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Rich Communication Suite Initiative Gains More Supporters

Rich Communication Suite (News - Alert) (RCS) Initiative has generated considerable momentum across a number of fronts, said Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) at the Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) 2009, Barcelona.
RCS Initiative provides interoperable, enriched communication capabilities such as in-call multimedia sharing, conversational messaging and presence-enhanced contact management, all accessible through a user's mobile phone contact list.
GSMA (News - Alert) brought RCS into its work program in September 2008 along with the delivery of RCS Release 1 specification, defining the feature set for the first version of the service and ensuring that vendors will be able to develop standard, interoperable implementations.
The feature set includes an Enhanced Address Book, Rich Call, and Rich Messaging.
The Enhanced Address Book provides presence and capability indications. It enables users to initiate communications including voice calls, video calls, file transfers or messaging, and allows users to integrate multimedia elements, such as photos of contacts.
The Rich Call feature enables users to exchange different types of content, such as video or photos, during a call while Rich Messaging is an enhanced version of traditional instant messaging designed to simplify and unify messaging mediums and provide a richer user experience.
“We live in a world where users want to be able to communicate and access and share information any place, any time, over any device,” said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA, in a statement. “RCS supports these requirements, providing users the ability to launch a variety of enhanced communications, all from the personal contact lists in their mobile devices.”
“Importantly, mobile operators are ideally positioned to deliver these new communications services to the mass market and drive mainstream adoption, with a combined user base of 3 billion people,” O’Hara added. “It's a win-win for operators and for business users and consumers.”
The number of operators and vendors supporting RCS has doubled in the past 5 months, growing to 60 participating companies. The latest entrants include OKI Electric Industry, Smart Communications, SoftBank Mobile, T-Mobile and Wind Telecomunicazioni, among others.
RCS Technology Group conducted the latest round of interoperability testing last month, with 14 companies coming together to test RCS services on eight different handsets. The participating companies included Alcatel- Lucent, Comneon, Ecrio, Ericsson (News - Alert), Huawei, LG, Movial, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Orange, Samsung, SFR, SK Telecom and Sony Ericsson.
During the testing period, the companies initiated more than 7,000 RCS sessions, testing core services including Enhanced Address Book, Content Sharing and Enhanced Messaging. The testing was significant because it represented the first joint tests of RCS in an environment with two operators – Orange and SFR – and two infrastructure suppliers – Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia (News - Alert) Siemens Networks.
RCS provides enhanced and integrated services that can be customizable, says Diane Myers, directing analyst for Service Provider VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research. “The ability to utilize the core components of RCS to enhance other applications and services is very compelling, and RCS represents an important milestone for operators to offer and market seamless and differentiated service capabilities.”
Future releases will include providing RCS functionality on other platforms such as PCs, offering a seamless user experience across PCs and mobiles, GSMA said.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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