Japan’s RCS +Message, surpassing SMS as next-generation messenger

Japan’s RCS +Message, surpassing SMS

Japan’s RCS (Real Communication Solution), more commonly referred to in Japan as +Message, is quickly gaining traction as the successor to SMS, especially in, but not limited to, business-to-person messaging.

Unlike SMS, RCS allows people and businesses to send a much wider variety of messages, including photos, videos, stickers, and group chats. It can also be used to read receipts, which is a continually useful function in an increasingly cashless Japan. Like SMS, all this is done using the customer’s phone number.

Boasting greater interactivity, better UI, and a private and secure connection, it can be used by all major Japanese mobile operators such as NTT DOCOMO Inc, KDDI Corp, and SoftBank Corp. This means customers will no longer need to download specific apps to interact with brands, enabling services such as flight booking, making reservations, buying clothes, sharing locations with brands or merchants for delivery, to be accessible from one source. This makes it an opportunity to revamp and reshape – the aging but indispensable – SMS, which mobile providers have come to rely on.

Businesses can use Japan’s RCS to gather both consumer analytics and interact with their customers more conveniently, as the service supports Chatbots and artificial intelligence. This makes the RCS based +Message the ideal mediator for business-to-person communication, and a centralized place for all messaging needs.

“The success of +Message is being closely followed by operators and brands around the world as an example of a new era of trusted messaging services,” said Head of Future Networks at the GSMA, Henry Calvert, “Japan’s RCS-enabled service demonstrates how digital commerce is evolving to become even more convenient and compelling for both individuals and merchants.”

Japanese operators launched +Message using GSMA’s RCS standards in May of 2018. By the end of 2020, it is expected to reach 17.5 million users throughout japan, and is projected to rise to 40 million by 2021.