The Rise of Rich Communications: What Does it Mean for Enterprises?

Enterprises and consumers alike have come to expect more utility from their mobile messaging. Whether it’s through native messaging software or additional proprietary software, rich communication services (RCS), sometimes simply referred to as “rich communications” or “chat,” is the latest wave in mobile messaging flexibility, and it has extended its reach to many major mobile vendors and their mobile devices. Read on to learn how rich communications works, and more importantly, how RCS can be applied to enterprise collaboration and other use cases.

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Rich Communication Services (RCS) in Enterprise

What is Rich Communication Services?

RCS is an approach to mobile messaging in which rich features are offered through native messaging software, through compatible vendors and mobile devices. Technically speaking, rich communication services happen through session initiation protocol (SIP) and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) support.

Rich communications frequently offers similar rich features to those found in third-party messaging applications like Slack and WhatsApp, but instead, it’s offered directly through the carrier-based service. Users don’t have to download additional applications in order to benefit from what effectively presents as a richer version of SMS.

Features of Rich Communication Messaging

So how is rich communication different from traditional mobile messaging? These features are typically added or enhanced in RCS-enabled devices:

  • Rich text: Rich text moves beyond plaintext in text messaging and includes action-oriented and user-experience-focused text features. Some examples include action buttons and read receipts.
  • Rich imagery and videos: Traditional messaging doesn’t allow all users to share audiovisual content at the same quality level across the board. Rich imagery and videos not only enhance the quality of this imagery, but they can also include things like viewable video thumbnails in the messaging thread.
  • Branding: Particularly when enterprises use RCS, they can include branding logos and imagery, calls-to-action, and even some secure sharing features to improve the customer experience while messaging.
  • Location and map features: Going beyond basic address sharing, rich communications can allow for location tracking and sharing, sometimes with visualizations.
  • Integrations for user actions: Allowing users to stay within a single app, some RCS integrations make it possible to do things like appointment scheduling and payments directly from a message.
  • Collaboration and file sharing: In traditional messaging, users can’t typically share files like PDFs. RCS makes file sharing possible and augments in-message collaboration opportunities.

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What Is RCS Business Messaging (RBM)?

RCS business messaging (RBM) is effectively the business application of RCS functions and features to business use cases. When businesses apply RBM to their workflows, they can make customer interactions more interactive. Companies can also handle things like package tracking and delivery, meeting scheduling, payment notifications, and several other business tasks without a third-party application. 

There are also several branding and feature-rich items in RBM that improve the user experience for customers. Some examples include rich card carousels that help customers visualize products and services, business verifications and notifications, and prefilled response options. As an added bonus for enterprises that use RBM, customer engagement and communication analytics can be found and reviewed when using RCS business messaging.

Enterprise Benefits of RCS

Rich communications has the potential to offer several key benefits to enterprises that transition their mobile communications to the format:

Branded customer conversations

RCS is the only way to message customers with all of the branding capabilities of a third-party application while staying in native messaging. This means fewer apps for your team to manage for customer conversations, but it also means that customers can easily recognize your branding in a message and trust that the message is really from you.

Call-to-action opportunities

The rich features of RCS make it easier for customers to see and respond to calls-to-action (CTA) in a message. Since the message and its action go directly to their main messaging inbox, they’re more likely to see and act on the CTA that you offer.

Collaboration and groups

Rich communications can also improve collaboration with internal teams, especially because of the group settings and customizable notifications that it offers. It’s also a pleasant experience for your employees who likely don’t want to download another communication application on their phones.

Less frustrating UI for customers

Enterprise customers in particular like RCS, even if they don’t know that a company is using it, because they can interact with a brand directly in the inbox that they already use. There’s no need for them to interact with you in an app or through your website’s chatbot.

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Potential Enterprise Risks of RCS

Although rich communication offers several benefits to enterprises, the newness of the technology can lead to risks in implementation and security:

Possible device incompatibility

RCS communication only works when all members of a conversation have RCS-enabled devices. Newer devices typically offer RCS now, but older devices likely cannot benefit from the rich features in rich communications. There are also some providers, like Apple, who are currently not on board with adding RCS to their mobile products.

Security

Companies and users alike share sensitive data through rich communication messages, but not all RCS providers have strong security measures in place to protect that data. Some RCS users have suffered from different forms of hacking, like denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and message interception. Although there are still security problems in the RCS space, most current RCS providers are tackling the problem through chip and SIM card authentication, session validation, PIN codes, and other security methods.

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Shelby Hiter
Shelby Hiter
Shelby Hiter is a writer with more than five years of experience in writing and editing, focusing on healthcare, technology, data, enterprise IT, and technology marketing. She currently writes for four different digital publications in the technology industry: Datamation, Enterprise Networking Planet, CIO Insight, and Webopedia. When she’s not writing, Shelby loves finding group trivia events with friends, cross stitching decorations for her home, reading too many novels, and turning her puppy into a social media influencer.

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