Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reflections on the RCS seminar in MWC 2010

GSMA organized again a very interesting seminar on RCS as part of the Mobile World Congress GSMA activities. Almost 4 hours packed with experience from trials and vendors and operators heavyweights. It is difficult to say that there is no commitment after listening to the attendants.

I will summarize the most important points on our view, just a schematic, not the full session proceedings.

Telefónica: Stressed the dynamic nature of the future enhanced phonebook, one of the RCS strong points. Advantages of RCS services vs over-the-top: Native and embedded client + Universality + Telco service model.

Japan operators: Very intesting explanation of the timeline. PoC + Presence + IM launched in 2008, limited success due to poor interoperability. Step back and work on agreement under standard organisation umbrella. Now launching IMS based services and integrated with RCS group.

Trial operators: Ongoing and well.

AT&T: Sharing very interesting lessons learnt from SMS slow start and MMS blazing success in the US market: Interoperability between operators is key, it was lacking initially with SMS (and harmed it a lot), carefully worked for MMS (contributed to quick and massive success). GRX is not good enough, RCS interconnectivity should be IPX.

Very important insight from an Asia operator: when RCS service was launched, it didn't canibalize SMS traffic, on the contrary, SMS actually increased !!!. RCS stimulates communication, any kind of communication.

Reportedly, some nostrils perceived the uncertain aroma of doubt in the last part of the seminar, I think it is just another take in the continuous game between vendors (we won't ship until operators commit) and operators (we can't commit unless more units and models are available). Hopefully with RCS a common interest will leave behind this conundrum, as old as the mobile industry (remember the "God send mobiles" joke?).

And finally we want to remark that Solaiemes point of view remains intact. High tier devices apps could be the Ferraris, but the real success is the Ford-T, providing a nice experience everybody can afford in terms of cost & usability. Steve Jobs could be a nice "ferrari" type innovator, but the huge mass market impact should come from carriers (the communication Henry Ford's) if they do not throw the towel :-)

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