2020 Trends to Watch

We expect an announcement of support to occur within 18 months, with rollouts during the next major iOS update.

If RCS services are launched via any third-party app, operators will be pressured into supporting RCS services. Google’s launch of RCS bypasses operators and thus will drive the growth of operator RCS support. Juniper Research anticipates that this acceleration will begin in 2020, driven by the potential loss of future business messaging revenues.

Will Apple Support RCS in 2020?

Since a vague claim to have engaged in discussions with the GSMA and operators about including RCS in iOS in January 2019, Apple has been relatively silent about RCS. It is still uncertain whether the company will adopt the standard, particularly as iMessage supports similar—and in some cases unique—features. This development will, however, mean that US operators are in a strong position to put pressure on Apple to incorporate RCS in 2020.

Juniper Research anticipates that Apple will incorporate RCS standards into its existing iMessage clients to enable business message capabilities. Given the current interest in RCS business messaging capabilities, we anticipate that a lack of support will damage the consumer value proposition of an iOS device once RCS reaches its mass market point. We expect an announcement of support to occur within 18 months, with rollouts during the next major iOS update. If this were to happen, the addressable user base for RCS would rapidly grow over a short period of time, further increasing the value of RCS business messaging to brands and advertisers.

Value-added Services Key to RCS Success in 2020

As the market progresses, Juniper Research expects the value of the technology to increase naturally.

Indeed, network operators have mostly failed to capitalize on services that leverage their own networks, such as P2P messaging in losing out to more agile third-party OTT developers. However, the increasing IP-based nature of mobile networks allows operators to efficiently develop and deploy new services on their networks, including RCS, identity services and financial solutions.

When declining ARPUs are considered, operators’ efforts to slow the decline must focus on offering value added services that take usage away from third-party apps for areas such as ecommerce, banking and ticketing. In order to maximize these opportunities, Juniper Research believes that early standardization is critical to success and to foster confidence among consumers or risk the technology being associated with failed promise.

The first advanced capabilities that should be included are the ability to make payments through the RCS client, which can be done by integrating mobile wallet services. Google, one of the key driving forces behind the revival of RCS, offers Google Pay as a mobile wallet.

Additionally, Juniper Research views AI-based chatbots as a key service which will add to the value proposition of RCS services. For end users, Juniper Research believes that consumers will become increasingly accustomed to using chatbot functions as a first point of contact between themselves and brands.

End-to-end Encryption Key for Consumer Trust?

At present, RCS does not have end-to-end encryption in a similar fashion to SMS. However, Google has been plagued with anti-trust issues in recent years but media attention has also been focused on security in messaging technology and that has hit Google heavily, too.

Juniper Research believes that this lack of clarity about encryption of content is likely hindering adoption by a number of industry stakeholders. Therefore, we expect assurances from Google about the security of the message in transit through the network, which will likely increase confidence in the technology and accelerate its adoption.


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