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MEF Director of Programmes James Williams provides an overview of the recent MEF Webinar, where an all-star panel of experts dive into the current state of RCS and provide a comprehensive overview of what exactly it is, and what commercial models and services it will make possible.

Asked what RCS is, many describe it as SMS 2.0. And whilst SMS might be ‘king of the Business Messaging hill’ today, RCS absolutely has the potential to be its worthy successor, king of the ‘Rich Business Messaging (RBM) hill’.

Originally termed ‘Rich Communication Suite’, the concept has been around since 2007 and RCS is all about bringing a rich messaging solution to MNOs which means they retain a good piece of the revenue pie rather than losing most (if not all of it) to OTT players – as is the case for OTT channels.

In the past couple of years, MEF has become the place to discuss the subject and beyond technology, discussion always turns to the area of commercial models in the space. MEF members asked for a group to be created to discuss the whole area of RCS Commercial Models and MEF obliged – a great example of just how MEF is truly member led.

Joining MEF I had the pleasure of taking on moderating this group and members have done a fantastic job of hitting all the issues head on, providing a great deal of clarity and simplicity to what has proven to be a complicated area. It’s something the industry has been asking for in order to really have a chance of making RCS the success it truly deserves to be.

This panel was quite different from most I have run before in that it was really all about educating the audience and not so much about a robust discussion about the issues. Members have done a top job and the hour was really given over to key players from the working group to showcase their great work which for the past year has been all about (you guessed it…) education!

  RCS is the natural and long-awaited successor to SMS. The growth of conversational messaging with OTT messaging channels has demonstrated the value and demand for RCS as a rich business messaging channel from operators. Having alignment on RCS commercial models that match the expected use cases would go a long way in making RCS successful…

Joining me on the panel were:

  • Silvija Renusa, Product Partnerships, Infobip
  • Surinder Anand, CTO & VP Product Management, Dotgo
  • Andy Jones, Director of Sales & Business Development, Mobilesquared
  • Ramy Riad, VP Future Messaging Programme, imimobile (part of Cisco)
  • Catherine Maguire, Product Manager, BT/EE
  • Bernd Heinen, Senior Product Manager Corporate Messaging, Telefonica Germany
  • Thomas Welzel, Proposition Manager Messaging (Group), Deutsche Telekom

Some great presentation material was put together and shown and all of it along with the full recording of the webinar is available to you right here, right now!

I don’t want to unduly spoil your watching and reading pleasure but here are a few words from some of the speakers that will give you a nice flavour of proceedings…

Andy Jones from Mobilesquared started the session by providing some great market insights and here he is framing the opportunity: “From our extensive consumer research we know that rich business messaging delivers higher customer engagement and for the brands this drives revenue growth while improving customer satisfaction, it’s a win-win! Sure, it maybe cost a little more than SMS, but it’s the most cost-effective way to have a meaningful conversation with your customer. There are plenty of use cases where SMS continues to be the most effective way to send information, but if you want your customer to engage then strike up a conversation in rich business messaging.”

The RCS Commercial Models groups was actually the brainchild of Silvija from Infobip and her message was very simple: “Rich features are powering new interactive experiences, opening doors for a variety of innovative applications in messaging. Understanding the complexities of various commercial models is an important step in leveraging the conversational nature of RCS.”

Surinder from Dotgo has worked with RCS for years and really knows its potential and summarises things nicely with this: “RCS is the natural and long-awaited successor to SMS. The growth of conversational messaging with OTT messaging channels has demonstrated the value and demand for RCS as a rich business messaging channel from operators. Having alignment on RCS commercial models that match the expected use cases would go a long way in making RCS successful.”

Given RCS provides great opportunities to mobile operators, it was important to have plenty of operator representation on the panel and a country where RCS really seems to be capturing the imagination is Germany.

Thomas Welzel from Deutsche Telekom had this to say: “Operators have worked for many years on the RBM revenue opportunity. We need to understand that networks are not competitors in RBM but have a complementary offer. It is of paramount importance that we align on commercial models to allow for a clear and affordable RBM pricing strategy to shape this dynamic market.”

Bernd Heinen from Telefonica Germany knows a thing or two about business messaging and puts things very succinctly: “Pre-work is done, >30m Germans are ready for RBM, and with flexible pricing models, harmonized session times and native, secure, multimedia… what are you waiting for? Go for it!”

Going forward, MEF members will be bringing commercial model discussions into the real world at physical events too and I look forward to moderating some of those as well. Join me at MEF CONNECTS Business Messaging June 14th and 15th in Amsterdam and online (full hybrid).

If you have any comments on RCS Commercial Models then feel free to email me directly. And if you are not already a MEF member and want to get directly involved then you can also speak directly with me about MEF membership. Nothing to lose doing so and everything to gain. The many recent joining members can’t all be wrong!

James Williams

Director of Programmes, MEF

  

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