What Is RCS Messaging?

Universal Rich Communications Services are taking off

RCS messaging is coming to your phone. Here's what you need to know.
Here's what you need to know about RCS messaging.

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Do you enjoy SMS messaging, texting your friends and family throughout the day? Then you're going to want to know about RCS messaging, the new form of messaging coming to your smartphone. Here's what RCS messaging is, how it works, and why it's going to be useful.

What Is RCS Messaging?

RCS stands for Rich Communications Services, which enhances the messaging experience on our phones in several key ways; it will look and feel much like the fun, popular messaging apps of today, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. RCS messaging was proposed as far back as a decade ago, but it only picked up steam in 2018 when Google began to promote its version of RCS Chat, as a standard protocol for all carriers to use.

Are you ready for RCS messaging?
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RCS messaging is expected to eventually take the place of SMS text messaging. Carriers are beginning to roll out RCS messaging, along with VoLTE and HD Calling, since all of these technologies take advantage of the existing 4G LTE (and future 5G) cellular infrastructure. Once all carriers support RCS messaging, you'll be able to utilize RCS messages with anyone.

How Does RCS Messaging Work?

Using RCS messaging, you'll be able to start group chats, exchange audio and video messages, send full-resolution photos, and even see read receipts or get a heads up when someone is replying to you in real time. RCS service also includes presence information, which means you can see when the other person is also active and available to chat. You also won't have to contend with a 160-character limit, giving you more flexibility to send longer messages if you wish.

Many of these features are already available on chat apps or Apple's iMessage platform. With RCS messaging, they'll become standard for all smartphone users, meaning Android and iPhone users will be able to use these features even when communicating with someone using a different type of smartphone. RCS service won't rely on a cellular connection, either, only your data connection, thereby enabling people to use it on any device they want.

RCS messaging supports company branding within messages, as well as sender verification, making it easy to verify who is contacting you, and have confidence knowing the message is legitimate. Businesses anticipate using RCS service to send real-time status updates to their customers for flights, trains, and other services, complete with rich media enhancements like boarding passes, QR codes, videos, and loyalty cards.

These RCS messages can even include convenient buttons for instantly dialing the customer service line, changing your seat assignment, or providing instant feedback on your customer experience.

What Are RCS Messaging's Benefits?

RCS messaging offers many benefits compared to its predecessor, SMS messaging. RCS provides the flexibility to write longer messages, in addition to sending and receiving them anywhere with data access. You can add a video or audio message, a full-resolution photo, or a fun sticker for a lighthearted touch.

RCS service also lets you know whether or not someone is available to chat via presence information, providing a read receipt when they've seen your message.

RCS messaging is going to replace text messaging. Here's what you need to know.
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On top of that, RCS messaging is going to make life easier when you communicate with businesses. As stated previously, RCS service will help companies send you timely status updates on your flight, let you instantly call customer service with the tap of a button, and even allow you to change your seat assignment for a flight or train from directly within a message. This will save travelers a lot of time they currently spend painstakingly logging into their smartphone's web browsers and manually searching for company phone numbers.

There is one potential issue, though, for security-minded folks. RCS service doesn't support end-to-end encryption, meaning messages exchanged through this new protocol are less secure than those sent and received via competitors like iMessage and Signal. As a result, they could be intercepted and read by an unauthorized third-party. If security is a concern to you, it may be worth investigating other options for privately communicating with the people in your life.

When RCS messaging arrives, our texting experience is going to become a lot more convenient. It may just even change the way you communicate with your friends, family, and colleagues.