Nov 12, 2020

CM.com the latest in global RCS rollout

RCS
Social Media
Joanna England
4 min
The Dutch conversational commerce provider is launching the new service in collaboration with Vodafone Netherlands
The Dutch conversational commerce provider is launching the new service in collaboration with Vodafone Netherlands...

CM.com, the Dutch global provider of cloud-based conversational commerce, is launching RCS (Rich Communication Services) in partnership with Vodafone Netherlands.

The service, which will go network-wide following a successful rollout in Germany, enables enterprises to communicate with customers via text in a more secure and feature-rich way. 

CM.com aims to replace SMS (Short Message Service) with the new text system that offers phonebook polling, images, animated stickers, videos, buttons and is part of a broader IP multimedia subsystem.

Advocates of RCS say the service provides better security than SMS. Unlike some communication channels, businesses using RCS must have a ‘Verified Profile’ that they are only granted following stringent security checks by the RCS provider. This eliminates the issue of scam texts – a considerable problem for traditional SMS messaging.

According to CM.com, RCS provides a new world-wide messaging standard for the business market that is supported by all telecom operators. There are currently 1.2bn mobile handsets that support RCS in global circulation. That figure is predicted to increase to 3.9bn by 2025. 

Like traditional SMS, users don’t need to install a dedicated app to use the service. If a mobile phone is incompatible with RCS messages, the network will send a normal SMS with the same functionality, but without enrichments features.

Jeroen van Glabbeek, CEO of CM.com, explains; “The Netherlands is the logical next step for CM.com to roll out RCS. We focus on the global Conversational Commerce market in which mobile first and personal communication are central. RCS enables any company to incorporate Conversational Commerce into their business processes.”

He continues; “It offers them the opportunity to create a complete customer journey using mobile, including all touch points. In addition, RCS responds to the need for real-time and personal contact. From now on, Dutch consumers will also be able to benefit from more convenience when interacting with brands.”

What is RCS?

Rich Communication Services is a replacement service for traditional SMS and MSM text messages. It offers users many of the features currently in use through social media messaging apps such as WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. 

Users have come to expect a high level of features in their messaging services. Traditional text messages also rely on a mobile network connection and have a limit of 160 characters per message. Despite this, the service has remained popular. According to a recent report by Digital Trends, SMS still sees some 781bn messages sent every month – and 9.3trn per year in the US alone.

However, competitive markets have driven the RCS service forward, making it a more attractive option for consumers, who want increased interactivity. CM.com has modelled the features offered by their RCS, on the current service provided by Apple’s iMessage. Google has also developed its own RCS and is trialling the service in Australian markets.

New competitor

While some may consider RCS a competitor to current messaging apps, the service is unlikely to top the popularity of today’s best-loved messaging services. For example, RCS offers different levels of encryption to other leading popular messaging platforms. 

The messages are encrypted in transit. Although they are secure while being sent via the internet, carriers can still read them. By contrast, WhatsApp messages have end-to-end encryption, keeping the information private between sender and receiver. This security, along with new, user-enrichment features currently being rolled out by WhatsApp, means RCS is unlikely to steal the thunder. 

In his report on RCS as a replacement for WhatsApp, Android Authority’s Managing Editor, News, Jimmy Westernberg, comments; “WhatsApp and RCS share similar features, but they don’t nearly provide the same messaging experiences. WhatsApp has been around for so long that it’s been able to roll out quite a few little features that make for a really nice messaging experience overall.”

He adds; “RCS as a messaging protocol is an obvious upgrade over traditional SMS/MMS chatting, but it’s held back by a few things. It’s a relatively new standard that’s taking a very long time to roll out. Also, while the core features of RCS will be supported across all compatible messaging apps, your mileage will vary depending on which app you’re using. For instance, Google’s Messages app offers different features to Samsung’s stock messaging app, despite both supporting the RCS standard.”

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Jul 11, 2021

Mobilise: eSIMs are essential for digital nomads

eSim
Mobilise
RemoteWork
connectivity
Hamish White
6 min
Courtesy of Mobilise
Hamish White, CEO of Mobilise, explains why businesses looking to adopt remote working should consider eSIM as an alternative to traditional SIM tech.

The shift to remote working has forced many organisations to rethink whether an employee’s proximity to the office should still be a key factor for certain roles. In theory, technology allows us to work from anywhere in the world, but just how easy is it to manage a global workforce?

Here, Hamish White, CEO of telecommunications software provider Mobilise, explains why businesses looking to adopt remote working should consider digital alternatives to traditional subscriber identity model (SIM) technology.

According to analyst company Gartner, more than 80% of companies plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part time after the pandemic. While restrictions on overseas travel still limit employees’ ability to truly ‘work from anywhere’, we could soon be seeing a more globally dispersed workforce.

Previously, it’s been difficult to work from another country for a long period of time. Not only because most companies wouldn’t allow it, but also due to the limitations of tourist visas that make staying in another country for more than a few weeks difficult. However, things could be about to change.

The digital nomad visa

Countries around the world are experimenting with ‘digital nomad’ visas that will blend the boundaries between work and travel. One of the first countries to offer a long-term remote working visa was Barbados, with the launch of the Barbados Welcome Stamp in 2020, enabling digital nomads to stay for over twelve months — far longer than the usual 30 to 90 days.

Other countries have followed suit. It’s now possible to obtain similar visas for Bermuda, Costa Rica, Estonia, Croatia and the United Arab Emirates. Quite ironically, digital nomads are easy to locate. They build their careers on the internet, using technology to both share aspects of their personal lives and to keep in touch with colleagues during working hours. Having a mobile device is a tech essential. 

Therefore, businesses that want to seize remote working opportunities will require technology that makes keeping in contact as simple as possible. While such travel freedom isn’t viable for all organisations, it’s evident that a large portion of businesses will retain some form of flexibility moving forwards — whether that means remote, hybrid or flexible working.

Service providers (SPs) are listening to these demands, offering communication packages that include video conferencing tools, unified communications bundles and mobile device management (MDM) offerings including bring your own device strategies. While technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or WebRTC do well to support remote working, using the internet to make calls and reduce operational costs, there’s another area of mobile software that SPs are beginning to consider.

Introducing the eSIM

SIM cards are an integral authentication method for mobile networks, and have been helping users access services securely since 1991. Inside the SIM card sits a programmable integrated circuit (IC) chip called a Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) that stores the SIM’s authentication parameters, including subscriber credentials and network authentication keys.

Until now, mobile subscribers have had to manually insert SIM cards into their device as part of its set up. This has meant that a device can’t use the mobile network until the SIM card is available. It has also meant that mobile users need multiple SIM cards if they have more than one network contract, so those working remotely would need to keep track of several SIM cards, if they had mobile contracts in different locations.

But as working models shift, telecoms customer expectations are changing. Users, more than ever, are looking for simpler, more flexible ways of managing their mobile subscriptions from digital channels. And that’s where eSIMs come into play.

The standards of an embedded SIM, or eSIM, were introduced by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) in 2010, primarily to serve Internet of Things (IoT) products. The technology allows service providers to provision — or programme — service profiles remotely. However, the same technology can be applied to consumer products, meaning a SIM profile could be provisioned remotely without the need for a physical SIM card.

The consumer use of eSIM was accepted by the GSMA in 2016 but has only really started to gain traction in the last twelve months as the penetration of eSIM capable devices has reached critical mass. eSIM means that SIM card technology can now be embedded into the device, rather than on the separate physical UICC. 

The M-Connect Platform - Courtesy of Mobilise
The M-Connect Platform - Courtesy of Mobilise

Flexible, digital communication

There are many benefits to using eSIMs in mobile devices. One of the major boons is remote provisioning, allowing users to set up their devices instantly without needing to visit a retail store or wait for their SIM card to arrive via the post. For those working remotely, the ability to connect and communicate without delay will be key to maintaining productivity.

Having contracts with more than one network is also simpler. Because an eSIM lets you store multiple mobile services in a single device, users will be able to switch quickly between them. This could come in handy if in areas with poor or no signal, switching between personal or work contracts or availing of alternative, more competitive, roaming services. 

Another advantage of eSIMs is that they will eventually negate the need for a physical SIM card and its tray. Smartphone manufacturers could use this space to increase a phone’s battery size or add more features to a handset. 

Widespread adoption of eSIMs is inevitable — GSMA Intelligence estimates they will be used in between two and three billion smartphones by 2025. To help SPs get ahead of the curve, Mobilise has launched its own eSIM as a service

Consisting of Mobilise’s digital platform, M-Connect, and eSIM infrastructure from  Oasis Smart SIM, the service offers users a one-tap installation method that eliminates the need for QR codes and physical SIM cards. Using Mobilise’s eSIM as a Service, SPs can fully digitalise their services to make the onboarding process quick and uncomplicated for end users.

M-Connect takes digital service management a step further. As a fully customisable, modular platform, M-Connect’s digital interfaces allow for easy onboarding of customers via in-app eSIM provisioning. To make remote working effective, easy to manage software services is key. Using platforms such as M-Connect, SPs can implement digital-first service propositions with flexible modules that meet business needs. In turn, end users benefit from a truly digital experience that delivers freedom and flexibility to mobile communications.

Work has become a thing that you do, rather than a place you physically go to, and telecommunications must reflect this shift. Mobile services play a vital role in keeping employees connected with one another. The move to a digital first approach is inevitable for the telecommunications industry, and becoming early adopters of technologies such as eSIM with in-app provisioning will help SPs retain their competitive advantage.

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