US20120208495A1 - System and method for monitoring account usage on a platform - Google Patents

System and method for monitoring account usage on a platform Download PDF

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US20120208495A1
US20120208495A1 US13/167,569 US201113167569A US2012208495A1 US 20120208495 A1 US20120208495 A1 US 20120208495A1 US 201113167569 A US201113167569 A US 201113167569A US 2012208495 A1 US2012208495 A1 US 2012208495A1
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account
usage
application
platform
method
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US13/167,569
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Jeffrey G. Lawson
John Wolthuis
Evan Mansfield Cooke
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Twilio Inc
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Twilio Inc
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/70Administration or customization aspects; Counter-checking correct charges
    • H04M15/77Administration or customization aspects; Counter-checking correct charges involving multiple accounts per user
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/02Details
    • H04L12/14Metering, charging or billing arrangements specially adapted for data wireline or wireless communications
    • H04L12/1403Architecture for metering, charging or billing
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/02Details
    • H04L12/14Metering, charging or billing arrangements specially adapted for data wireline or wireless communications
    • H04L12/1442Metering, charging or billing arrangements specially adapted for data wireline or wireless communications at network operator level
    • H04L12/1446Metering, charging or billing arrangements specially adapted for data wireline or wireless communications at network operator level inter-operator billing
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M15/00Arrangements for metering, time-control or time indication ; Metering, charging or billing arrangements for voice wireline or wireless communications, e.g. VoIP
    • H04M15/82Criteria or parameters used for performing billing operations
    • H04M15/8278Event based
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/24Accounting or billing

Abstract

A system and method for monitoring account usage on a platform that includes creating an account on a platform; assigning a usage model of the account; running an application of the account on the platform; monitoring usage of the application of the account; identifying a usage event of the usage model in the monitored usage; and generating an event response based on the usage event.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/357,940 filed 23 Jun. 2010, titled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MANAGING TELEPHONY APPLICATION ACCOUNTS”, which is incorporated in its entirety by this reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This invention relates generally to the platform as a service field, and more specifically to a new and useful method for monitoring account usage on a platform in the platform as a service field.
  • BACKGROUND
  • In recent years, numerous new platform-as-a-service product offerings have appeared. Many of these platforms require creating an account, and sometimes when another product is leveraging the platform this account may have subaccounts. Thus, in the use of an application there may be numerous involved entities such as an account holder, a sub-account holder, a platform as a service entity, and a client. Additionally, such ecosystems sometimes require payment to be exchanged between parties, but the complicated relationships between the different parties make carrying out such payments cumbersome and difficult. In some cases, such complications prevent certain products from being viable. In particular, telephone and telephony messaging services are becoming more integrated with web-based applications. Many of these services are built on telephony application platforms. To build an application on the telephony application often requires creating an account with the telephony application platform. Because of the resources required to operate a telephony application platform, accounts often have to pay for a usage plan. This complicates the development and distribution options of application developers when trying to sell their applications/services built on top of a telephony application platform. Each customer of a developer impacts the amount of resources used on the telephony application platform, and thus impacts which usage plan for the developer is most appropriate. Not only must an application developer charge a customer for use of their application but the developer must also interface with the telephony application platform. Thus, there is a need in the platform as a service field to create a new and useful system and method for monitoring an account on a platform. This invention provides such a new and useful system and method.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • FIGS. 1 and 2 are a schematic representations of systems of preferred embodiments;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of a method of a preferred embodiment;
  • FIG. 4 is a detailed schematic representation of defining a unique mapping between an application of an account a platform endpoint of a preferred embodiment;
  • FIG. 5 is a detailed schematic representation of assigning a usage model of a preferred embodiment;
  • FIG. 6 is a detailed schematic representation of redirecting an application in series with the running of an application of a preferred embodiment;
  • FIG. 7 is a detailed schematic representation of redirecting an application in parallel with the running of an application of a preferred embodiment;
  • FIG. 8 is a detailed schematic representation of accessing account information of a preferred embodiment;
  • FIGS. 9 and 10 are schematic representations of a method of a preferred embodiment;
  • FIG. 11 is an exemplary schematic representation of redirecting a sub-account of a preferred embodiment; and
  • FIG. 12 is a detailed schematic representation of charging for sub-account usage of a preferred embodiment.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The following description of the preferred embodiments of the invention is not intended to limit the invention to these preferred embodiments, but rather to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use this invention.
  • 1. System for Monitoring an Account on a Platform
  • As shown in FIG. 1, a system for monitoring an account on a platform of the preferred embodiment includes an account system no with at least one account resource 112 with a usage model 114; an application platform 120, that includes a usage monitoring engine 122; and a platform application programming interface (API) 130. The system functions to allow usage triggered processing to occur for applications of an account. The system enables customized application behavior specific for an account. The system has particular application to a computing platform utilized by application developers that create application instances for users. Additionally the system may be designed for an account system with parent accounts that have a plurality of sub-accounts. In this variation, the system enables a reseller system where developers can seamlessly distribute telephony applications to customers (i.e., sub-accounts) while using resources of a computing platform. The system preferably enables a partitioning of usage, where account usage (or sub-accounts in some variations) is preferably tracked and treated independently from other accounts. In one preferred embodiment, the system is applied to a telephony application platform. The system can preferably be used to offer a reseller environment where a company can develop an application on top of a telephony application platform no and sell that to end users. The system may alternatively be used for any suitable application.
  • The account system no of the preferred embodiment functions to manage account resources with application instances run on the application platform 120. The account system preferably includes a plurality of accounts 112. An account 112 preferably has an accessible interface for outside control of functionality within the application platform 120. Each account preferably has an associated application and a usage model 114. In some variations the application may be thought of as an account, For example, obtaining an application from an application store implicitly creates a usage model account for that application instance. A usage model 114 for the account preferably determines the pricing for use of the application platform 120, but may alternatively be for any usage-based behavior such as logging. A usage model can preferably be used to specify usage event parameters. For example, setting a usage model of 1000 minutes of application session use for an agreed upon price will preferably set a usage event parameter of 1000 minutes. The usage event parameter is used to determine when a usage event is triggered. An instance of an application is preferably devoted to use by the account or a sub-account. The instance of the application preferably has a separate endpoint associated with the application instance of the account resource 112. If the application has any settings or configuration, the application instance preferably has customized settings or configuration. Alternatively, the account system 110 may include parent accounts 116 with a plurality of sub-accounts 118 as shown in FIG. 2. The sub-accounts 118 preferably function substantially similar to the accounts 112 discussed above except a parent account may control aspects of the application instance and/or setting of the usage model 114. A parent account and a sub-account may both have a usage model 114. The account resource 112 and/or parent accounts 116 and sub-accounts 118 are preferably created, retrieved, updated, deleted, or manipulated in any suitable way through the platform API, more preferably a representational state transfer (REST) API.
  • A parent account resource 116 is preferably created when an application developer signs up for or registers for an account on the application platform 120. A parent account resource is preferably a high level account that configures applications for a plurality of other accounts (i.e., sub-accounts). The parent account may set the usage model between the application developer and the application platform operator. When the usage events are used for billing the difference between the usage model of the parent account and the sub-account preferably determines the cost or profits of the parent account entity. While the usage model of the parent account determines the revenue of the application platform. A parent account resource 116 is preferably created through a web interface, but a parent account may alternatively be created programmatically through the platform API 130. The parent account resource 116 is preferably a data store of settings for the parent account. The parent account resource 116 is preferably used to manage configuration of an application such as the URI of an application, usage model (e.g., pricing for usage), usage amounts, billing information, and/or any suitable setting of the parent account. The usage model for the parent account resource 116 is preferably determined by the application platform provider. The parent account resource 116 preferably includes at least one sub-account resource 118. The sub-account resource 118 is preferably used by an application developer to configure operation of a sub-account within the account.
  • The sub-account resource 118 of the preferred embodiment functions as an instance of an application of the parent account. The sub-account resource 118 is preferably a data store of settings for the sub-account. A usage model 114 for the parent account 116 preferably determines the pricing for use of the main account application. In other words, the usage model for the sub-account is preferably for use by a customer of both the telephony application platform and the application/service of the account holder. For example, a company selling a telephony based product such as a phone tree to route callers to different departments may have an account on a telephony application platform. The company will preferably have a plurality of sub-accounts for customers using the phone tree product. Each sub-account will preferably have customized settings to determine where to route calls. There may additionally be numerous applications provided by the account holder so that sub-accounts may have a completely different application from another sub-account holder.
  • The application platform 120 of the preferred embodiment functions to provide the application processing functionality for an application. The application platform is preferably a platform as a service computing platform. The application is preferably remotely hosted at a URI, but the application may alternatively be stored or hosted within the application platform. The application platform is preferably a telecommunications platform and more preferably a telephony application platform, but may alternatively be any suitable platform, such as a media processing platform, an analytics platform, a storage/processing platform or any suitable platform. A telecommunications platform may involve application use of voice, video, or messaging communication. The telephony application platform 110 of the preferred embodiment functions to provide core functionality of a telephony application. A telephony application preferably incorporates interaction between a web application and a telephone network. A telephony application platform no may additionally or alternatively support application integration with a telephony messaging network such as short message short message service (SMS) or multimedia messaging service (MMS), fax, email, video, and/or any suitable network. The telephony application platform preferably includes the hardware such as a call router and/or software stacks required to operate a telephony application. The telephony application platform 110 is preferably substantially similar to the platform described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/417,630, filed on 2 Apr. 2009 and entitled “System and Method for Processing Telephony Sessions”, which is incorporated in its entirety by this reference, but may alternatively be any suitable telephony platform.
  • The application platform 120 preferably includes a usage monitoring engine 122, which functions to monitor and detect usage events of a usage model. The usage monitoring engine preferably runs in the background on the application platform 120 during normal operation. The usage events are preferably time based, but may alternatively be a pattern of execution in an application or any suitable detectable event of an application. A usage event dependent on time based parameters may depend on a time rate parameter (e.g., $0.10/min). In the example where there is a per minute charge, if funds are reached or a particular total amount is reached then a usage event occurs. A usage event dependent on time base parameters may alternatively depend on a time span of allowed usage. For example, a usage may be allowed for a month. When the end of that time span is reached or approaches neat, a usage event may occur. A usage event that is dependent on data-use parameter is another alternative. Data-use is preferably a count related to the application. Data-use may include the amount of data transferred, the number of messages sent, the number of sessions, or any suitable data related parameter. The usage monitoring engine 122 preferably detects a usage event and then triggers a change in the application platform (i.e., redirects) to communicate with a routine to handle the event. The application platform 120 may additionally include a billing engine that manages billing and calculation of appropriate transactions to occur between account holders and the application platform operators. In particular, the billing engine calculates the appropriate transactions with a parent account holder which includes the sum total of usage of all sub-accounts based on the usage model of the parent account offset by sum total of usage of all sub-accounts based on the usage model of the individual sub-accounts.
  • The platform application programming interface (API) 130 of the preferred embodiment functions to provide a programmatic way to interface with a account resource 112 of the account system no. The platform API can preferably create, read, update, delete or perform any suitable manipulation to parameters of an account resource 112. The platform API can preferably allocate new sub-account resources 118, setup an instance of an application for a sub-account, assign a phone number or allocate a new phone number for an account or sub-account, retrieve usage of an account, set a usage model/pricing of an account, parent account and/or sub-account, perform any suitable interaction with resources of the telephony application platform. The platform API 120 is preferably a REST API but any suitable API may alternatively be used such as a simple object access protocol (SOAP). An account holder can preferably programmatically interface with the account resource 112 through the platform API. The resources are preferably accessible with the API through an outside channel, but may alternatively be an internal programming interface for applications running within the platform. Similarly a parent account holder can preferably interface with the parent account resource 116 and sub-account resources 118 through the platform API. This preferably allows for more integration between an application of an account holder and the application platform 120, rather than requiring an account holder to manually create accounts through a web interface or have the application of the account reside within the application platform 120, though those options may alternatively be available. For example, an application of a parent account holder may have a new customer signup for a phone tree product. The customer may signup through an outside website operated by the parent account holder. The website of the account holder preferably initiates a REST API request to access the parent account resource 116 of the parent account holder and add a sub-account resource 118 for the new customer. A new phone number may be dynamically assigned for the sub-account resource, and the website of the parent account holder can preferably request the new phone number using the REST API, and then inform the customer of the new phone number. The customer preferably never has to be bothered with interfacing with the telephony application platform 110.
  • 2. Method for Monitoring an Account on a Platform
  • As shown in FIG. 3, a method S100 for monitoring an account on a platform of a preferred embodiment includes creating an account on a telephony application platform S110, assigning a usage model to the account S120, running an application of the account on the platform S136, monitoring usage of the application of the account S140; identifying a usage event of the usage model in the monitored usage S150; and generating an event response based on an event of the usage model S160. The method functions to enable performing account specific tasks based on usage by the account. In one embodiment, the method is applied to enable accounts to have billing tasks performed. The method may additionally function to enable developers of applications to customize behavior of an application on a platform and may further customize the monitoring and behavior based on the account holder of an application. In one example, a developer of an application may set up the redirection of an application to trigger billing of the account holder. In another example, a developer of an application may set up the redirection of an application to send a notification to an account holder which may be used for billing reminders, usage warnings, usage logging, or any suitable application. The method is preferably implemented for a telephony platform. The telephony platform preferably enables telephony with integration to voice communication, a telephony messaging service (e.g., SMS or MMS), fax, email, or any suitable network. The method may alternatively be applied to any suitable computing platform. As an additional alternative, the method may be configured to function with parent accounts and sub-accounts as described below in method S200.
  • Step S110, which includes creating an account on a telephony application platform, functions to create an instance of an application for use by an account holder. As shown in FIG. 4, an account preferably defines a unique mapping between an application of the account and a platform endpoint. The platform endpoint is preferably any suitable addressable location. The platform endpoint is preferably a unique endpoint. In one embodiment with a telephony platform, the platform endpoint is a phone number, but may alternatively be a SMS short code, fax number, email, or any suitable telephony address. In one variation, the phone number may be a shared base phone number with an extension. When creating an account, a platform endpoint is preferably assigned to the application of the account. Additionally, step S120 may include allocating a new platform endpoint for use by the account. A pool of unused platform endpoints (e.g., phone numbers) is preferably maintained by the computing platform so that a platform endpoint can be allocated to an account instantly. In one embodiment described in the method S200 below, the account may be configured as a sub-account of a parent account. In this variation, there may be several instances of an application belonging to various accounts, and all these application instances and accounts are created and/or maintained by a parent account. Additionally, application settings of an account are preferably created when creating an account. The application settings may be settings with the computing platform or alternatively settings residing on an application of a parent account. An account is preferably created through the platform API, and more preferably a REST API. The account may alternatively be created in any suitable fashion such as a web-interface. Creating an account through an API may function to allow parent accounts (e.g., customers) to dynamically manage sub-accounts. An account may alternatively be automatically created upon delivering an application to a client. For example, an account (or application associated record) may be created when a client downloads or purchases an application. The application may facilitate the completion of account parameters such as by requiring platform account information or providing a form to acquire the required parameters.
  • Step S120, which includes assigning a usage model to the account, functions to determine the usage model for an account. The usage model can preferably be based on call session time, number of telephony messages, data access, usage periods (e.g., unlimited for a month), rate limits (e.g., maximum number of simultaneous calls or number of calls per day), or any suitable parameter. A usage model may be fixed for an application (e.g., set by a developer), and a user preferably accepts or rejects the fixed usage model. Actions can preferably be assigned for usage events. Preferably, an action is set by specifying a URI for a redirecting event response. The platform will preferably fetch or message the specified URI when an event occurs. Application logic is preferably included in the resource at the specified URI to perform the suitable action. Alternatively, an application process is specified that can be called when an event occurs. As another variation, various platform-provided actions may be offered to perform a particular type of action. Usage events are preferably stages of usage of an account preferably before a threshold, at a threshold, or after a threshold. Exemplary usage events preferably include passing a usage limit, approaching a new billing period, or any suitable threshold related to usage. For example, an email notification action may be set to be sent to the account holder five days before a new billing period. The usage model and/or usage events can preferably be manipulated or set through the API, as shown in FIG. 5, but may alternatively be created through a web-interface or through any suitable interface.
  • Step S130, which includes running an application of the account on the platform, functions to operate the application through the computing platform. Running an application preferably includes communication between an application resource and a system of the platform. Instructions and information are preferably passed back and forth between the application and the computing platform. The application is preferably a remotely hosted resource such as on an application server of a developer. The application preferably resides at a URI to which the platform addresses communications. The application logic may alternatively be stored within the application. An application preferably runs on the platform when the platform is initiated to communicate with the application by an incoming communication addressed to the endpoint assigned to the application. Alternatively, the application server may initiate communication with the computing platform. In a preferred embodiment the computing platform is preferably a telephony platform. Phone calls, SMS messages, MMS messages, faxes or any suitable communication is received by the telephony platform; the telephony platform retrieves instructions from an application based on the endpoint (e.g., phone number) of the received communication; and then the instructions are run on the telephony platform to interact with the entity that send the original communication.
  • Step S140 and Step S150, which include monitoring usage of the application of the account and identifying a usage event of the usage model in the monitored usage; functions to track at least one parameter necessary to assess the usage model and determine when events relevant to the usage model occur. The monitoring is preferably performed by the platform on behalf of the application. this preferably centralizes the usage event management, alleviating developers of this task. The monitoring of usage keeps track of at least the parameters relating to the usage model. Additional parameters may additionally be tracked. The usage is preferably stored in a log, as attributes of the account, or any suitable manner. The monitoring of usage is preferably a count of usage. For example, the amount of time, number of occurrences (e.g., of using a resource or other actions), amount of data sent, amount of data received, number of API calls, and/or any suitable parameter may be tracked. Additionally or alternatively, the occurrences of isolated events may be monitored. The pattern of operations of an application may be monitored to detect a pattern or a number of various patterns. For example when a particular series of instructions happen and match a specified pattern, a usage event is preferably identified and the application redirected. The monitoring of an application is preferably performed by the computing platform but may alternatively be performed by any suitable system. The usage model preferably determines particular thresholds and/or patterns corresponding to a usage event and that require a redirection of the application. These threshold and/or patterns that correspond to a usage event may be explicitly set in the usage model or may be based on information provided in the usage model. The usage event corresponds to how to redirect an application. While monitoring the usage of the application, the current usage is preferably compared to these thresholds and/or patterns.
  • Step S160, which includes generating an event response based on an event of the usage model, functions to perform an action as a result of usage of an application. The generation of an event may be any suitable action. In one preferred variation, the event response is preferably redirecting the application. In a second variation, the event response is preferably ceasing or shutting off usage of the application. This preferably prevents usage of the platform by the application until further actions are taken. This may be accomplished through changing a policy engine, authorization settings, or through any suitable technique. In another variation, the event response is preferably recharging of an account. This may include automatically billing an account, deducting from credit of an account, or through any suitable way. In yet another variation, the event response is preferably the sending of a notification. The notification is preferably sent to the account holder/application owner. The generating of an event response is preferably initiated by a usage event, such as passing a threshold based on the usage model, but may alternatively be triggered through pattern detection or through any suitable form of triggering. A usage event and associated actions are preferably set when assigning a usage model but may alternatively be set by default. There may a plurality of possible usage events, and each one preferably is associated with specified way to generating an event response. In the variation where an application each event response preferably has a unique redirection URI leading to an application. The application is preferably redirected to a URI. The computing platform preferably operates by communicating with the application at a specified URI, and redirecting to a URI gives an application at that URI the ability to run and/or interact with the computing platform The URI is preferably defined by a developer of the application, a parent account holder, the computing platform, or any suitable entity. A default URI may alternatively be used. The URI preferably includes a script or program to perform the desired action of the account holder or parent-account holder as shown in FIG. 6. In one example, when an account nears a usage limit, a HTTP POST to a URI preferably initiates sending a billing reminder to the account holder. In other variations, the event response is performed from an internal module without any redirection to an external URI. The redirection may be performed serially or in parallel with operation of the application. A serial operation preferably interrupts call flow by the application (i.e., takes control of the application instance) and performs some action as shown in FIG. 6. The regular application may regain application control at the end of the action, or the application may terminate. For example, a serial operation may interrupt a phone call after the usage limit is passed; an audio message is played that informs the listener of surpassed usage; and then call ends. A parallel operation preferably performs some action concurrently during regular application control flow as shown in FIG. 7. A parallel operation preferably performs in the background. For example, a parallel operation may send a message to a server that sends a notification email to the sub-account holder.
  • As shown in FIG. 8, the method may additionally include accessing account information S170, which functions to enable programmatically interacting with account and sub-account resources. Accessing account information is preferably programmatically performed through the platform API to monitor, retrieve, and/or set account and sub-account details. Overall usage information of an account can preferably be retrieved. Preferably any settings of the account are preferably controllable through the platform API. For example, a usage model can preferably be assigned. The platform API is preferably substantially similar to the platform API described above, and is preferably a REST API.
  • 3. Method for Monitoring Sub-Accounts on a Platform
  • As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, a method S200 of a preferred embodiment preferably includes the steps creating a parent account on an application platform S205, creating a sub-account of the parent account S210, assigning a usage model to the sub-account S220, running an application of the sub-account on the platform S230, monitoring usage of the application of the sub-account S240; identifying a usage event of the usage model in the monitored usage S250; and generating an event response based on an event of the usage model S260. The method functions to enable an application to be developed by an account holder and instantiated in various sub-accounts. The method further functions to alleviate parent account holders from managing usage of sub-accounts on the telephony application platform. The method can preferably be adjusted to initiate any suitable action when redirecting. In one preferred variation, the method functions to simplify the billing of telephony application users or create billing notifications. The method is preferably used to implement a reselling environment for a telephony application platform, but may be used for any suitable alternative application. An instance of an application of the parent account is preferably used by the sub-account. Additionally, the parent account may have several applications from which a sub-account may select one or more. The method S200 is preferably substantially similar to method S100 except as noted below. In particular, Steps S210, S220, S230, S240, S250, and S260 are sustainably similar to Steps S110, S120, S130, S140, S150, and S160. The sub-accounts of S200 are preferably substantially similar to the accounts of S100. For example, as shown in FIG. 11, a sub-account may be redirected for billing of telephony application users, creating billing notifications, and/or performing any suitable usage based action. Sub-accounts preferably have a parent-account, which may be used to set some of the parameters, and may have control over the instance of the application used by the sub-account holder. Any suitable combination of additional steps or variations of S100 and S200 may be used.
  • Step S205, which includes creating a parent account on a telephony application platform, functions to define a main account used by a developer for managing an application and customers using the application. The parent account is preferably created by an entity that will manage the applications and sub-accounts. The parent account preferably defines the application(s) settings for sub-accounts. Creating a parent account preferably includes assigning a usage model for the parent account. The usage model of the parent account is preferably the rate at which the computing platform (e.g., a telephony application platform) earns revenue as described below. The usage model may be based on any suitable parameters of use such as call session time, number of telephony messages, data access, usage periods (e.g., unlimited for a month), rate limits (e.g., maximum number of simultaneous calls or number of calls per day), or any suitable parameter. Additionally, the parent account usage model can have partitions of rates for different sub-accounts. For example, one type of sub-account may have lower use (e.g., low volume of calls) so a different usage model is preferably used, while a second type of sub-account uses lots of resources (e.g., a high volume of calls) so a different usage model is preferably used for this type of sub-account. Any suitable revenue model may alternatively be used. The usage of the parent account and any sub-accounts is preferably counted as usage by the parent account. The parent account is preferably created through a web interface, but may alternatively be created through a platform API substantially similar to the platform API described for the system above. The account preferably defines authentication parameters for which a parent account holder can programmatically interface with the telephony application platform, such as when creating sub-accounts or configuring an application.
  • In Step S220, which includes assigning a usage model to the sub-account S220, functions to assign a specific usage model to a sub-account of a parent account. The parent account may have a plurality of sub-accounts, and each sub-account may have a unique usage model. The parent account can set a usage model for a sub-account. In one variation, a sub-account holder determines parameters of the usage model through a configuration application of the parent account holder. The configuration application preferably communicates the usage model parameters to the computing platform through an API to assign a usage model to the sub-account. Alternatively, a sub-account holder may set the usage model directly through any suitable means such as a user interface. A usage model of a sub-account preferably accounts for the use of application/service of the account holder and of the telephony application platform. The usage model of the account is preferably different from the account, but may be a substantially similar usage model as the account. Typically, the usage model of a sub-account has a higher price rate for the combined use of the telephony application platform and the application/service of the account holder. The usage model may alternatively cover just the usage cost of the telephony application platform or even subsidize the use of the telephony application platform, such as if the account generates revenue through different means.
  • S200 may additionally include accessing account information S270, which functions to enable programmatically interacting with parent account and sub-account resources. This is preferably substantially similar to Step S170 described above. Accessing account information is preferably programmatically performed through the platform API to monitor, retrieve, and/or set account and sub-account details. Overall usage information of a parent account can preferably be retrieved. Information for sub-accounts may alternatively be retrieved. Preferably any settings of the parent account or sub-account are preferably controllable through the platform API. The platform API is preferably substantially similar to the platform API described above, and is preferably a REST API.
  • As shown in FIG. 12, the method may additionally include charging for sub-account usage S280, which functions to reduce billing complexity of an application platform. Step S280 additionally functions to create a centralized and automated billing process so that holders of accounts preferably do not manage bill collection from sub-account holders and paying computing platform operators for usage of the parent account. The computing platform preferably automates the billing process and usage tracking such that the account holder and sub-account holders are endpoints of transaction, and the telephony application platform preferably acts as a middle man. Step S280 preferably includes setting a telephony application platform usage model for an account holder, charging sub-accounts for usage plans S282, and completing a transaction with the parent account by factoring sub-account usage rates and parent account usage rates S284. The setting of a computing platform usage model for a parent account holder is preferably performed in Step S205, but may be performed at any suitable time. The computing platform preferably collects funds from sub-account holders. The computing platform may alternatively interface with an account holder system for charging the sub-accounts. Interfacing with an account holder system preferably enables a customer (i.e., sub-account holder) to interface only with the parent account holder. An oauth system or any suitable authentication service is preferably used to automate charging a sub-account through an outside application such as one managed by the parent account manager. This preferably functions to create the appearance of a parent account holder managing billing of a sub-account holder, but the telephony application platform preferably manages the calculations. When completing a transaction with a parent account holder, there may be a number of different situations depending on the usage model of the parent account and the sub-account. In one situation where a sub-account usage model has a higher price rate than the usage model of the parent account holder, an appropriate portion of money collected from the sub-account holders is preferably transferred to the account holder. The telephony app platform preferably withholds a portion of revenue for providing the telephony app platform, which is preferably determined by the parent account usage model. In another situation where the parent account holder sets the usage model of the sub-accounts at a lower price rate (or even free use of the telephone application/service), the parent account holder is preferably charged for the resource use of all sub-accounts according to the usage model of the parent account holder. This variation may occur if the application/service provided by the account holder made revenue in some other fashion such as through ad revenue.
  • An alternative embodiment preferably implements the above methods in a computer-readable medium storing computer-readable instructions. The instructions are preferably executed by computer-executable components preferably integrated with a computing platform. The computer-readable medium may be stored on any suitable computer readable media such as RAMs, ROMs, flash memory, EEPROMs, optical devices (CD or DVD), hard drives, floppy drives, or any suitable device. The computer-executable component is preferably a processor but the instructions may alternatively or additionally be executed by any suitable dedicated hardware device.
  • As a person skilled in the art will recognize from the previous detailed description and from the figures and claims, modifications and changes can be made to the preferred embodiments of the invention without departing from the scope of this invention defined in the following claims.

Claims (22)

1. A method for monitoring account usage on a platform comprising:
creating an account on a platform;
assigning a usage model to an application of the account;
running the application of the account on the platform;
the platform monitoring usage of the application of the account;
identifying a usage event of the usage model in the monitored usage; and
generating an event response based on the usage event.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the platform is a telecommunications platform.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein identifying the usage event includes detecting when a usage parameter passes a usage threshold that is set through the usage model.
4. The method of claim 2, wherein identifying the usage event includes detecting a pattern of application execution.
5. The method of claim 2, wherein generating a usage event includes deactivating usage by the account.
6. The method of claim 2, wherein generating a usage event includes sending a notification to an account holder.
7. The method of claim 2, wherein generating a usage event includes automatically billing a user account for more usage.
8. The method of claim 2, wherein generating a usage event includes messaging a URI specified for the usage event.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the URI specified for the usage event directs application control to a billing application.
10. The method of claim 8, wherein the URI specified for a usage event activates a notification application.
11. The method of claim 2 wherein the usage event is dependent on a time-rate based parameter for sessions with the application.
12. The method of claim 2, wherein the usage event is dependent on a time span of allowed usage of the application.
13. The method of claim 2, wherein the usage event is dependent on a data-use based parameter.
14. A method for monitoring account usage on a platform
creating a parent account on a platform;
creating a sub-account of the parent account;
assigning a usage model to an application of at least the sub-account;
running the application of the sub-account on the platform;
monitoring usage of the application of the sub-account;
identifying a usage event of the usage model in the monitored usage; and
generating an event response based on the usage event.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein the platform is a telecommunications platform.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein the parent account has at least two sub-accounts and a unique usage model is assigned to each sub-account.
17. The method of claim 15, further comprising assigning a usage model to the parent account, and wherein generating an event response based on the usage event includes activating a billing process and transferring funds to an entity.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the transferred funds are dependent on the difference in the sub-account usage model and the parent account usage model.
19. A system for monitoring account usage on a platform comprising:
an application platform that runs an application and that includes
an account system including a plurality of account resources with a usage model, wherein the usage model includes at least one usage event parameter; and
a usage monitoring engine configured for processing usage of an application of an account; and
a platform application programming interface (API) that interfaces with account resources and usage models of the application platform.
20. The system of claim 19, wherein the application platform is a telecommunications platform.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein the application platform includes a billing engine for processing transactions triggered through the usage monitoring engine.
22. The system of claim 20, wherein the plurality of account resources includes a parent account resource that includes a plurality of sub-account resources, wherein the sub-account resources have access to an instance of an application of the parent account resource.
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