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Google acquires Jibe and its impact on RCS

Posted on: October 19th, 2015 by Mobile Communications

The announcement that Google is Committing to RCS support in Android and acquiring Jibe Mobile in the process has sparked a huge industry debate, both online and in industry working groups. The Rich Communications Services (RCS) standard has been considered as something to be avoided in the last 18 months by many in the telco world despite the fact that quietly……… in telco labs, hundreds of engineering teams, vendors and device manufacturers are moving towards the all IP mobile network of the future. This is a network where VoLTE, Voice over WiFi, SMS over IP, IP Messaging and WebRTC all co-exist because of the IMS & RCS standards. Exactly what was envisioned from the standard’s very inception!

RCS is, and always has been, a set of detailed technical standards which can be used to launch innovative new service offerings by operators. The first example given by technical working groups in 2010 was as an IP-based messaging platform to replace SMS. This use case was created as the technical members of the various working groups could foresee the rise of what we now call OTT competition.

In the process of advocating for this solution, RCS became relegated as a messaging solution, which wasn’t nearly as feature complete as what the OTTs were rolling out. In fact, RCS is part of a broad standards initiative which includes technologies such as Voice over LTE, Voice over WiFi, SMS over IP, Video over LTE, WebRTC, Operator APIs and IP messaging. Furthermore it is extensible and can include many of the monetization features of OTT’s such as sticker stores.

‘RCS’ is not a product it’s a set of technical standards that are building blocks for future services, and as such ‘RCS’ is far from just messaging.

The shock that Google, which recently launched its innovative Google Fi Service, would throw its lot in with the RCS crowd, seems to have been too much for some traditional naysers who have now become illogical in their commentary. It is more important than ever that the RCS ecosystem (operators, vendors, pundits) base their thinking on facts.

First and Foremost let’s remember that “Don’t be evil” was the formal corporate motto of Google, more recently replaced by “Do the right thing.” Google has a long tradition of working with Telco’s, and not against them. With Google Fi they are demonstrating that they want to be a model for innovative services from which the Telco world can learn. By including RCS in Android, (this is what Google is doing) – indicates that they are working with their Telco partners, not against them. Their words support this as well… just read their press release: “We’re excited to team up with mobile operators, device makers and the rest of the Android ecosystem to support RCS standards and help accelerate their deployment in a more consistent way”.

Brent Newsome- Vice President Business Development