RCS is a GSM standard, but its biggest champion has always been Google, which looks at the service to allow its Android platform to get at least some feature parity with Apple's iMessage service. Google is also now working with Telcel to bring the service to companies in Mexico such as DHL Mexico.
Attendees of this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain will be able to catch a demonstration of Google's RCS platform. They say RCS will enable companies to send messages that will let customers make purchases, schedule appointments, find directions, and more directly from within the messaging app. That platform is aimed at helping Google's telecommunications partners begin providing RCS messaging capabilities to their customers.
Among the partners is messaging service Twilio, which today announced it has added support for RCS to its service. Google's Head of RCS, Amir Sarhangi has outlined what to expect in the future for RCS.
To make it easier for brands to participate in RCS business messaging, we're creating an Early Access Program which will allow businesses to learn and build with the technology, influence the roadmap and standards, and be first to offer their customers an upgraded messaging experience.
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A small number of companies in food, travel, retail, and delivery services in the USA and Mexico are using RCS to upgrade traditional SMS messages with branding, rich media, interactivity, and analytics. If they've already opted in to receive SMS from you, they are automatically upgraded to RCS if they use Android Messages. Google is working with 43 carriers and device manufacturers to enhance native messaging for all Android users.
For example, the marketing platform Mobitivity has been working with Subway to enable the sandwich maker to send customers messages that let them locate stores, browse the menu, and order food without leaving the messaging app. Mobitivity plans to demonstrate its application at the Mobile World Congress next week. Google plans to change that by introducing multimedia-rich messages with its RCS platform.
In 2016, Sprint became the first United States carrier to launch RCS-based SMS with Google to provide an iMessage rival on Android. Businesses can also have a branded messaging experience with information about the business and the ability to share content like images, video clips and gifs.