Rich Communication Services

  Jul 9, 2014 12:26:37 AM

Today in this digital world, almost everyone wants to be connected from anywhere and anytime. This is leading to high data usage day-by-day. People are looking for unified communication services beyond voice and SMS/MMS. Over-The-Top players like Skype, Whatsapp have maximized their business by provided IP based chat and call services. Even though the market needs are addressed by the OTT players, OTT couldn’t guarantee QoS, security and interoperability.

On the other hand operators started losing revenue to OTT players. For example, an OTT provider named KakaoTalk has been extremely successful with its messaging services, supporting 37 million users in Korea and 46 million globally. Therefore, Korean service providers are “experiencing difficulties, including decreased SMS revenues and increased network investment cost to accommodate surging traffic,” per South Korean service provider. This has led to the “Service Provider vs OTT wars”.

To handle these conflicts of interest, GSMA including Operators, OEMs and ISV formed a body to govern specifications to provide Rich Communication Services (RCS). RCS is a multimedia communication suite in socially aware network. RCS services are access independent whether used over 2G/3G/4G or Wi-Fi/Cable/Converged Wireline access.

RCS offers contextually aware multimedia communication. Some of the features are listed below

  • Enriched Call – provides the capability to share multimedia content during a call. The forms of multimedia sharing available at a given time between the communicating parties are shown to the call participants.
  • Enhanced Phonebook - allows communication through capability enhanced contacts  (capability of a contact refers to the features supported by the contact such as video/image share, VOIP etc). In addition, communication can be initiated from the phonebook by selecting a communication type (e.g., calling or messaging).
  • Enhanced Messaging  - allows the possibility to view and trigger all communication (including calls, SMS, MMS, instant messaging) in a conversational view, where the user can see the communications history. The conversational view is similar to chat history in instant messaging services.

RCS will enable the Network Operators to provide these services with better Quality of Service and address concerns like Privacy, Seamless handover, Support with interoperability and Roaming. This will enable the operator to provide new value added services and generate additional revenue in areas like mobile advertisement, Location based service, content sharing and mHealth and so on.

While GSMA is fine tuning & standardizing RCS, in parallel WebRTC is gaining its momentum slowly. Some are talking about HTML5 multimedia applications. WebRTC lacks standardized signaling layer, onus lies with the providers to handle, whereas GSMA has well defined set of protocols for RCS signaling and media. The GSMA has established a market-leading, interoperable RCS platform. This platform is supported by a strong ecosystem comprising of operators and device manufacturers, this platform is gaining momentum with 32 country (like Spain, Sweden,US,UK)  launches to date and a total of 87 operators (like Orange, DT, MetroPCS, Vodafone) committed to launch by end of 2015.

Keeping in view the needs of various operators, OEMs and users, Sasken has developed end-to-end RCS solution supporting audio call, video call, presence, file transfers, char and other features complying to latest RCS specifications. Sasken supports various operators & OEMs in customizing, integrating & porting their RCS stacks on their platforms and to get GSMA accreditation for their RCS clients after supporting them in interoperability testing and operator conformance testing.


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