Rich Communication Services RCS  is a communication protocol between mobile telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming at replacing SMS messages with a text-message system that is richer, provides phonebook polling for service discovery , and can transmit in-call multimedia. It is part of broader IP Multimedia Subsystem. The Rich Communication Suite industry initiative  was formed by a group of industry promoters in The scope of the steering committee's work was to entail the definition, testing, and integration of the services in the application suite known as RCS.
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Table of Contents 1 Executive Summary This document is subject to copyright protection. The GSM Association Association makes no representation, warranty or undertaking express or implied with respect to and does not accept any responsibility for, and hereby disclaims liability for the accuracy or completeness or timeliness of the information contained in this document. The information contained in this document may be subject to change without prior notice. Access to and distribution of this document by the Association is made pursuant to the Regulations of the Association.
Antitrust Notice The information contain herein is in full compliance with the GSM Associations antitrust compliance policy. Often such services are limited to a smaller set of devices and usage is not growing. With early interoperability testing the technical feasibility has been verified and the value of the selected suite has been confirmed.
The clearly described profiles of existing standards implementation facilitate a fast delivery of RCS to the market. The stakeholders in RCS are all key players in the telecom market and are committed to introducing the RCS services both from an operator and supplier side. The RCS initiative is working with the objective of launching successful Rich Communication services. Operator members of the group are encouraged to promote local ecosystems in their markets to aide in successful interoperable service launches.
In the vendor community there is work to align technical and interoperability milestones with go-to-market strategies. The RCS initiative also works together to develop concrete value propositions for the Rich Communication services for different stakeholders in the ecosystem.
This also includes developing use case values from the perspective of a consumer. Who should read the White Paper?
Mobile and fixed network operators who want to understand the value of the RCS services without any limitation to the used access technology Telecom suppliers who want to offer rich communication solutions Service providers who want to extend their offer with rich communication capabilities Advertising industry The GSMA White Paper describes a compelling end user experience and service environment to attract new revenue streams through increased usage of communication services.
With RCS a balanced bundle of integrated communication services comes to the market. Through early interoperability work, the market introduction will be accelerated.
The initial focus was on enriched mobile communication services, now RCS is extending the same services to the fixed environment. In addition new communication features and services will be added to the Rich Communication Suite.
This will include using the existing GSMA work groups to prepare the required commercial and technical inter-working agreements.
The GSMA Rich Communication Suite RCS program is an effort of a group of industry players for the rapid adoption of applications and services providing an interoperable, convergent, rich communication experience both in mobile and fixed environments.
The RCS program includes network operators, network, device and client software vendors. The RCS program uses an iterative, agile methodology to deliver a consistent feature set, implementation guidelines, example use cases as well as demonstrations around interoperable reference implementations based on profiling of existing standards and specifications. The deliverables of the GSMA RCS program are intended to be provided as input to industry associations for consideration as reference specifications.
Why this suite of rich communication services? Today, consumers are experiencing the power and the promise of enriched communication. Services and applications that have introduced buddy lists showing dynamically changing status and on-line capabilities, different messaging options and possibilities of adding contents are just a few examples of this richer communication experience.
Consumers may take for granted that these capabilities are available not only on a PC but also on a mobile device and that there is open communication between devices and networks. Service discovery is a keystone to boost the usage of richer communication services. Additionally, the user experience is improved by visualizing through the Rich Communication Suite only those communication services with an end-to-end guaranty of use.
With the Rich Communication Suite the operators can fulfill their customer expectations and continue to introduce ever evolving services based on what the consumer demands.
To ensure service availability in , the RCS program continuously drives interoperability testing to form grounds for faster deployment of trusted rich communication services. These tests include interoperability testing between various devices, such as mobile handsets and PC clients and interoperability in a multi-operator environment as well as sharing the RCS specifications with relevant industry forums.
RCS was established in May as an initiative and was supported by key industry players. Now the program includes many operators, network infrastructure vendors and client vendors from global markets and was integrated in the GSMA in the summer of 1.
The participating company list can be found on the RCS portal 2. To speed up the introduction of commercial IMS services, the participants in the GSMA RCS program have: Defined a core feature set, leveraging existing standards, and implementation guideline specifications for an interoperable IMS-based communications suite.
The IMS is an important architecture for bringing these capabilities to the consumer in an interoperable way. Developed reference implementations of the Rich Communication Suite for commercial devices, and validated the underlying requirements and technical specifications for service interoperability. Conducted interoperability testing in multi-vendor environments to ensure and verify the maturity of the RCS feature set.
Agreed to support the deployment of RCS. The GSMA RCS program does not specify user interface or device implementation but rather focuses on user experience, interconnection and interoperability requirements tied to a core feature set of rich communication capabilities. Since RCS is seen as the evolution of peer to peer communications towards a mass market service, customers must be provided with a good user experience.
This is a key aspect in order for a service to become adopted by the mass market. Some of the key issues that are addressed in RCS in order to provide a good user experience are service discovery, continuation of using traditional contacts in the phonebook and seamless handset configuration. It is not the intention of the RCS program to create new standards but rather to specify a core feature set that can be implemented using existing standards and guidelines already defined by other forums e.
Should the experiences of the interoperability tests identify the need for further standardization or corrections to the existing standards, then these facts will be documented and communicated to the associated standards organizations. The initial focus for the programs efforts was a phase1 of work that is completed with demonstrations in , producing a set of interoperable rich.
Major milestones have been achieved. Network interworking was also a part of the demonstrations at Communicasia and further demonstrations will be done as part of the Mobile Asia Congress.
The Enriched Call experience initially 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. The Enhanced Phonebook allows guaranteed communication through capability enhanced contacts. In addition, the Enhanced Phonebook means that communication can be initiated from the phonebook by selecting a communication type e.
The 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.
Users gain value from the simplified communications experience and from the availability of the richest possible services for continuing communications dialog within and without a call in progress. RCS provides implementation guidelines for IP based communication solutions including voice, instant- and multimedia messaging, video and presence. Capability enhanced phonebook; media sharing, group messaging and secure authentication are seen as important aspects too.
Interoperable services between mobile devices and PC terminals, across the different access networks, also provide a selected set of supplementary services and are backwards compatible with legacy services such as SMS and voice. Interoperability challenges The continuous focus of the RCS program is to overcome some of the existing obstacles to reach these future services. However, these standards are covering a very broad range of services and with great latitude in what functions need to be included in each; which will lead to different combinations of services and functionality.
By allowing for a common, well-defined set of features, based on profiling of the available standards, which is agreed upon by device manufacturers, client software vendors, infrastructure vendors and operators, a common denominator of interoperability can be achieved with a common feature set, providing an engaging solution for end-users and thus driving service up-take.
Additionally, the feature set allows for seamless interworking with existing services but also provides a bridge to allow users to upgrade to richer services and forms of communication.
RCS services RCS services are built using a set of standardized features that use the IMS architecture to enable service integration that provides a smooth user experience and interoperability between service providers. RCS services can be used both in mobile and fixed network environments, and are interoperable between these two network environments.
RCS gives the possibility to create trusted connection between users and network environments. The discovery of the rich communication capability is the key enabler to increase the usage of these new services. Publication of the end-users current communication capabilities guarantees that service completion can be realized for these new communication services.
In the actual feature set, presence information is used to communicate not only the communication capabilities, but also personalized contact features including a photo, availability and status text. Presence can be conveniently shown in several ways: in the phonebook and in places where services are launched. User feedback on presence services has been very positive.
In addition to presence services, RCS includes a set of common industry standard communication services that, taken together, form a comprehensive and innovative user experience. RCS also includes several other services such as the feature to centrally backup and restore the contacts in the local phonebook to a safe network repository; minimizing the impact of lost, broken or stolen devices.
There is also the feature to access network-based directories and search and retrieve contacts to the local phonebook on the device. After a user has established a trusted communication connection with another user, the presence service enables them to see what services communication capabilities each other has available.
The detailed service attributes for Video Share and Image Share like codecs are included as part of the voice call set up. The service profiles enable integration of services that give users a smooth and seamless service experience.
In addition, as new services are added or when users upgrade their devices, the new service capabilities can be published to contacts via the presence service.
The RCS Enhanced Phonebook contains a number of useful attributes to assist and stimulate communication. Contact information is no longer restricted to just the ones stored on the device. The user can also search and retrieve contacts from the mobile network directory , or other fixed network directories e. In addition, the RCS Enhanced Phonebook can provide a quick summary of communication with each of your contacts.
The detailed view of an individual contact in the phonebook will reveal the complete profile of that contact, including their presence and most recent communications capabilities. The communications capabilities information provides an important clue to how that contact can be reached.
Communication with any contact is as easy as identifying them in the RCS Enhanced Phonebook and then selecting the available communication type which fits best.
The promise of IMS is to give standardized features and enablers as well as handset platforms for innovating new services and applications. To maximize innovation it is important that the device platform is open for 3rd party client development. JSR runtime. The openness gives a shorter development time which has previously been one of the drawbacks with telecom standardization. Another important reason for open client development is the iterative nature of the RCS program.
This means that not all handsets need support all the common feature set. It also means that new RCS Clients can be developed and launched independently of each other. Since the RCS Clients are launched independently and without co-ordination, interoperability testing is up to the developer of a particular RCS Client.
The future availability of Client Software Development Kits with key RCS enabler building blocks helps support such open client development models and further accelerate the development and customization of finished RCS clients.
They help the industry to shift from single-purpose vertical applications e. Video Share, IM to an integrated, multi-functional RCS Client Framework that is device platform, application environment, network, and service infrastructure independent.
Rich Communication Services
GSMA Rich Communication Suite White Paper v1.0