Thursday, September 13, 2012

RCS/joyn? It's the network API, stupid

The tittle? Just a little provocation :-) inspired in the in James Carville sentence used during the  Clinton's 2012 presidential campaign: "it's the economy, stupid". The sentence was used to emphasize where the focus were.
Currently telcos are facing the challenge of the fast commoditization of the old cash-cows: voice and SMS and a myriad of OTT communication alternative using the open internet.
Analysts debate about the convenience of creating new standardized and interoperable  communication enablers as RCS/RCS-e/joyn or just creating telco own OTT alternatives.
We may assume that whatever options RCS or telco owned OTT (also known as #TelcoOTT but RCS also can be offered as #TelcoOTT) will not be easy to monetize as person to person communication. Great messaging and VoIP free alternatives or very cheap as Whatsapp, Viber, etc will force the telcos to look for innovative ways to make new revenues to compensate voice and sms revenue decline.
On the other hand we see new telcos as Voxeo and Twilio are making money from those legacy enablers, voice and SMS but not for the person to person communication but using those global reach communication to power enterprise and long tail solutions and applications. It is done by exposing these communication enablers in the language the developers know: API (REST, SOAP).
No need to know about telco protocols, whoever can try to develope solution using comms. Wow.
With this perspective in mind, it is obvious that RCS/joyn in the future with a simple user experience just around the phonebook (as SMS in the past) and affordable price or just bundled with the data plan could target the "global reach". How to monetize this global reach? Yes, the API, the network API. If enterprises and developers can use this enabler for application to person, person to application and machine-to-machine use cases (A2P, P2A, M2M), the value will be there, and the added value will be shared between the parties.
When exposing telco APIs, telcos are giving a white canvas and an affordable set of colour pencils to the 3rd parties. Most of them will paint interesting things with value for them or their own customers, and a few ones will produce artwork masterpieces, both together will generate a lot of value that will be shared.
Remember, all this begins with the white canvas and a few colour pencils.
If the white "voice and SMS" canvas generated a lot of value created by 3rd parties with the API, we may expect the same or more with a new enablers with chat, file transfer, video, voice, and it is RCS.
Then it will be easier to monetize standardized new enablers than individual communication silos.

The API is key for RCS and we are proudly working on that to allow all the telcos to launch RCS service not only as personal communications but as a platform. Let's go!