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Rich Communication Suite Will Bolster IMS Deployments

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The Rich Communication Suite (RCS), a new initiative of a large group of handset and infrastructure vendors and mobile operators, promises to enhance the ability of wireless and wireline networks to offer interoperable rich communications. It is built on the IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) platform, and should boost IMS deployments significantly.

In a recent study from ABI Research, the firm forecasts that capital expenditure on IMS will start to grow sharply in 2010, reaching $23 billion in 2013.

"RCS will enable interoperable rich communication regardless of device or network and will include in-call multimedia sharing, conversational messaging and presence-enhanced contact management for mobile and fixed customers," says ABI Research senior analyst Nadine Manjaro.

More than 30 companies are collaborating in the RCS project. Key participants include Telecom Italia, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung. They are partnering to ensure that IMS's capabilities will be available on any handset and any network.

RCS is expected to start becoming available as part of selected devices and services in 2009. IMS is the underlying technology supporting RCS and a core component in LTE architecture. IMS is also deployed in legacy wireless networks and wireline networks.

"Part of IMS is aimed at improving converged services," continues Manjaro. "The Rich Communication Suite, which aims to standardize the user experiences across multiple types of handset, will facilitate that. For example, IMS might be used for synchronization of contact lists between handset and computer, and to inform a caller as to the recipient's availability, similar to the facility commonly found in instant messaging. It can facilitate multiple simultaneous forms of communication such as combined video and voice calling."

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