The team from the Rich Communications Summit, which takes place in Berlin on November 3-4, spoke to BICS Strategy and Business Development Manager Luc Vidal-Madjar prior to the event.
RCS: Could you please tell us about your recent projects where BICS helped operators launch rich communication services?
LVM: For a market leader in a European country for both mobile and fixed communication services, we have built a network solution to enable them to implement fix-mobile convergence differentiation strategy through rich communication: one single app for rich messaging, rich voice and video, legacy messaging and voice for both your fixed and mobile number. Wherever you are, you can make and receive calls with your smartphone using your home number.
I believe this is a great idea: mobile operators definitely need to do more than “me too” vs OTTs and build differentiation. Fix-mobile convergence is one example but there should be a lot more.
What are the key issues which are preventing more operators to launch RCS, and how could these be solved?
As a network solution vendor, let me focus on the network challenges. But no doubt there are many as well on the marketing side.
Basically, the foundation for mobile operators to launch rich communication services is the integration with legacy SMS and voice services, for both incoming and outgoing messages and calls. And this needs to work on all devices (Android smartphones, iPhones, sim-less tablets and laptops, etc….). The integration with legacy services for mobile operators to have any chance to differentiate vs OTT app.
Now, to achieve this, you need an IMS integrated with legacy voice and SMS systems. And there is the issue: IMS is in the short term roadmap for the 100 or so mobile operators with projects to launch VoLTE BUT for the 700 or so others, it is either for the long term or nowhere at all at least for the moment.
Mobile operators without plans for IMS need a short term solution and Hosted RCS solutions are what they need.
Which communication apps and services do you use personally?
As an active user, I am still very much have a “Green button” habit. I don’t like to think about what to use to contact someone. I am the perfect target for RCS value proposition: it would extend this “Green button” promise to new rich communication services.
Now, of course, I have many friends, colleagues, etc…. who contact me as well on the main OTT Apps as WhatsApp, Viber or Skype. The strengths of their community are unbeatable and I don’t believe mobile operators should think about doing better. The focus of mobile industry should be on leveraging their strengths, not about catching up such a gap.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Rich Communication Summit in Berlin?
I would be happy to hear about success stories and valuable learnings from RCS launches and trials. The industry still needs to learn how to make the first steps on this domain and knowledge sharing would be key for the technology success. Looking forward for this!