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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RCS Phase 2 - some progress

I'm utterly buried with work & travel this week, so can't dig into this very deeply, but the GSMA has just announced its next iteration of RCS.

A key feature seems to be support for PC clients, which makes a huge amount of sense - and indeed, is just about the only area where there's historically been traction for these kind of enhanced operator services, through the efforts of software vendors like Movial.

That said, at first sight the press release seems to focus on multi-device sharing and interoperability, rather than integration into web-based services. My view is that RCS would probably get most rapid traction if it came as a slick Facebook plug-in, or interoperable with other social networking platforms.

The problem will likely be that most of the mobile operators will try to "own" the address book and hook it into subscription databases, rather than leverage a more open (or at least access-independent) contact list located online.

Should also be interesting to see what happens if I put MNO#1's RCS client onto a PC or other device connected via #2's mobile broadband......

I'll try & get a full briefing from GSMA or one of the partners when I can, although it's not likely to be until next week at the earliest.

Incidentally, the membership list for RCS supporters still seems to be missing a few important potential members, like Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM, HTC, Facebook, Skype , Palm, Vodafone, H3G, Sprint, Cisco and so on.

Although after the treatment of Google Voice by the Apple AppStore guys & the ensuing FCC brouhaha, the RCS folk must be smirking about their chances of getting a client onto iPhones without direct support from Mr Jobs....


Kevin Mitchell said...

Hi Dean,

Good points on the RCS world missing some key members. The mobile trade show world is missing Apple as well. When will they show up at MWC? The RCS plenary is next week and I'll raise some of your comments.

BTW, I just launched SIP MOBILE MATTERS as a news portal that covers the mobile communications evolution, encompassing voice over 4G, RCS, femtocells and FMC.


Chema Recio said...

As with many industry fora, wide representation (although some key members are missed) is a must. But this may be also a liability: The more completely user experience services (i.e. integration with social networks) are defined, the more difficult is to create differentiation between providers.

A key point of RCS is having a common client with several enablers in many handsets, most importantly in low and mid-range models, in the field. Waste this effort by building walls around those clients ... that would be a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Wrt to the comment by Kevin Mitchell: Apple does not need to be present at MWC. In fact it is not so clear why anyone goes to MWC. I guess this parallel's RCS.

Wrt to RCS: Kevin Mitchell's company touts SIP and there is nothing wrong in doing so. It needs RCS to push it own products further. Those companies that think RCS will propel profits in the short term are probably mistaken. Even if the GSMA RCS work were of value it would take many many years for it to establish itself. One has to only look at the slow progress of the initiative (the first press release are dated 2008 and promised launches that year). It is March 2010 no launches yet. Some high profile trials have been delayed. The low profile trials show that something is working at a base level. No-one has yet shown that the solutions are scalable ( several technical headaches ahead). And most of all the biggest issue is that even for those components of RCS that may be seen to be worthwhile - alternatives exist. Given all this uncertainity is hardly surprisingly that operators, even those that are toying/trialing are circumspect about RCS.