US20110047242A1 - User detection for enhanced conferencing services - Google Patents

User detection for enhanced conferencing services Download PDF

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US20110047242A1
US20110047242A1 US12/861,623 US86162310A US2011047242A1 US 20110047242 A1 US20110047242 A1 US 20110047242A1 US 86162310 A US86162310 A US 86162310A US 2011047242 A1 US2011047242 A1 US 2011047242A1
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user
user device
users
function
data
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US12/861,623
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Raj Sinha
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Avaya Inc
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Avaya Inc
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Publication of US20110047242A1 publication Critical patent/US20110047242A1/en
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/08Configuration management of network or network elements
    • H04L41/0803Configuration setting of network or network elements
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F9/00Arrangements for program control, e.g. control units
    • G06F9/06Arrangements for program control, e.g. control units using stored programs, i.e. using an internal store of processing equipment to receive or retain programs
    • G06F9/46Multiprogramming arrangements
    • G06F9/54Interprogram communication
    • G06F9/543User-generated data transfer, e.g. clipboards, dynamic data exchange [DDE], object linking and embedding [OLE]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L45/00Routing or path finding of packets in data switching networks
    • H04L45/02Topology update or discovery
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L45/00Routing or path finding of packets in data switching networks
    • H04L45/58Association of routers
    • H04L45/586Virtual routers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L65/00Network arrangements or protocols for real-time communications
    • H04L65/40Services or applications
    • H04L65/403Arrangements for multiparty communication, e.g. conference
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/04Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications adapted for terminals or networks with limited resources or for terminal portability, e.g. wireless application protocol [WAP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/24Presence management
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/30Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving profiles
    • H04L67/306User profiles
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M7/00Interconnection arrangements between switching centres
    • H04M7/0024Services and arrangements where telephone services are combined with data services
    • H04M7/0057Services where the data services network provides a telephone service in addition or as an alternative, e.g. for backup purposes, to the telephone service provided by the telephone services network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W64/00Locating users or terminals or network equipment for network management purposes, e.g. mobility management

Abstract

Mechanisms are provided herein which accommodate the sharing of a user device among multiple users. In particular, when multiple users are detected as sharing a user device, functionality of the user device may be altered in accordance with preferences and profiles of the sharing users. Data associated with each sharing user may also be distributed during a communication session according to each user's data distribution preferences of each user.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/235,838, filed Aug. 21, 2009, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is generally directed toward communications and more specifically toward conferencing services.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Most phones, computers, televisions, and similar user devices are currently designed to be used by a single user. This design limitation is not consistent with many intended uses of such user devices. In particular, many use cases exist whereby one user desires to share their user device with another user device. Such use cases exist in business environment as well as the personal-use environment.
  • As one exemplary use case, two or more co-workers may have scheduled a conference call with a third user. The co-workers may decide to meet at one of the co-worker's offices and share the user device within that office. While some phones are provided with a speaker phone capability to facilitate use by multiple users, no other features of the phone are altered to accommodate multiple users. Moreover, no multiple-user feature of the phone is known to automatically react to the presence of two or more users within proximity of a common user device.
  • SUMMARY
  • It is with respect to the above issues and other problems that the embodiments presented herein were contemplated. Embodiments of the present invention proposed herein provide one or more mechanisms which allow a user device to automatically and/or manually identify that multiple users are sharing a user device (e.g., are in proximity to the user device). Examples of such automated mechanisms include facial recognition technologies, SIM card detection (e.g., detect cell phones or mobile communication devices of multiple users by establishing a bluetooth or similar wireless association with the mobile devices of the users), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) detection technologies, proximity sensors, and the like. As noted above, manual user input may also be utilized to determined that multiple users are present and utilizing a common user device. Other presence-aware mechanisms may also be used without departing from the scope of the present invention.
  • Once the user device detects the presence of multiple users, the user device may then invoke certain features for enhancing conferencing service. An exemplary feature would be requesting and pre-population of Virtual Card information from each party present at the user device (i.e., the multiple users of the same user device) to provide information useful to the bridge and/or useful to share to remote end-points. As an alternative to requesting such data, the user device may be enabled to identify a user by analyzing information within the detected SIM card or by recognizing the user from their facial features and based on this automated recognition of the user may perform a database lookup to retrieve salient information for the user. As yet another alternative, fingerprint analysis, local or enterprise directly lookup by using RFID data from an RFID card, and other forms of user recognition can also be utilized.
  • Alternatively, the data may be pulled directly from the user's mobile communication device or SIM card. This data can then be rendered by the user device and displayed to the user along with a prompt “is this your information” and/or “would you like to share this information with the remote conference participants?” Based on the user's input, the data for the multiple users may be shared with other participants.
  • In some embodiments the salient data may be shared automatically without first requesting permission from the user (e.g., the user may have pre-provisioned rules indicating that data sharing is allowable for certain situations such as intra-enterprise communications or communications with certain individuals or groups of users).
  • In some embodiments the data shared for one or both of the users sharing a user device may include communication needs information. For example, if one of the users is hearing impaired or has some other special communication need, this data may be provided to a terminal adapter or some other network device to facilitate communications for both the hearing impaired user and the non-hearing impaired user. Accordingly, the functionality of the user device may be altered to accommodate multiple users sharing a single user device.
  • Accordingly, multiple users and their communication needs and/or preferences can be determined and shared with other participants according to each user's preferences. This allows a single user device to possibly share information for one user of the user device with other participants while not sharing information for another user of the user device if the users have different information sharing preferences.
  • In accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention, a method is provided that generally comprises:
  • detecting two or more users sharing a user device; and
  • in response to detecting the two or more users sharing the user device, altering a function of the user device such that the user device utilizes a multi-user rule set defining the operation of the function instead of a single-user rule set defining the operation of the function thereby accommodating a simultaneous use of the user device by the detected two or more users.
  • The phrases “at least one”, “one or more”, and “and/or” are open-ended expressions that are both conjunctive and disjunctive in operation. For example, each of the expressions “at least one of A, B and C”, “at least one of A, B, or C”, “one or more of A, B, and C”, “one or more of A, B, or C” and “A, B, and/or C” means A alone, B alone, C alone, A and B together, A and C together, B and C together, or A, B and C together.
  • The term “a” or “an” entity refers to one or more of that entity. As such, the terms “a” (or “an”), “one or more” and “at least one” can be used interchangeably herein. It is also to be noted that the terms “comprising”, “including”, and “having” can be used interchangeably.
  • The term “automatic” and variations thereof, as used herein, refers to any process or operation done without material human input when the process or operation is performed. However, a process or operation can be automatic, even though performance of the process or operation uses material or immaterial human input, if the input is received before performance of the process or operation. Human input is deemed to be material if such input influences how the process or operation will be performed. Human input that consents to the performance of the process or operation is not deemed to be “material”.
  • The term “computer-readable medium” as used herein refers to any tangible storage that participates in providing instructions to a processor for execution. Such a medium may take many forms, including but not limited to, non-volatile media, volatile media, and transmission media. Non-volatile media includes, for example, NVRAM, or magnetic or optical disks. Volatile media includes dynamic memory, such as main memory. Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a floppy disk, a flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, or any other magnetic medium, magneto-optical medium, a CD-ROM, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, any other physical medium with patterns of holes, a RAM, a PROM, and EPROM, a FLASH-EPROM, a solid state medium like a memory card, any other memory chip or cartridge, or any other medium from which a computer can read. When the computer-readable media is configured as a database, it is to be understood that the database may be any type of database, such as relational, hierarchical, object-oriented, and/or the like. Accordingly, the invention is considered to include a tangible storage medium and prior art-recognized equivalents and successor media, in which the software implementations of the present invention are stored.
  • The terms “determine”, “calculate”, and “compute,” and variations thereof, as used herein, are used interchangeably and include any type of methodology, process, mathematical operation or technique.
  • The term “module” as used herein refers to any known or later developed hardware, software, firmware, artificial intelligence, fuzzy logic, or combination of hardware and software that is capable of performing the functionality associated with that element. Also, while the invention is described in terms of exemplary embodiments, it should be appreciated that individual aspects of the invention can be separately claimed.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The present disclosure is described in conjunction with the appended figures:
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a communication system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram depicting an exemplary data structure utilized in accordance with embodiments of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 3 is a flow diagram depicting an exemplary communication method in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The ensuing description provides embodiments only, and is not intended to limit the scope, applicability, or configuration of the claims. Rather, the ensuing description will provide those skilled in the art with an enabling description for implementing the embodiments. It being understood that various changes may be made in the function and arrangement of elements without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
  • A communication system 100 including a user device 104 capable of accommodating utilization by multiple users is shown in FIG. 1. The depicted user device 104 includes a processor 108, a memory 112, a user interface 148, and a network interface 168.
  • The user interface 148 may include a user input and/or user output device. The user interface 148 enables a user or multiple users to interact with the user device 104. Exemplary user input devices which may be included in the user interface 148 comprise, without limitation, a microphone, a button, a mouse, trackball, rollerball, or any other known type of user input device. Exemplary user output devices which may be included in the user interface 148 comprise, without limitation, a speaker, light, Light Emitting Diode (LED), display screen, buzzer, or any other known type of user output device. In some embodiments, the user interface 148 includes a combined user input and user output device such as a touch-screen.
  • The processor 108 may include a microprocessor, Central Processing Unit (CPU), a collection of processing units capable of performing serial or parallel data processing functions, and the like.
  • The memory 112 may include a number of applications or executable instructions that are readable and executable by the processor 108. For instance, the memory 112 may include instructions in the form of one or more modules and/or applications. The memory 112 may also include data and rules in the form of one or more data structures 144 which can be used by one or more of the modules and/or applications. Exemplary applications include an operating system and various other applications. The operating system is a high-level application which enables the various other applications and modules to interface with the hardware components (e.g., processor 108, network interface 168, and user interface 148) of the user device 104. The operating system also enables a user or users of the user device 104 to view and access the applications and modules in memory 112 as well as data structures 144 contained in memory 112.
  • Although the applications and modules are depicted as software instructions residing in memory 112 and those instructions are executable by the processor 108, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the applications and modules may be implemented partially or totally as hardware or firmware. For example, an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) may be utilized to implement some or all of the functionality discussed herein.
  • Exemplary features offered by the applications include, without limitation, communication features (e.g., voice communication applications, text communication applications, video communication applications, multimedia communication applications, etc.), web-browsing features, word-processing features, and so on. Specific modules which may be included in memory 112 include, without limitation, a functionality management module 116, a special communication needs module 120, a multi-user enhanced feature module 124, a data distribution module 128, a user profile and preference retrieval module 132, a user detection module 136, and a user presence module 140.
  • The functionality management module 116 may provide the user device 104 with the functionality for managing, manipulating, and/or controlling functions of the user device 104. In particular, the functionality management module 116 may be configured to automatically adapt properties of the user device 104 when multiple users are determined to be sharing the user device 104. As an example, the functionality management module 116 may be configured to dynamically invoke a terminal adapter when needed. As another example, the functionality management module 116 may be configured to change codecs, sampling rates, speaker volume, translation functions, or some other functionality of the user device 104
  • The special communication needs module 120 may be provided to accommodate special communication needs of a user if such a user is detected as using the user device 104. For example, the special communication needs module 120 may operate in conjunction with the functionality management module 116 to further alter operations of the user device 104 if one or more users with special needs are detected as using the user device 104. Exemplary types of special needs users that may be accommodated by the special communication needs module 120 include, without limitation, sight-impaired users, color-blind users, hearing-impaired users, speech-impaired users, and combinations thereof. As a non-limiting example, the special communication needs module 120 may operate in conjunction with the functionality management module 116 to alter a feature of the user device 104 to accommodate two users where one user requires a TTY machine and the other does not. In particular, the special communication needs module 120 may cause the functionality management module 116 to connect the user device 104 with a terminal adapter to implement TTY functionality for the hearing-impaired user.
  • The multi-user enhanced feature module 124 may be provided as the module which interfaces the user detection module 136 and the functionality management module 116. In particular, the multi-user enhanced feature module 124 may be configured to automatically invoke the functionality management module 116 when multiple users are detected as sharing the user device 104 or when the population of users around the user device 104 changes. The multi-user enhanced feature module 124 may also be configured to determine the types of user device 104 function manipulations which are allowable (e.g., based on user rules or operating rules contained in the data structure 144) and enforce those rules as needed.
  • The data distribution module 128 is a module which is specially configured to control and manage the data distribution for the users sharing the user device 104. The data distribution module 128 may be configured to analyze the profiles, permissions, and other forms of data structures 144 associated with various users detected within proximity of the user device 104 and organize such data for efficient dissemination to other communicants or among the users sharing the user device 104. In some embodiments, the data distribution module 128 may also be configured to determine a context associated with multiple users sharing the user device 104 and retrieve data based on the determined context as well as condition the data for distribution in accordance with the determined context.
  • The user profile and preference retrieval module 132 is designed to retrieve the necessary profile and preference information for the users sharing the user device 104. In some embodiments, the user profile and preference retrieval module 132 is configured to determine the identity of each user sharing the user device 104, determine a location where each user's profile and preference information is maintained (e.g., in an enterprise database, in a remote data-storage directory, within the user device 104, from a SIM card being carried by the user, or on another user device), and retrieve such information. The user profile and preference retrieval module 132 may also be configured to format the data which it retrieves into the data structures 144 such that it can be used by the other modules in memory 112.
  • The user detection module 136 provides the user device 104 with the ability to detect one or more users within proximity of the user device 104 or actually sharing use of the user device 104. Although the user detection module 136 is depicted solely as residing in memory 112, one skilled in the art will appreciate that dedicated hardware components can also be provided to execute the user detection module 136. For example, if RFID detection methods are employed to detect the presence of a user within proximity of the user device 104, then known RFID hardware components (e.g., antennas, integrated circuits, Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabling components, etc.) may also be provided in the user device 104. As another example, the user detection module 136 may also employ a camera if facial recognition is being utilized to detect multiple users sharing the user device 104. The user detection module 136 may also be configured to detect when a user's personal mobile device has come within proximity of the user device 104 and retrieve data from a SIM card of the user's personal mobile device. This type of detection may be accomplished via known Bluetooth detection mechanisms.
  • However, the user detection module 136 as depicted may be configured to receive input from some other user-detection device and determine, based on that input, that multiple users are sharing the user device 104. The user detection module 136 may also be provided with the functionality to identify the users such that the other modules in memory 112 can retrieve the necessary data for those users.
  • The user presence module 140 is provided to detect presence information for users. In some embodiments, the user presence module 140 is configured to retrieve presence information for each user that is detected by the user detection module 136. In particular, the user presence module 140 may retrieve information related to whether a particular user is signed in to another user device, into a service (e.g., an IM service, a VoIP service, a P2P service, or the like), or currently in need of additional communication features. As an example, the user presence module 140 may detect that one of the users utilizing the user device 104 is currently signed into an IM service on another user device. This user's IM presence may be transferred to the shared user device 104 for as long as the user is utilizing the user device 104. This affords users with a greater flexibility in moving between user devices 104.
  • The memory 112 may also include a communication module, instead of one or more communication-based applications, which provides the communication functionality of the user device 104. In particular, the communication module may contain the functionality necessary to enable the user device 104 to communicate with other user devices 104 across a communication network. As such, the communication module may have the ability to access user communication preferences maintained within a locally-stored profile 144 (or remotely-stored profile), format communication packets for transmission via the network interface 168, as well as condition communication packets received at a network interface 168 for further processing by the processor 108.
  • In some embodiments, the data structure 144 is stored directly on the user device 104. In some embodiments, the data structure 144 may be stored by the enterprise and pushed to the user device 104 on an as-needed basis. The remote storage of the data structure 144 may occur on another user device or on a server. In some embodiments, a portion of the data structure 144 is stored locally on the user device 104 and another portion of the data structure 144 is stored at an enterprise and provided on an as-needed basis.
  • The network interface 168 comprises components for connecting the user device 104 to a communication network. In some embodiments, a single network interface 168 connects the user device to multiple networks. In some embodiments, a single network interface 168 connects the user device 104 to one network and an alternative network interface is provided to connect the user device 104 to another network.
  • The network interface 168 may comprise a communication modem, a communication port, or any other type of device adapted to condition packets for transmission across a communication network to a destination user device 104 as well as condition received packets for processing by the processor 108. Examples of network interfaces include, without limitation, a network interface card, a wireless transceiver, a modem, a wired telephony port, a serial or parallel data port, a radio frequency broadcast transceiver, a USB port, or other wired or wireless communication network interfaces.
  • The type of network interface 168 utilized may vary according to the type of network which the user device 104 is connected, if at all. Exemplary communication networks to which the user device 104 may connect via the network interface 168 include any type and any number of communication mediums and devices which are capable of supporting communication sessions, such as voice calls, video calls, chats, emails, TTY calls, multimedia sessions, or the like. In situations where the communication network is composed of multiple networks, each of the multiple networks may be provided and maintained by different network service providers. Alternatively, two or more of the multiple networks in the communication network may be provided and maintained by a common network service provider or a common enterprise in the case of a distributed enterprise network.
  • Exemplary types of communication networks include, without limitation, a Local Area Network (LAN), multiple LANs, a Wide Area Network (WAN), an enhanced IP-based network, a circuit-switched network, a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) network, the Internet, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) network, an Integrated Serviced Digital Network (ISDN), a cellular communications network (e.g., 3G, 4G, etc.), an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) network, or the like. In addition, it can be appreciated that the communication network need not be limited to any one network type, and instead may be comprised of a number of different networks and/or network types.
  • As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, functions offered by the modules depicted in FIG. 1 may be implemented in one or more network devices (i.e., servers, networked user device, non-networked user device, etc.). Additionally, although N users are depicted as sharing the user device 104, one skilled in the art will appreciate that advantages of the present invention can be realized when only two users are sharing the user device 104. Moreover, “sharing” of the user device 104 does not necessarily mean that two users are physically in front of the user device 104. Rather, one user may virtually share a user device 104 by connecting to the user device 104 via the network interface 168. The user detection module 136 may be configured to detect situations where a user is virtually sharing the user device 104 and may still cause the functionality management module 116 to alter some function of the user device 104 to accommodate the virtual sharing of the user device 104.
  • An embodiment of the data structure 144 is shown in FIG. 2. The data structure 144 can be stored in several different forms of databases, such as relational databases, flat files, object-oriented databases, etc. Thus, while the term “data field” or “segment” is used, the data may be stored in an object, an attribute of an object, or some other form of data structure. Further, the data structure 144 can be stored, retrieved, sent, or received during the processing communication session information by one or more of the modules discussed herein. The data structure 144 stores one or more items of information in one or more data fields. The numeric identifiers (e.g. 212, 216, etc.) shown in FIG. 2 can identify, in one or more fields or segments, either the data field or segment or the data stored in the data field or segment.
  • The data structure 144 may be separated into two or more portions, although such a separation is not required. For example, the data structure 144 may comprise a portion dedicated to each user detected as sharing the user device 104. As a simple case, this may include providing a first portion 204 for a first user and a second portion 208 for a second user, where the first and second users are detected as sharing the user device 104. More portions may be created if more than two users are detected as sharing the user device 104. Each portion can include one or more input segments, such as, input segment 1 212 and input segment 2 216, a rules segment 220, and a user communication preferences segment 224. Input segments each include one or more fields comprising the one or more inputs that may be required to determine user identity, user profile, etc. The input segments may include a user identity, a user's roaming profile, a user's communication history, a list of contacts, etc.
  • While there are only two input segments shown per-portion in FIG. 2, there may be more or fewer input segments associated with the data structure 144, as indicated by the ellipses.
  • The rules segment 220 can include one or more heuristic rules that either help with identifying when to enable a particular module or service or controlling a module or service once invoked. For example, the rule 220 can state that the data structure 144 or a user's portion thereof applies to a communication session only if the communication session includes input segment 1 212 but not input segment 2 216. One skilled in the art will be able to identify other types of rules that may govern the association of the data structure 144 with various types of data inputs created within the system 100 (e.g., location data inputs, presence data inputs, communication activity data inputs, device operation data inputs, etc.). Accordingly, multiple data structures 144, such as those depicted in FIG. 2, may be contained within memory 112. In some embodiments, each user may have their own dedicated data structure 144 rather than sharing a single data structure 144 among multiple users.
  • Generally, a user communication preferences segment 224 includes a list of user communication preferences for the user. In some embodiments, the user communication preferences segment 224 defines a user's outbound call-processing preferences, a user's inbound call-processing preferences, a user's multimedia communication preferences, a users general communication preferences, and the like that a user typically utilizes when they aren't sharing a user device 104 or when they are working on their main user device 104. The user communication preferences segment 224 may also contain data related to a user's communication preferences when they are sharing a user device 104. In some embodiments, the user communication preferences segment 224 may also define the manner in which data and certain types of communications are shared with other users. For example, a user may prefer to automatically distribute their virtual business card to other users when they are engaged in a communication session with such users. Such a distribution may occur over the communication channel being utilized to facilitate the communication session or the distribution may occur over a separate communication channel (e.g., an email may be used to share virtual business cards between participants of a voice call). As another example, a user may prefer to maintain their identity and data privately unless a specific command is given to share such data. As another example, a user may prefer to ask for virtual business cards from other communication session participants and only wants their information shared if they receive similar information from the other participants.
  • The user communication preferences segment 224 may also contain data related to a user's communication needs. For example, if a user is hearing-impaired, then such information may be contained in the user communication preferences segment 224 along with preferences for accommodating their condition. As another example, if a user speaks multiple languages, but has a preferred language, then that information may also be contained in the user communication preferences segment 224 to accommodate multi-lingual users sharing a user device 104. Any and all such user communication preferences may be provided as rules within the user interface preferences segment 224.
  • The data structure 144 may further contain an arbitration segment 228 which provides rules for arbitrating between inconsistencies in each user's user communication preferences segment 224. In some circumstances, it may be impossible for a user device 104 to accommodate two user's communication preferences simultaneously. This is where the arbitration segment 228 is referenced by the functionality management module 116 to determine exactly how the user device 104 should be controlled. In some embodiments, the arbitration segment 228 may provide rules which define that a particular user's communications preferences should be given priority over another user's communication preferences. In some embodiments, the arbitration segment 228 may provide rules which define that a lowest common preference or default preference should be user in the event of inconsistent preferences. The arbitration rules contained within the arbitration segment 228 may be as simple or as complex as desired to accommodate an efficient sharing of the user device 104 by multiple users.
  • With reference now to FIG. 3, an exemplary method of controlling a user interface 148 will be described in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention. The method begins at step 304 and continues when the user detection module 136 detects that two or more users are sharing the user device 104 (step 308). The user detection module 136 may also determine the identities of the users, if possible, within this step. The detection step may include detecting that two or more users are within proximity of the user device 104 (i.e., a predefined distance away from the user device) via RFID, SIM card, or facial recognition mechanisms. Alternatively, or in addition, the detection step may include detect that one or more users are attempting to virtually share resources of the user device 104 with another user who is also using physical resources of the user device 104. One or more of the sharing users do not necessarily have to be within physical proximity of the user device 104.
  • Based on the detection of multiple users, and possibly based on the identities of the users as well, the method continues with the multi-user enhanced feature module 124 determining if any enhanced or advanced features are to be offered to the users while the user device 104 is being shared (step 312). This step may involve querying the users via the user interface 148 as to whether or not a shared functionality is desired. In some embodiments, the determination of step 312 is performed automatically rather than asking for a user response before invoking the enhanced features of the present disclosure.
  • Thereafter, the user profile and preference retrieval module 132 and user presence module 140 are invoked such that each detected and identified user's profile, presence, and/or preference information is retrieved (step 316). Again, this step may be performed automatically if the modules 132, 140 know where such data can be obtained, have already been provided such data, or the like. However, this step may also be implemented with manual assistance by asking each user for their profile, presence, and/or preference information or by asking each user for where such data can be obtained.
  • All of the data obtained for each user is then utilized to construct the data structure(s) 144 that can be used by the other modules contained within memory 112. In particular, one or more of the functionality management module 116, special communication needs module 120, multi-user enhanced feature module 124, and data distribution module 128 may be invoked to provide enhanced features according to the combinations of the users' profile, presence, and/or preferences (step 320). One such feature involves obtaining and sharing user data for one user sharing the user device 104 with other users who are also sharing the user device 104 or involved in a communication session with the sharing users (step 324). In some embodiments, the functions of the user device 104 may also be automatically altered based on the fact that two or more users are sharing the user device 104. In some embodiments, the functions that are altered may include translation functions, data distribution functions, data retrieval functions, communication functions (e.g., utilization of a terminal adapter, utilization of a text-to-speech or speech-to-text adjunct, etc.), and the like. The manipulation of user device 104 functionality to accommodate a sharing of the user device 104 may continue for as long as the user device 104 is being shared. Certain environmental inputs, user inputs, and other actions (e.g., incoming calls, outbound calls, receiving text messages for one user but not the other, etc.) may cause the functionality management module 116 and the other modules in memory 112 to continually and dynamically update the operation of the user device 104. For example, an outbound call placed via the user device 104 while the user device 104 is being shared may result in each user's virtual business card being shared with the called party.
  • The user detection module 136 continues to monitor the user device 104 to determine if there has been a change in the user population that is sharing the user device 104 (step 328). If such a change is not detected, then the user detection module 136 will again check the utilization of the user device 104 to determine if new users have arrived or previous users have left (step 332). Once such a change is detected, the method returns back to step 316. If the determination of step 328 results in the user detection module 136 determining that only one user is using the user device 104, then the communications preferences for that single user will define how the user device 104 is operated. Otherwise, the user device 104 will be operated to accommodate a sharing of the user device 104.
  • Moreover, the monitoring and detecting step 328 and 332 may still be performed after the user device 104 is no longer being shared. This continuous monitoring allows the user detection module 136 to quickly identify when the user device 104 is being shared and react accordingly, thereby reducing the amount of delay between the time when users begin sharing the user device 104 and when the functionality of the user device 104 is altered for the multiple users.
  • In some embodiments, outputs of a shared device may be handled differently to allow far-end users (i.e., users not sharing a communication device but engaging in a communication session with some users who are sharing a communication device) to have the conference session altered. In particular, if a first and second user are sharing a first communication device and are engaging in a conference with a third user using a second communication device, then inputs from the first and second users may be treated differently than typical conference inputs. As one example, inputs from the first user may be provided to the third user by a first speaker of the second communication device whereas inputs from the second user may be provided to the third user by a second speaker of the second communication device. This type of user-differentiation allows the third user to appreciate that the first and second users are sharing a communication device and further allows the third user some control over inputs from the first and second users even though they are sharing a single communication device (e.g., by turning down speaker volume of the first speaker and not turning down speaker volume of the second speaker to possibly account for a softer speaking second user or louder speaking first user).
  • In the foregoing description, for the purposes of illustration, methods were described in a particular order. It should be appreciated that in alternate embodiments, the methods may be performed in a different order than that described. It should also be appreciated that the methods described above may be performed by hardware components or may be embodied in sequences of machine-executable instructions, which may be used to cause a machine, such as a general-purpose or special-purpose processor or logic circuits programmed with the instructions to perform the methods. These machine-executable instructions may be stored on one or more machine readable mediums, such as CD-ROMs or other type of optical disks, floppy diskettes, ROMs, RAMs, EPROMs, EEPROMs, magnetic or optical cards, flash memory, or other types of machine-readable mediums suitable for storing electronic instructions. Alternatively, the methods may be performed by a combination of hardware and software.
  • Specific details were given in the description to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments. However, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the embodiments may be practiced without these specific details. For example, circuits may be shown in block diagrams in order not to obscure the embodiments in unnecessary detail. In other instances, well-known circuits, processes, algorithms, structures, and techniques may be shown without unnecessary detail in order to avoid obscuring the embodiments.
  • Also, it is noted that the embodiments were described as a process which is depicted as a flowchart, a flow diagram, a data flow diagram, a structure diagram, or a block diagram. Although a flowchart may describe the operations as a sequential process, many of the operations can be performed in parallel or concurrently. In addition, the order of the operations may be re-arranged. A process is terminated when its operations are completed, but could have additional steps not included in the figure. A process may correspond to a method, a function, a procedure, a subroutine, a subprogram, etc. When a process corresponds to a function, its termination corresponds to a return of the function to the calling function or the main function.
  • Furthermore, embodiments may be implemented by hardware, software, firmware, middleware, microcode, hardware description languages, or any combination thereof. When implemented in software, firmware, middleware or microcode, the program code or code segments to perform the necessary tasks may be stored in a machine readable medium such as storage medium. A processor(s) may perform the necessary tasks. A code segment may represent a procedure, a function, a subprogram, a program, a routine, a subroutine, a module, a software package, a class, or any combination of instructions, data structures, or program statements. A code segment may be coupled to another code segment or a hardware circuit by passing and/or receiving information, data, arguments, parameters, or memory contents. Information, arguments, parameters, data, etc. may be passed, forwarded, or transmitted via any suitable means including memory sharing, message passing, token passing, network transmission, etc.
  • While illustrative embodiments of the invention have been described in detail herein, it is to be understood that the inventive concepts may be otherwise variously embodied and employed, and that the appended claims are intended to be construed to include such variations, except as limited by the prior art.

Claims (20)

1. A method, comprising:
detecting two or more users sharing a user device; and
in response to detecting the two or more users sharing the user device, altering a function of the user device such that the user device utilizes a multi-user rule set defining the operation of the function instead of a single-user rule set defining the operation of the function thereby accommodating a simultaneous use of the user device by the detected two or more users.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein detecting two or more users sharing the user device comprises detecting two or more users within proximity of the user device.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein the two or more users are detected by at least one of facial recognition, SIM card detection, and RFID detection.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the two or more users comprise a first user and a second users and wherein altering a function of the user device comprises at least one of (i) providing data to the second user that is associated with the first user and (ii) providing data to the first user that is associated with the second user.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the two or more users are involved in a communication session with a third user utilizing a separate user device and wherein at least one of the data associated with the first user and data associated with the second user is provided to the third user, wherein input from the first user is provided to the third user with a first speaker, and wherein input from the second user is provided to the third user with a second speaker.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein data associated with the first user is provided to the third user and wherein data associated with the second user is not provided to the third user.
7. The method of claim 5, further comprising:
retrieving a first set of data associated with the first user;
retrieving a second set of data associated with the second user; and
transmitting, via a network interface of the user device, both sets of data to the separate user device being utilized by the third user.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the first set of data comprises contact information for the first user and wherein the second set of data comprises contact information for the second user.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein altering a function of the user device comprises connecting the user device to a terminal adaptor.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
determining that a first of the two or more users has a special communications need;
identifying that a particular function of the user device is required to accommodate the special communication need; and
implementing the particular function as a part of altering a function of the user device.
11. A computer readable medium having stored thereon instructions that cause a computing system to execute a method, the instructions comprising:
instructions configured to detect two or more users sharing a user device; and
instructions configured to alter a function of the user device such that the user device utilizes a multi-user rule set defining the operation of the function instead of a single-user rule set defining the operation of the function thereby accommodating a simultaneous use of the user device by the detected two or more users.
12. The computer readable medium of claim 11, wherein detecting two or more users sharing the user device comprises detecting two or more users within proximity of the user device.
13. The computer readable medium of claim 11, wherein the two or more users comprise a first user and a second users and wherein altering a function of the user device comprises at least one of (i) providing data to the second user that is associated with the first user and (ii) providing data to the first user that is associated with the second user.
14. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the two or more users are involved in a communication session with a third user utilizing a separate user device and wherein at least one of the data associated with the first user and data associated with the second user is provided to the third user.
15. The computer readable medium of claim 11, wherein altering a function of the user device comprises connecting the user device to a terminal adaptor.
16. The computer readable medium of claim 11, wherein the instructions further comprise:
instructions configured to determine that a first of the two or more users has a special communications need;
instructions configured to identify that a particular function of the user device is required to accommodate the special communication need; and
instructions configured to implement the particular function as a part of altering a function of the user device.
17. A user device, comprising:
a user detection module configured to detect two or more users sharing a user device; and
a functionality management module configured to alter a function of the user device such that the user device utilizes a multi-user rule set defining the operation of the function instead of a single-user rule set defining the operation of the function thereby accommodating a simultaneous use of the user device by the detected two or more users.
18. The user device of claim 17, wherein the two or more users are virtually sharing the user device.
19. The user device of claim 17, wherein the two or more users are physically sharing the user device.
20. The user device of claim 17, wherein the two or more users comprise a first user and a second users and wherein altering a function of the user device comprises at least one of (i) providing data to the second user that is associated with the first user and (ii) providing data to the first user that is associated with the second user.
US12/861,623 2009-08-21 2010-08-23 User detection for enhanced conferencing services Abandoned US20110047242A1 (en)

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US12/861,623 US20110047242A1 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-08-23 User detection for enhanced conferencing services

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US12/623,427 Active 2032-06-20 US9277021B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2009-11-22 Sending a user associated telecommunication address
US12/645,933 Active 2031-11-20 US8380805B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2009-12-23 Peer-to-peer mixing system and method
US12/791,662 Active 2031-02-07 US8432825B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-06-01 Switching communications between different networks based on device capabilities
US12/795,127 Active 2031-07-14 US8645840B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-06-07 Multiple user GUI
US12/822,632 Abandoned US20110046939A1 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-06-24 Alerting of language preference and translating across language boundaries
US12/828,423 Expired - Fee Related US8629895B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-01 Camera-based facial recognition or other single/multiparty presence detection as a method of effecting telecom device alerting
US12/835,016 Active 2033-11-23 US9729392B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-13 Intelligent message manager
US12/835,021 Active 2033-03-02 US8909243B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-13 Cast-to-call
US12/837,207 Active 2031-03-15 US8332476B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-15 Social network virtual private network
US12/837,275 Active 2030-12-08 US8489646B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-15 Drag and drop importation of content
US12/837,312 Abandoned US20110044444A1 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-15 Multiple user identity and bridge appearance
US12/836,752 Active 2030-12-04 US8488760B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-15 Call routing or escalation based on the identity, role or urgency of the calling or communicating party
US12/838,242 Active 2031-06-16 US8909693B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-16 Telephony discovery mashup and presence
US12/922,829 Active 2030-09-14 US9237200B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-08-17 Seamless movement between phone and PC with regard to applications, display, information transfer or swapping active device
US12/861,623 Abandoned US20110047242A1 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-08-23 User detection for enhanced conferencing services
US12/861,660 Active 2031-07-22 US8630968B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-08-23 Selective content block of posts to social network
US14/961,313 Abandoned US20160087836A1 (en) 2009-08-21 2015-12-07 Seamless movement between phone and pc with regard to applications, display, information transfer or swapping active device

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US12/623,427 Active 2032-06-20 US9277021B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2009-11-22 Sending a user associated telecommunication address
US12/645,933 Active 2031-11-20 US8380805B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2009-12-23 Peer-to-peer mixing system and method
US12/791,662 Active 2031-02-07 US8432825B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-06-01 Switching communications between different networks based on device capabilities
US12/795,127 Active 2031-07-14 US8645840B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-06-07 Multiple user GUI
US12/822,632 Abandoned US20110046939A1 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-06-24 Alerting of language preference and translating across language boundaries
US12/828,423 Expired - Fee Related US8629895B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-01 Camera-based facial recognition or other single/multiparty presence detection as a method of effecting telecom device alerting
US12/835,016 Active 2033-11-23 US9729392B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-13 Intelligent message manager
US12/835,021 Active 2033-03-02 US8909243B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-13 Cast-to-call
US12/837,207 Active 2031-03-15 US8332476B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-15 Social network virtual private network
US12/837,275 Active 2030-12-08 US8489646B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-15 Drag and drop importation of content
US12/837,312 Abandoned US20110044444A1 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-15 Multiple user identity and bridge appearance
US12/836,752 Active 2030-12-04 US8488760B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-15 Call routing or escalation based on the identity, role or urgency of the calling or communicating party
US12/838,242 Active 2031-06-16 US8909693B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-07-16 Telephony discovery mashup and presence
US12/922,829 Active 2030-09-14 US9237200B2 (en) 2009-08-21 2010-08-17 Seamless movement between phone and PC with regard to applications, display, information transfer or swapping active device

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US14/961,313 Abandoned US20160087836A1 (en) 2009-08-21 2015-12-07 Seamless movement between phone and pc with regard to applications, display, information transfer or swapping active device

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EP (2) EP2302515A3 (en)
JP (3) JP2013502828A (en)
KR (2) KR20110020217A (en)
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