GB2468338A - A headset outputting audio messages comprising menu options to a user who inputs commands via a joggle wheel on the headset based on the options - Google Patents

A headset outputting audio messages comprising menu options to a user who inputs commands via a joggle wheel on the headset based on the options Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2468338A
GB2468338A GB0903719A GB0903719A GB2468338A GB 2468338 A GB2468338 A GB 2468338A GB 0903719 A GB0903719 A GB 0903719A GB 0903719 A GB0903719 A GB 0903719A GB 2468338 A GB2468338 A GB 2468338A
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United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
control unit
message
user
audio
messaging system
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Withdrawn
Application number
GB0903719A
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GB0903719D0 (en
Inventor
Marcus Lewis
Original Assignee
Marcus Lewis
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Priority to GB0903719A priority Critical patent/GB2468338A/en
Publication of GB0903719D0 publication Critical patent/GB0903719D0/en
Publication of GB2468338A publication Critical patent/GB2468338A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/72Substation extension arrangements; Cordless telephones, i.e. devices for establishing wireless links to base stations without route selecting
    • H04M1/725Cordless telephones
    • H04M1/72519Portable communication terminals with improved user interface to control a main telephone operation mode or to indicate the communication status
    • H04M1/7258Portable communication terminals with improved user interface to control a main telephone operation mode or to indicate the communication status by using keys with multiple functionality defined by the current phone mode or status
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L51/00Arrangements for user-to-user messaging in packet-switching networks, e.g. e-mail or instant messages
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/02Constructional features of telephone sets
    • H04M1/04Supports for telephone transmitters or receivers
    • H04M1/05Supports for telephone transmitters or receivers adapted for use on head, throat, or breast
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/247Telephone sets including user guidance or features selection means facilitating their use; Fixed telephone terminals for accessing a variety of communication services via the PSTN network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/26Devices for signalling identity of wanted subscriber
    • H04M1/27Devices whereby a plurality of signals may be stored simultaneously
    • H04M1/274Devices whereby a plurality of signals may be stored simultaneously with provision for storing more than one subscriber number at a time, e.g. using toothed disc
    • H04M1/2745Devices whereby a plurality of signals may be stored simultaneously with provision for storing more than one subscriber number at a time, e.g. using toothed disc using static electronic memories, i.e. memories whose operation does not require relative movement between storage means and a transducer, e.g. chips
    • H04M1/274575Automatic call origination and retry systems, e.g. on off-hook or redial on busy
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/57Arrangements for indicating or recording the number of the calling subscriber at the called subscriber's set
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/60Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges including speech amplifiers
    • H04M1/6033Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges including speech amplifiers for providing handsfree use or a loudspeaker mode in telephone sets
    • H04M1/6041Portable telephones adapted for handsfree use
    • H04M1/6058Portable telephones adapted for handsfree use involving the use of a headset accessory device connected to the portable telephone
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/60Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges including speech amplifiers
    • H04M1/6033Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges including speech amplifiers for providing handsfree use or a loudspeaker mode in telephone sets
    • H04M1/6041Portable telephones adapted for handsfree use
    • H04M1/6058Portable telephones adapted for handsfree use involving the use of a headset accessory device connected to the portable telephone
    • H04M1/6066Portable telephones adapted for handsfree use involving the use of a headset accessory device connected to the portable telephone including a wireless connection
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/64Automatic arrangements for answering calls; Automatic arrangements for recording messages for absent subscribers; Arrangements for recording conversations
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/64Automatic arrangements for answering calls; Automatic arrangements for recording messages for absent subscribers; Arrangements for recording conversations
    • H04M1/642Automatic arrangements for answering calls; Automatic arrangements for recording messages for absent subscribers; Arrangements for recording conversations storing speech in digital form
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/64Automatic arrangements for answering calls; Automatic arrangements for recording messages for absent subscribers; Arrangements for recording conversations
    • H04M1/65Recording arrangements for recording a message from the calling party
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/66Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges with means for preventing unauthorised or fraudulent calling
    • H04M1/663Preventing unauthorised calls to a telephone set
    • H04M1/665Preventing unauthorised calls to a telephone set by checking the validity of a code
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/72Substation extension arrangements; Cordless telephones, i.e. devices for establishing wireless links to base stations without route selecting
    • H04M1/725Cordless telephones
    • H04M1/72519Portable communication terminals with improved user interface to control a main telephone operation mode or to indicate the communication status
    • H04M1/72522With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality
    • H04M1/72527With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality provided by interfacing with an external accessory
    • H04M1/7253With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality provided by interfacing with an external accessory using a two-way short-range wireless interface
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/72Substation extension arrangements; Cordless telephones, i.e. devices for establishing wireless links to base stations without route selecting
    • H04M1/725Cordless telephones
    • H04M1/72519Portable communication terminals with improved user interface to control a main telephone operation mode or to indicate the communication status
    • H04M1/72522With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality
    • H04M1/72547With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality with interactive input/output means for internally managing multimedia messages
    • H04M1/7255With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality with interactive input/output means for internally managing multimedia messages for voice messaging, e.g. dictaphone
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/432Arrangements for calling a subscriber at a specific time, e.g. morning call service
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/50Centralised arrangements for answering calls; Centralised arrangements for recording messages for absent or busy subscribers ; Centralised arrangements for recording messages
    • H04M3/53Centralised arrangements for recording incoming messages, i.e. mailbox systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/50Centralised arrangements for answering calls; Centralised arrangements for recording messages for absent or busy subscribers ; Centralised arrangements for recording messages
    • H04M3/53Centralised arrangements for recording incoming messages, i.e. mailbox systems
    • H04M3/533Voice mail systems
    • H04M3/53366Message disposing or creating aspects
    • H04M3/53383Message registering commands or announcements; Greetings
    • H04M3/53391Message registering commands or announcements; Greetings dependent on calling party
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/02Constructional features of telephone sets
    • H04M1/23Construction or mounting of dials or of equivalent devices; Means for facilitating the use thereof
    • H04M1/233Construction or mounting of dials or of equivalent devices; Means for facilitating the use thereof including a pointing device, e.g. roller key, track ball, rocker switch or joystick
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2250/00Details of telephonic subscriber devices
    • H04M2250/56Details of telephonic subscriber devices including a user help function
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2250/00Details of telephonic subscriber devices
    • H04M2250/74Details of telephonic subscriber devices with voice recognition means

Abstract

A messaging system comprising a control unit, a speaker operable under the control of the control unit to output audio messages to a user, and an input device whereby the user can instruct commands to the control unit, wherein interpretation of an input command is dependent upon the audio message output to the user immediately prior to receipt of the input command. Aspects of the invention include the input device being voice operated or comprising a joggle wheel and the audio message comprises of a series of menu options to be played and to instructs the user how to manipulate the joggle wheel to instruct each menu option. Further aspects of the invention include the control unit and speaker being incorporated into a single unit, comprising an earpiece or headset. Thus, the control unit of the headset is operable to cause a pre-recorded audio instruction option menu to be played to the user through the speaker. The menu will provide a list of available functions, and indicate how the joggle wheel should be manipulated to achieve the various functions. Each option will have a joggle wheel position and the messaging system is controlled according to how the joggle wheel is moved. E.g. if in playback mode, the menu may state how to fast forward, rewind, skip etc.

Description

Messaging System This invention relates to a messaging system, and in particular to a messaging system for use with mobile telephone equipment.

Many mobile telephone network operators provide a messaging service whereby audio messages can be left by a caller for subsequent collection by a user, for example in the event that the user is in an area without network coverage, their telephone equipment is switched off, they are on another call or for some other reason they are unable to or do not wish to take the call. In order to collect the message, the user must call the messaging system. Sometimes such calls incur a charge. Further, network coverage, etc, may restrict the user's ability to collect the messages. In addition, long term storage of messages is difficult, and reviewing stored messages is inconvenient.

Co-pending British Patent Application Publication No. GB2447756 describes a messaging system in which incoming calls can be screened, if desired, and incoming messages can be stored locally. Local storage is advantageous in that long term storage and retrieval is much simplified, and the cost and inconvenience of having to dial into a messaging service to pick up the messages is avoided.

The present invention relates to improvements and/or enhancements to such a system.

According to one aspect of the invention there is provided a messaging system comprising a control unit, a speaker operable under the control of the control unit to output audio messages to a user, and an input device whereby the user can instruct commands to the control unit, wherein interpretation of an input command is dependent upon the audio message output to the user immediately prior to receipt of the input command.

Such an audio instruction arrangement is advantageous in that it permits control over the operation of the messaging system to be achieved in a simple and convenient manner.

Although the input device could comprise a microphone to allow the messaging system to be voice or audio operated, conveniently the input device comprises one or more actuators. Preferably the input device comprises a joggle wheel. The use of a joggle wheel is advantageous in that several different input commands may be input depending upon how the joggle wheel is input. For example, moving the wheel forwards and then releasing it can be interpreted differently to moving it forward and then holding it. Similarly, moving it backward can produce two different commands.

Depression or repeated depression can produce further input commands.

It will thus be appreciated that the control unit can instruct an audio message consisting of a series of menu options to be played. The audio message instructs the user how to manipulate the joggle wheel to instruct each menu option. The user then selects his desired menu option by appropriate manipulation of the joggle wheel. It will be appreciated that, depending upon the audio message played, a given manipulation 1 5 of the joggle wheel may result in the instruction of several different functions.

Such an arrangement is advantageous in that the number of actuators required to operate the device are reduced, simplifying manufacture and assisting in miniaturisation of the device. Further, the use of the messaging system is simplified as the user need only learn the position and operation of a single actuator.

The control unit and speaker maybe incorporated into a single unit, for example an earpiece or headset, or incorporated into audio enabled eyewear or other devices, if desired. Such an arrangement may be configured to allow use simply as a Bluetooth hands-free device in one mode of operation, or to operate in accordance with the invention in another operating mode. It is conveniently of very small dimensions.

Alternatively, the control unit may be incorporated into a separate housing, for example a handheld or wrist mounted control module, which communicates with the speaker via, for example, a wireless communications link. The communications link may comprise a microwave link, for example a Bluetooth link, or alternatively could comprise a short range radio link. Of course, wired links are also possible. Although use of the invention with the alternative where the control unit is in a hand-held, wrist mounted or other separate housing may be possible, this aspect of the invention is perhaps most applicable to single unit arrangements.

Although primarily intended as a messaging system, it will be appreciated that other audio signals may be played using the system, thus the system may be modified to serve as an audio file, for example MP3, player. If stereo signals are required, an additional speaker may be connected, for example using a flying lead, to the aforementioned speaker.

In any of the arrangements outlined above, the control unit conveniently communicates via a wireless link, for example a microwave link, with a mobile telephone device. However, arrangements are possible in which the control unit is incorporated into the mobile telephone device. It will be appreciated that, where appropriate, stored messages can be retrieved even with the messaging system disconnected from the mobile telephone device and/or with the mobile telephone device disconnected from the telephone network.

1 5 The invention also relates to a system in which an instruction menu is displayed visually, for example using an LCD screen, instead of by way of an audio message.

According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a messaging system comprising a control unit, a data base of telephone numbers, and a message store, wherein upon receipt of an incoming telephone call the control unit compares the telephone number of the incoming call with the telephone numbers stored in the data base, and selects a message from the message store to play to the caller, the selected message being dependent upon the identification of the incoming telephone number.

It will be appreciated that, using such a system, personalised greetings can be played to incoming callers.

According to another aspect of the invention, the messaging system may comprise a control unit, a data base of telephone numbers and associated identification codes, and a message store, wherein upon receipt of an incoming telephone call the incoming telephone number is compared to the telephone numbers in the data base and a caller input code is compared to the associated identification code in the data base, and a message from the message store is played to the caller when it is determined that the identification code associated with the incoming telephone number has been entered.

Such an arrangement is advantageous in that a user can record messages for one or more callers. Upon that caller calling and entering the correct identification code, the message or messages for that caller can be played to him. Messages for other callers will remain confidential. After listening to a message, the caller will preferably have an opportunity to leave a message.

According to another aspect of the invention, the messaging system comprises a control unit and a message store, the control unit being operable to place a call on a predetermined telephone number at a predetermined time, and to play a message from the message store. If desired, a return message can be recorded onto the message store. Such an arrangement allows the user to leave messages to be played to other people at times he chooses, which may be useful if it is desired to pass a message to someone in, for example, another time zone.

According to a further aspect of the invention there is provided a messaging system comprising a control unit, a message store, data reception and transmission means, and data compression and decompression means, whereby an outgoing message can be recorded, compressed and transmitted as an audio signal, and an incoming audio signal can be received, decompressed and stored for playback to the user.

Such a system permits audio messages to be transmitted/received efficiently.

The reduction in transmission time resulting from sending audio messages in compressed form may result in significant cost savings and may, where network service provides do not charge for calls lasting only a few seconds, enable free mobile telephone communication. It is envisaged that the compressed signals will typically take only a few seconds to transmit, the transmission time being dependent, to some extent, upon the length of message.

Although some or all of the above-mentioned functionality may be provided in a single unit, as the level of functionality increases the two unit option maybe preferred, in which case it may be preferred to provide a visible output display and the option of using audio instruction may be omitted.

The invention will further be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawing, Figure 1, which is a diagrammatic view of a messaging system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

As illustrated in Figure 1, the messaging system comprises a control unit 1 0 forming part of an earpiece 12. The control unit 10 controls the output of audio messages or signals by a speaker 14 arranged to be located, in use, in or adjacent the ear canal of a user. The control unit 10 includes a Bluetooth or other microwave communications link transmitter/receiver (not shown) to permit the transmission of signals between the earpiece 12 and a mobile telephone device 16 latched to the earpiece 12. The earpiece 12 further includes a microphone to allow voice signals to be picked up and transmitted, by the transmitter/receiver, to the mobile telephone device 16. Such a device is, effectively, as described in co-pending British Patent Application Publication No. GB2447756, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference, and has similar functionality thereto.

The earpiece 12 includes an input device in the form of a joggle wheel actuator 18. However, it will be appreciated that other actuators and/or other input devices could be used if desired. The joggle wheel actuator 18 is designed to output a number of different command signals to the control unit 10 depending upon how it is operated or manipulated. For example commands may be input by moving the wheel forward and then releasing it, by moving it forward and holding it in the forward position for a predetermined length of time, moving it rearwards and releasing it, moving and holding it in a rearward position, depressing it once or depressing it twice. It will be appreciated that such an arrangement permits six different commands to be input using a single input device.

In accordance with the invention, the control unit 10 is operable to cause a pre-recorded audio instruction option menu to be played to the user through the speaker 14. The menu will provide a list of available functions, and indicate how the joggle wheel 18 should be manipulated to achieve the various functions. Upon manipulation of the joggle wheel 18, the control unit interprets the command signal output from the joggle wheel 18 in accordance with data representative of the menu previously output to the user to determine the required command instructions, and operates the messaging system accordingly.

Different menus will be played at different points in the operation of the system.

It will be appreciated that, with such an arrangement, the same manipulation of the joggle wheel may cause several different actions to be instructed, the actual instruction depending upon which audio menu has been played.

Thus, for example, upon switching on of the messaging system a menu may be played giving options for whether the messaging service functionality is to be enabled or whether the earpiece is simply to operate as a hands-free device. Each option will have a joggle wheel position or operation associated with it, and the messaging system is controlled according to how the joggle wheel is moved.

If the system is in a playback mode, then the menu may state how fast forward, rewind, skip and play functionality is achieved.

If an option is selected to delete a recorded message, a menu giving instructions to confirm deletion, ideally requiring a different manipulation of the joggle wheel, maybe played.

The messaging system further includes functionality which permits the control unit to compare the telephone number of an incoming call with a data base of telephone numbers. Upon identifying a match between the incoming number and a stored number, an outgoing message is played, the message being dependent upon the identity of the caller as identified by the incoming telephone number. It will thus be appreciated that the outgoing message to the caller can be personalised. For example, individual personalised greets may be recorded for each number in the data base.

Alternatively, the user may record just, say, two or three outgoing messages and associate each telephone number in the data base with one or other of the recorded greetings. For example, the user may have one recorded message to act as a greeting for friends, another for business associates, and a third for family members.

Another possible piece of functionality is that an incoming caller may be identified as outlined above and then invited to enter a pin or identification code which is verified against data held in the data base. Upon verification, an additional message stored in the message store may be played to the caller. It will thus be appreciated that a user has the ability to record a message intended for a specific contact, the message being stored with or having associated therewith data identifying the intended recipient.

When that recipient calls and his identity is verified, the message will automatically be played to him.

After listening to the message, the recipient may be given a series of options to allow him to replay the message and/or record a response to the message which can subsequently be reviewed by the user.

Such a system may be of benefit if a user wishes to leave messages for his contacts before entering a meeting or if visiting another time zone.

A variant to the functionality outlined above is for the messaging system to be programmed in such a manner as to make a telephone call to a recipient at a time and date determined by the user. Once the call has been placed, an associated message from the message store is played to the recipient who may be given options to allow replaying of the message and/or recording of a response. Again, such a system may be beneficial if a user needs to get a message to a contact in a different time zone as the message and date/time at which it is to be delivered can be chosen by the user.

In a further mode of operation, where two or more users have access to messaging systems in accordance with the invention, a user may record a message and instruct the system to compress the message and transmit it to a recipient in the form of a compressed audio signal. The compressed audio signal will be of considerably shorter duration than the normal, uncompressed duration of the message thus the transmission time will be short.

The recipients messaging system, upon receipt of the compressed message, will decompress it and store it for play-back to the recipient. If desired, the recipient may record a response for compression, and transmission back to the original user where the response is decompressed and played back.

It will be appreciated that, if desired, conversations may be held by the passage back and forth of such messages. As the messages are transmitted in a compressed form, call durations are short thus the telephone network charges for such conversations will be low. Indeed, where networks do not charge for calls of duration less than, say five seconds, it may be possible for such conversations to be held without incurring call charges.

All of this functionality may, if desired, by accessed using audio menus as outlined hereinbefore. However this need not always be the case and the invention is also applicable to arrangements in which other control techniques are used. Further, if desired, the control unit and speaker may be provided in separate housings, for example a hand-held or wrist mounted housing may be provided, which communicate with one another via a microwave or radio link, or via a wired connection. Indeed, as the functionality is expanded, the option of using a separate hand-held or wrist mounted, or otherwise located, control unit may be preferred. Where such an arrangement is used then it may be desirable to provide a visible display device outputting control information to the user, and such an arrangement may, if desired, display visible menus to the user and so avoid the use of audio instruction.

Where appropriate, additional functionality may be provided to allow operation as, for example, an audio file player. Where stereo operation is desired, a second speaker may be provided which, conveniently, connects to the aforementioned speaker by way of a flying lead with an appropriate plug/socket connection.

As with the arrangement described in GB 2447756, conveniently a docking station is provided which may serve to allow charging of batteries or the like on board the messaging system and may also permit the downloading of messages to a long term message store where, if desired, they may be stored in a file structure to allow easy location and review of stored messages, for example by storing them in date order or ordered by caller.

In any of the arrangements described hereinbefore where messages are played to callers, although simple pre-recorded messages may be played, more complex arrangements are also possible. For example, where the message to be played is a greeting then, not only may the greeting be personalised as mentioned hereinbefore, but the system may be provided with a number of different greetings for each known caller or group of callers, so that the caller receives a different greeting each time he calls. For example, a call log may be kept and the choice of greeting may cycle through the list of suitable greetings, or the greetings may be played in a random order.

Further, voice recognition software may be provided to allow the acceptance of certain commands and the playing of appropriate audio responses. For example, if a message has been stored for a particular caller, the caller may be greeted and asked whether they would like to hear the recorded message. The message may be played to them according to their command. After playing the message, the caller may be given some options to replay the message, to record and reply, etc., and the system controlled and further messages played according to the voice commands given by the caller.

It is envisaged that, in addition to using voice recognition software, the system will also log information relating to responses given by the caller and use this information in future control of the system. For example, if a caller leaves a reply to a message, next time he calls the option to leave a message may be phrased to indicate that last time he called, a reply was left. Such a system results in the caller feeling as if he has had a more natural conversation and is actually interacting with the system 1 5 rather than merely controlling it. With such a system there is the risk that the caller will provide a command that the system cannot interpret. In such a situation, an output to the effect that the system has not yet learnt that function would be output and provide an opportunity, if appropriate, for a message to be left. This may provide opportunities to enhance the system functionality.

It will be appreciated that, if desired, only some of the functionality may be provided.

A range of modifications and alterations may be made to the arrangement described hereinbefore without departing from the scope of the invention.

Claims (12)

  1. CLAIMS: 1. A messaging system comprising a control unit, a speaker operable under the control of the control unit to output audio messages to a user, and an input device whereby the user can instruct commands to the control unit, wherein interpretation of an input command is dependent upon the audio message output to the user immediately prior to receipt of the input command.
  2. 2. A system according to Claim 1, wherein the input device comprises a microphone to allow the messaging system to be voice or audio operated.
  3. 3. A system according to Claim 1, wherein the input device comprises one or more actuators.
  4. 4. A system according to Claim 3, wherein the input device comprises a joggle wheel.
  5. 5. A system according to Claim 4, wherein the audio message comprises of a series of menu options to be played.
  6. 6. A system according to Claim 5, wherein the audio message instructs the user how to manipulate the joggle wheel to instruct each menu option.
  7. 7. A system according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the control unit and speaker are incorporated into a single unit.
  8. 8. A system according to Claim 7, wherein the single unit comprises an earpiece or headset.
  9. 9. A messaging system comprising a control unit, a data base of telephone numbers, and a message store, wherein upon receipt of an incoming telephone call the control unit compares the telephone number of the incoming call with the telephone numbers stored in the data base, and selects a message from the message store to play to the caller, the selected message being dependent upon the identification of the incoming telephone number.
  10. 10. A messaging system comprising a control unit, a data base of telephone numbers and associated identification codes, and a message store, wherein upon receipt of an incoming telephone call the incoming telephone number is compared to the telephone numbers in the data base and a caller input code is compared to the associated identification code in the data base, and a message from the message store is played to the caller when it is determined that the correct identification code associated with the incoming telephone number has been entered.
  11. 11. A messaging system comprising a control unit and a message store, the control unit being operable to place a call on a predetermined telephone number at a predetermined time, and to play a message from the message store
  12. 12. A messaging system comprising a control unit, a message store, data reception and transmission means, and data compression and decompression means, whereby an outgoing message can be recorded, compressed and transmitted as an audio signal, and an incoming audio signal can be received, decompressed and stored for playback to the user.
GB0903719A 2009-03-05 2009-03-05 A headset outputting audio messages comprising menu options to a user who inputs commands via a joggle wheel on the headset based on the options Withdrawn GB2468338A (en)

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GB0903719A GB2468338A (en) 2009-03-05 2009-03-05 A headset outputting audio messages comprising menu options to a user who inputs commands via a joggle wheel on the headset based on the options
PCT/GB2010/000384 WO2010100423A2 (en) 2009-03-05 2010-03-04 Messaging system

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GB0903719D0 (en) 2009-04-15
WO2010100423A3 (en) 2010-11-11

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