Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is "joyn" the telco turning point in the competition with OTT text and voice?

So are you going to “joyn”?  We hope so.

On Monday, the GSMA gave both a long awaited kick off and consumer branding to Rich Communication Suite 5 (RCS), the latest version of an industry-supported suite of features such as instant messaging and video calling based on IMS.

The industry body said the new brand would be used by operators to give a global ‘face’ to RCS services. “Joyn will act as a mark of assurance to customers that they will have simple and direct access to enriched voice and messaging services wherever they are and whatever network they are using,”  said the GSMA’s Director General Anne Bouverot.

The idea is simple, and is supposed to help operators compete against OTT players like WhatsApp and Viber that are cutting into their texting and voice business, particularly in certain developed markets like the Netherlands and South Korea

With joyn, RCS services, such as messaging, chat, video calling and document and photo sharing, will be either be embedded as an icon on a smartphone or tablet, or will be accessed via a downloadable app for today’s devices. Either way, the service will show if a person’s contacts both have joyn and if they are “online” at the moment.

Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone will launch RCS services this summer, while operators in France, Germany, Italy and South Korea have also committed to commercial launches in 2012, the GSMA said. The key to reaching consumers, of course, is getting joyn on popular devices, and manufacturers like HTC, Huawei, LG, Nokia, RIM, Samsung, Sony and ZTE have all signed up.

RCS is one of the telco battlegrounds right now, and there are doubts about whether is the successful way forward.  But whatever concerns some may have and even if some may think operators should just become a date pipeline and be happy, joyn is a sign of progress and may very well be the turning point.

This is quite clear in a blog post from Spanish tech company Solaiemes, in which they write about huge interest in RCS at Mobile World Congress, and about how independent developers will get joyn onto iPhones, negating Apple’s refusal to officially get on board.

What’s most important here is the evolution of the telco mindset. It’s great to see the industry start putting consumers, plus experiences, at the forefront.  It’s all part of the slow but necessary journey up the user experience ladder we wrote about a few weeks ago.

And in the grand scheme of things, it’s helping operators make communications more natural, more like the easy, conversational modes of communication we as humans are hardwired for.

What do you think?  Is joyn going to be the playground for the largest community in the world, the six billion mobile subscribers?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention (to solaiemes).
    We believe in RCS-e/Joyn being a platform to engage developers creating services based on messaging experience, if it worked with SMS (SMS installed in all device tiers and offered by all carriers) with a more powerful enabler combining chat, file transfer voice and video the possibities are many.