Opportunity to Connect Communities
How LTE Deployments Are Keeping Rural Communities Connected
The Value of Connection
Rich Communication Suite Connects Mobile Users in New Ways
Snapshot: Planning for 2020
Connecting with Today’s Consumer
Bluegrass Cellular Asks Teens to Help Promote Safety with Drive Now. Text L8R. Contest
How Innovative Technologies Can Help During Extreme Emergency Situations
Club Mosaic” Powers Mosaic Mobile Growth
Door County Network Expansion Shows Commitment to Rural Development
(Dis)Connecting Communities in a Changing World
Connecting Communities – Behavior, Innovation and Value
LTE Network Migration: “Adaptive” Customer Service Assurance Required for Monitoring and Troubleshooting
Supporting the Mobile Global Village
Index of Advertisers
Congressional Spotlight: Congressman Don Young

The RCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2012