The GSMA, which represents the interests of the mobile communications industry, today announced the release of the next set of Rich Communication Suite (RCS) service specifications, RCS Release 2. The GSMA has also launched the RCS DevChallenge, a competition for developers that will encourage new and innovative ideas for future RCS-based services.
The GSMA's RCS Initiative provides operators with a feature-rich portfolio of interoperable communication services that they can offer to their customers, and this latest specification includes key enhancements to the core feature set included in RCS Release 1, such as a broadband access client and support for a multi-device environment.
Having broadband access to core RCS services such as in-call multimedia sharing, conversational messaging and presence-enhanced contact management means that users will be able to access services and applications from both mobile and fixed terminals, resulting in a seamless experience across both mobile phones and PCs. Utilising mobile and fixed terminals when accessing RCS services will result in the use of multiple clients, even though the mobile phone will remain as the customer's primary device, and will provide greater flexibility as well as enhance the user experience.
"Users want to be able to access and share rich content between their mobile phone and their PC and RCS Release 2 will enable operators to provide this through a variety of new applications and services," said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at the GSMA. "Developed by the collaborative efforts of leading companies in the mobile industry, RCS is already in live deployment in South Korea and in operator trials underway elsewhere in the world."
The number of operators and equipment manufacturers supporting RCS has grown significantly in the past six months, growing to 81 participating companies. New participants in the RCS initiative include Belgacom, Hitachi, IBM, mobilkom austria, Tele2 Sweden and Telecom New Zealand, amongst others. The organisations working with the GSMA and collaborating as part of its RCS initiative are focused on driving the development and adoption of this industry-standard and enhanced communications service.
The GSMA has also launched a new competition for mobile and PC client developers called RCS DevChallenge. The competition will encourage innovative developers to deliver the most useable and attractive RCS client that can either be embedded in a mobile phone or used on a PC, as well as demonstrate new and innovative ideas for future RCS-based services.
"The RCS DevChallenge provides a unique opportunity for developers to gain exposure in front of senior executives and key decision makers from some of the world's leading companies in the mobile industry," added Sinclair. "The fact that all the major handset manufacturers are members of our RCS Initiative and will be keeping a close eye on the competition bodes well for competitors."
RCS DevChallenge will involve developers competing in two categories: Best RCS Client (with separate mobile and PC sub-categories) and Best RCS Innovation. The winner from each category will be highlighted in the RCS DevChallenge Showcase at GSMA's Mobile World Congress, which takes place in Barcelona in February 2010. In addition to an award plaque, the winning client application will also be actively evaluated by participating mobile operators and RCS vendors for commercial use.
The GSMA's RCS DevChallenge is sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Orange and Telefonica. For more information and to register please visit: http://www.rcsdevchallenge.com.
For more information on the GSMA's RCS Initiative and the Release 2 specification please visit: http://www.gsmworld.com/rcs.