GSMA Updates RCS Specifications

The GSM Association (GSMA) has released the next set of Rich Communication Suite (RCS) service specifications, RCS Release 2, and launched the RCS DevChallenge, a competition for developers that is designed to encourage new and innovative ideas for future RCS-based services.
The GSMAs RCS Initiative provides operators with a feature-rich portfolio of interoperable communication services that they can offer to their customers. The 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.
The GSMA notes that 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 customers 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, says 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, to 81 companies. New participants in the RCS initiative include Belgacom, Hitachi, IBM, mobilkom austria, Tele2 Sweden and Telecom New Zealand. 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 communications service.
The RCS DevChallengeis designed to 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.
Developers will compete 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 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 GSMAs RCS DevChallenge is sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Orange and Telefonica.
Theres more information about the RCS Initiative here. And about the RCS DevChallenge here.