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RCS messaging: opportunities for growth and potential challenges

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RCS (Rich Communication Services) business messaging traffic is currently low – however, it seems to have been unhindered by the pandemic and it is now set to soar over the next five years, writes Elson Santo, analyst at Juniper Research.

Indeed, Juniper Research believes that the total number of RCS users will rise to 1.2 billion by the end of 2020, with significant uptake coming from North America and the Far east & China. This has largely been driven by continuing increased support from both operators and the uptake of RCS-capable smartphones, as users upgrade handsets.

A key advantage for RCS will be the future roll-out of 5G, something on which RCS will be able to piggy-back, contributing to RCS’s overall growth. Indeed, even though the number of 5G connections in 2025 will be lower than that of RCS subscribers, it provides a perfect platform for long-term growth, as there will certainly be subscribers that will be pushed onto RCS-capable connections.

Furthermore, the ability of CPaaS platforms to fall back on to the ubiquity of SMS will provide the perfect platform to encourage brands and enterprises to explore RCS messaging as a new communication channel to end users whilst ensuring message termination.

However, this leaves the issue of handset support. Android has been a key driver of the growth of RCS subscribers over the past 36 months. However, there are other vendors, most notably Apple, who, if failed to support RCS, would have the potential to severely impact the reach of the service.

Security is an additional concern. In facilitating the customer experience by offering multiple ways to make purchases, the ‘omnichannel experience’ becomes an ‘omnichannel security challenge.’

In fact, cybercriminals map their strategy to the payment mechanism on offer and the challenge is not only to have robust authentication methods in place, but also to ensure that all touchpoints are hardened, including account recovery for all channels. This challenge will be compounded as new routes, such as digital assistant-based purchases, enter the channel. For this reason, we believe that the role of the verification authority must lay in the hands of an independent party, in order to keep RBM channels secure.

In order to ensure a steady growth of RCS Messaging, players need to focus on creating seamless authentication processes that generate trust in RCS amongst brands and enterprises. This must be done through swift authentication and the minimisation of verification authority fragmentation. Furthermore, authentication processes must also be relatively low cost and not time consuming. We believe that best practices must follow website verification procedures in which an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is supplied to the brand or enterprise.

Our latest whitepaper, How to Maximise Future RCS messaging Revenue, explores key areas of interest to foster RCS messaging growth as well as potential challenges that will need to be overcome by players.

Download the Whitepaper: How to Maximise Future RCS messaging Revenue

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