SA mobile users missing out on RCS benefits

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) SOUTH Africa’s mobile industry has been urged to educate users in order to boost the uptake of Rich Communication Services (RCS).

RCS is hailed as the a next generation mobile messaging technology radically increasing the engagement rates of commercial messages transmitted to cellular users.

The call by an expert follows the realisation that the majority of South Africa’s 22 million smartphone users do not appear to have RCS enabled on their handsets.

“The mobile marketing industry in South Africa needs to prioritise the communication of the RCS nuts and bolts in 2020,” said Devon Meerholz, Chief Creative & Operations Officer of IMImobile SA.

He added, “When it comes to this phenomenal emerging technology, we need more ‘how to’ information in SA to ensure uptake is where it should be.”

Google and the world’s leading mobile network operators are rolling out RCS.

Industry pundits have described it as the next evolution of Short Message Service (SMS) and the protocol intended to succeed the most-adopted form of written communication in history.

“The customer’s love affair with short digital text started with SMS and now continues with RCS,” Meerholz said.

“This freshened-up descendant of SMS now enables bulk text-based mobile communication to feature the latest emoticons, stickers and animations of the day.”

Experts believe RCS means African brands can now verify themselves while making use of interactive features during commercial messaging campaigns like suggested reply buttons and end-to-end payments.

However, this depends on mobile users on supported networks switching on their ability to receive RCS messages.

Informal surveys suggest that even those local cellular users with the ability to receive RCS messaging have not accessed their Settings to switch on RCS.

According to the Global System for Mobile (GSM) Association (GSMA) some 70 operators worldwide have launched RCS.

An additional 59 operators should launch RCS over the next year.

In South Africa, leading international brands with a local presence have already implemented RCS-based marketing campaigns.

IMImobile, which joined Google’s Early Access Programme for RCS Business Messaging in 2017, is working through its Johannesburg-based African operation, IMImobile SA, to offer RCS business messaging to Africa.

To enable RCS messaging in Google Messages on Android phones, run Google Messages as main text messaging app. If unavailable, download Google Messages app on Google Play Store.

Set this as the default messaging app. Double-check by going to the Settings app, then hitting Apps and notifications > Advanced > Default apps > SMS app. Then select the Messages app as our default messaging app.

Next, open the Messages app, and open the settings by tapping the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner and selecting Settings.

Then, tap Chat features and tap Enable chat features to turn RCS messaging on. Once enabled, you would then start to play with the different RCS options.

Tutorial may vary across handset models and Android Operating Systems.

– CAJ News

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