The Media is the Message: Delivering Next-Gen Secure Communication with Rich Communication Services

The Media is the Message: Delivering Next-Gen Secure Communication with Rich Communication Services

Rich communication service (RCS) is the next generation of secure communication. Here's why RCS can change the nature of HCM transactions.

Balancing secure communication and convenience is, without a doubt, the most critical challenge that organizations face today as they continue to digitize business processes, offer services and engage with end users, who in turn have consistently embraced the smartphone as the platform of choice for all of their interactions.

Yet, we live in a world plagued by a password epidemy — even though the average employee manages almost 200 passwords and nearly 20 percent of staff share their passwords with other users. ADP's Frank Villavicencio, CPO for Access & Identity Management, refers to this condition as "passworditis" — a disease caused by a heavy reliance on passwords to secure digital interactions.

End users prefer to interact with their smartphone, and they despise passwords. Organizations hate passwords because of their propensity to be forgotten, needing to be reset, and vulnerability to be stolen, reused and replayed. The vast adoption of SMS-enabled one-time codes instead of passwords serves as a proof point of the desirability for an authentication solution that optimizes for both mobility and passwordless access. However, SMS is still not a fully optimized solution as it often requires users to retrieve and enter a code into a login screen resulting in abandonment and fatigue, and are still subject to fraud as bad actors can intercept or route text messages.

Enter the age of Rich Communication Services (RCS), a next-generation text protocol that empowers businesses to deliver both media and message to a smartphone in a reliable and secure manner. Google has worked with the mobile industry to expand progress for RCS as the default standard for Android messaging, but that's just the beginning. RCS supports videos, animation and images in addition to text.

ADP has also recognized the tremendous value of this technology and has partnered with CallFire, a cloud telephony services provider, to pioneer an HCM application that leverages RCS to enhance their human capital management offerings. The utility of this innovation was recently featured and showcased at the Google "Innovation City" booth at 2018 Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA).

CallFire, and its flagship brand EZ Texting, are part of Google's Early Access Program for RCS that can customize RCS implementations for enterprise customers.

"We're very excited to be ADP's carrier partner for RCS and to demonstrate how brands can leverage this cutting-edge technology," says T.J. Thinakaran, CallFire's COO.

The RCS Revolution

According to Adweek, enterprises are now spending $30 billion to $50 billion each year on SMS messaging. But typical texting is inherently limited. While organizations can utilize text messaging to deliver one-time authentication codes or use third-party apps to deliver content-rich services, SMS can't do both at the same time.

RCS changes the game. In addition to delivering content-rich messages without the need for short codes or long virtual numbers, RCS provides:

  • Customizable graphics and colors for branding and name recognition.

  • Default read receipts, allowing organizations to track message impact.

  • Built-in two-way messaging which connects to CRM systems, contact centers and custom back-ends.

  • Interactive calls-to-action including one-click opt-outs, customer surveys and real-time updates.

  • Enhanced security using client-to-server encryption before any message is sent.

Use Cases

ADP's presentation at MWCA 2018 made it clear: There is huge innovation possible across the RCS space, especially as it applies to human capital management (HCM). ADP highlighted that RCS could be relied on for both one-click, passwordless login and step-up authentication for changing direct deposit information — applications for the technology that are wholly unique in the HCM space.

For one-click login, staff simply enter their user ID as normal and then receive an RCS message on their device. This allows them to confirm the login or report fraud, which can automatically launch a fraud investigation.

In the case of direct deposit, any change to transaction information sends a message to user devices with details of the change. If denied, account changes are locked pending a fraud investigation.

No Middle Ground

With RCS, ADP believes it can strategically resolve major engagement hurdles with end users: providing an intuitive, efficient and graphical interaction that is native to the smartphone; getting past the hurdle of application fatigue as RCS does not require end users to download and enroll into additional mobile apps; enhancing trust and security in the interaction such that higher value transactions can take place; and opening a powerful channel to a conversational interaction, which research shows has become the preferred interaction patterns for millennials.

As Canadian philosopher Marshall McCluhan famously noted, "the medium is the message." In other words, how businesses send information is just as important as what gets sent. SMS is the perfect example: Although convenient, text-only messages don't engage users and provide limited opportunity for feedback. RCS with ADP delivers both secure communication and anticipated interaction — providing frictionless access that is bolstered by media-rich content.