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Mobile messaging gets rich as Google opens up its Early Access Program to RCS business messaging

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Google has upgraded its Rich Communcation Services, making it easier for brands to participate in rich messaging campaigns — rather than  plain old SMS.  27 operators have agreed to pre-load RCS as the native messaging app on Android handsets.

To help deliver RCS globally  Google has partnered with Sweden’s cloud-communications leader CLX Communications and Waterfall in North America.

The partnership is part of Google’s Early Access Program (EAP) announced today and debuting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. The program will allow brands to reach customers in new and dynamic “mobile app-like” ways directly within Android smartphones’ native messaging service, providing features including suggested replies and actions, dynamic rich media, and company branding.

With 27 carriers and device manufacturers committed to launching RCS to Android users with Google, the Early Access Program is the first progression towards making RCS messaging universally available worldwide. CLX and Waterfall are striving to provide enterprises access to the growing global RCS user base, enabling feature-rich communication with consumers that use Android and other handsets that support RCS now and in the future.

Through the EAP, CLX and Waterfall will enable enterprises to build with the technology, influence the roadmap, and be the first to offer customers an upgraded messaging experience. Marketers can use RCS Business Messaging to engage with customers, grow subscribers, and drive transactions without leaving the native messaging app.

The rising popularity of OTT messaging apps confirms the demand for a messaging option more powerful and seamless than currently available natively. The new messaging service serves as an alternative to apps by giving brands similar features directly in the messaging environment without the need to build an app audience.

As the first software cloud enabling RCS for enterprises and brand marketers, Waterfall will create a single point of contact for marketers to broadcast messages to their entire mobile subscriber base. The solution made possible by Waterfall and CLX automatically identifies consumers with RCS-enabled handsets and optimizes the content to deliver the best messages to its respective audiences.

Non-RCS enabled or offline handsets will automatically default to SMS and MMS standards, so message delivery is guaranteed to a brand’s entire audience. As RCS penetration rates grow, more subscribers will access the enhanced experiences created in the self-service Waterfall platform.

Managing Director at CLX Communications, Robert Gerstmann, said “RCS Business Messaging has many of the features and benefits that were promised by MMS but were never delivered due to technical complexity, cost and market fragmentation.”

“Google’s Early Access Program will give CLX the ability to provide our partners, their customers, enterprises and brands the tools to provide richer, more meaningful and immersive communications, strengthening that proposition dramatically.”

“We are delighted to work with Google and our partners at CLX Communications to be the first ASP to bring truly dynamic RCS Business Messaging capabilities to the largest consumer brands in the world,” said Matt Silk, Head of Strategy at Waterfall. “RCS simplifies the way consumers perform everyday essential tasks such as scheduling an appointment, refilling a prescription or finding directions instantly, without having to leave the messaging environment. It’s a new paradigm that will boost a brand’s ability to increase engagement and heighten conversions.”

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