But, frankly, it's not easy to judge why the project is significant, because it's not at all clear what the Rich Communications Suite actually is. Here's what the GSMA says RCS is:
- RCS is a new and innovative service package that fits the lifestyle communication needs of the ‘always-on’ users and is the starting point for their social interaction. Its feature-rich portfolio of services unleashes the communities hidden in the user’s phonebook and will make multimedia social networking simpler.
Well, the RCS project has a new set of specs, the GSMA announced today. The specs are for service features such as a network-based address book, a multi-device environment, and the capability to access services via mobile devices as well as PCs.
The GSMA also launched today an application development contest, the RCS DevChallenge, to find the most "useable and attractive" RCS client that can be embedded on mobile phones or used on PCs. The app competition is sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Networks , Orange France , and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF).
The RCS project has more than 80 operators and vendors involved. But where is this initiative going? How many operators are lining up to deploy RCS services? In South Korea in June, KT Corp. , SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), and LG Telecom launched RCS-based commercial services, which essentially add presence and status details to voice calls and messaging, as well as phonebook-driven buddy lists. Other operators are trialing the RCS services elsewhere.
Even without a plain-and-simple, one-sentence definition of RCS, perhaps somewhere among the trials and all the work on specifications there just might be a budding new service that could qualify as Light Reading's Top Pick for consumer services. Check out the Top Picks page here for the latest nominations for consumer services.
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung