What Apple's RCS Support In iOS 18 Will Mean For Business Communications

"RCS certainly is one of the very important channels to communicate"

Samara Lynn
clock • 4 min read
What Apple's RCS Support In iOS 18 Will Mean For Business Communications

As part of the announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference Tuesday, Apple said its next iOS update will support Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging.  

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech behemoth is adding the interactive and rich media-capable RCS to its messaging app – something that Android phones have supported for some time through Google Messages.  

"Messages is central to how we communicate with the most important people in our lives. So, in iOS 18 we're giving you all new ways to express yourself and stay connected," Ronak Shah, director of internet technologies product marketing at Apple, said during the WWDC opening keynote.  

"RCS certainly is one of the very important channels to communicate," Inderpal Singh Mumick, CEO of Dotgo, an RCS business messaging hub, told MES Computing.  

"RCS is positioned as a next generation of SMS," Mumick said. "It is an upgrade to SMS infrastructure where the message can now include rich media, they can include pictures, they can include video, video messages, they can include GIFs. So, it's like a modern messaging system. People can see their friends are typing. People can send the messages over data, so all the messages, all the transactions go over data."  

While RCS may not be an email killer in the corporate world, Apple's support of RCS means more communications will move to messaging, he said.

With RCS support on both Android and iOS the telecom messaging infrastructure is on par with platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat, 

That means a bigger messaging platform for businesses. Mumick provided some business use cases.  

"Businesses, instead of sending 160 characters to people, they can send rich media to the people they choose," he said.  

"They can send videos to people, and if people want to respond instead of having to type messages, they can just click on buttons in the messages ... so [messages] not only include a picture or a video, but you can include buttons in something called 'Suggested Actions,' or 'Suggested Replies.' 

Let us say you want to send somebody a map ... to come to your store. You can include a button saying directions and the user clicks on it, and it opens up Google Maps, and you actually get directions to the store. Or, you want to send somebody to a website, you have a button with a URL embedded behind it, the user never sees the URL, it just says 'shop here.'" 

From sending boarding passes, to appointments, to creating marketing campaigns, Mumick said businesses are apt to get very creative using RCS messaging.  

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Example of an RCS-text campaign. Courtesy: Dotgo
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Example of an RCS-text campaign. Courtesy: Dotgo
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"For example, using RCS, you can set up a chatbot ... let us say you want to set up a sports chatbot for football where the user is able to select a team they want to follow.  They can get a carousel with the 10 major teams in the NFL, and they can pick which team they want to want to follow. It's a methodology for users to communicate with their businesses. It enables conversations to happen between the business and its consumers," he said. 

"RCS can also be monetized by developers. That's something that Dotgo, which is owned by parent company, Gupshup, can help developers with, Mumick said.  

Dotgo serves carriers and developer customers. Both can run their entire RCS business using a software stack, as well as managed services that Dotgo provides."

One service is ensuring that RCS messages are secure or as Mumick put it, "that a message from Walmart is actually coming from Walmart."  

Dotgo provides APIs for developing applications that can send RCS messages. The platform also provides content control to prevent spam and undesirable content from going to users.  

Additionally, "it provides the capability for rating and billing ... and appropriate real-time reports and analytics are provided to the carrier but also for the developers, the customers of the carrier. This is an entire platform targeted towards monetization," he said.  

"In the last quarter of 2023, we handled over a billion RCS business messages on our platform," he added.  

For businesses, "chat application and sending messages ... is more effective and gets better response rates than sending emails," Mumick said.  

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify Dotgo's offerings. 

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