Mobile World Congress Americas Wrap Up

By: Chris Michaud The Messenger – September 21, 2018

With another successful Mobile World Congress Americas in the books, it’s time to take a quick look back at some of the highlights from last week in Los Angeles. We’ll break the week down into three main segments: the RCS Business Messaging Awareness Lab, the RCS Business Messaging Seminar, and RCS demos in Innovation City.

RCS Business Messaging Awareness Lab

The 14th installment of the GSMA’s RCS Business Messaging Lab series, hosted by 3C in downtown Los Angeles, was one of the most highly-attended labs on record. With over 165 attendees, we heard from MaaP providers, messaging aggregators, brands, and even mobile network operators on the state of RCS and learnings from early pilot programs.

Kate Jung, Director of Mobile, Loyalty, and Partnership from Express, and Erin Neus-Cheong, Director of Product Management for Walgreens Digital, provided valuable insights on why RCS is a huge opportunity for brands and what they’ve learned from being first to market in RCS deployment.

RCS Business Messaging Seminar

The RCS Business Messaging Seminar was preceded by an early-morning press release from Samsung and Google announcing a partnership between the two companies to enable cross-platform RCS interoperability. Android Messages and Samsung Messages will now work seamlessly to provide a consistent RCS experience for end users. This news is tremendous for the future of RCS, but also expands reach for brands and developers in the short term. In addition, Samsung also announced it would be working to bring RCS capabilities to existing mobile phones beginning with the Galaxy S8 and S8+.

The RCS Business Messaging Seminar featured more insight from brands such as Overstock, Subway, Walgreens, and Express, highlighted by the mention of recent survey data from RCS users they prefer RCS to the traditional SMS engagement.

The audience received RCS progress updates from both Samsung and Google. Google shared an interesting insight that early RCS pilots on their platform have had a 22% tap rate (users tapping a suggested reply or action), showing users are highly engaged with RCS chatbots.

RCS Demos at Innovation City

The GSMA Future Networks booth in Innovation City was highly attended. Over 20 platform partners presented their RCS demos throughout the week—with many of the partners new to the stand since MWC Barcelona in February. Conference attendees were able to see RCS demos from brands such as SeatGeek, Express, Citibank, Avon, and more, that are all currently live and in-market—a tremendous milestone for our industry.

Brands are excited about the progress that’s been made with RCS, especially when it comes to providing a more engaging experience for their customers. “At SeatGeek, our goal is to use the latest technologies to engage fans and connect them to the live events they love. We are proud to work with 3Cinteractive and Google on their pioneering work on RCS and look forward to a lasting partnership,” said Lee Moulton, Director of Partnerships at SeatGeek.

Overall, Mobile World Congress Americas 2018 was a tremendous success for the advancement of RCS. The interest and excitement from stakeholders across the industry was palpable, building on the game-changing momentum behind RCS. We’ll see you in Barcelona this winter!

Chris Michaud

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