- The Sacramento Kings professional basketball team this week partnered with Zipwhip, a cloud software platform for two-way business texting, to offer fans a rich communications channel (RCS) messaging service on its toll-free business phone number, per a statement. Kings fans can reach the team by texting to its toll-free phone line at 833-91KINGS.
- The Kings will use RCS for day-to-day messaging with fans about ticketing, game schedules and other general information. The team will be one of the first organizations to send RCS messages on an existing business phone number, per Zipwhip.
- Zipwhip is showcasing the technology as a participant in Google's Early Access Program for RCS business messaging, and its service will initially be available for Android users on the Sprint network. Zipwhip is demonstrating RCS-enabled communications at the Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles Sept. 12-14.
The Sacrament Kings' rollout of an RCS messaging platform is another demonstration of how businesses are providing customer support through the latest technology that marks a significant upgrade from SMS and MMS. RCS can provide mobile users advanced features that Apple's iMessage app has had for years. RCS users can share their location, view typing indicators, receive read receipts, make payments and reply to in-line suggested buttons within their native texting app, per Zipwhip.
The development of RCS is a way for wireless carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint to provide marketers with messaging features similar to those already available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Apple Business Chat. The popularity of those apps has led to declining revenue among carriers that charge fees for sending texts across their networks. RCS likely will transform how cellular providers compete with those popular apps, while giving businesses another communication platform to engage with their customers.
The GSM Association forecast that 86% percent of smartphones will be RCS-enabled by 2020. European carriers have been responsible for much of the technology's growth and adoption, but its global potential is significant with 430 million monthly users expected to use RCS this year — a figure that's expected to surge to 2.76 billion in 2019. RCS is gaining acceptance among businesses, such as Virgin Trains, a U.K. transportation company that last week partnered with carrier Vodafone and mobile messaging firm OpenMarket to introduce RCS as a communication channel and to improve customer service, per Mobile Marketing Magazine.