WO1994011967A1 - Information distribution systems, particularly tour guide systems - Google Patents

Information distribution systems, particularly tour guide systems Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1994011967A1
WO1994011967A1 PCT/GB1993/002360 GB9302360W WO9411967A1 WO 1994011967 A1 WO1994011967 A1 WO 1994011967A1 GB 9302360 W GB9302360 W GB 9302360W WO 9411967 A1 WO9411967 A1 WO 9411967A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
data
means
remote user
information distribution
item
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB1993/002360
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Stephen Weeks
Robert Hayes
Original Assignee
Stephen Weeks
Robert Hayes
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GB9224020.9 priority Critical
Priority to GB929224020A priority patent/GB9224020D0/en
Priority to GB9320570.6 priority
Priority to GB939320570A priority patent/GB9320570D0/en
Application filed by Stephen Weeks, Robert Hayes filed Critical Stephen Weeks
Publication of WO1994011967A1 publication Critical patent/WO1994011967A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/02Services making use of location information
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M11/00Telephonic communication systems adapted for combination with other electrical systems
    • H04M11/04Telephonic communication systems adapted for combination with other electrical systems with fire, police, burglar, or other alarm systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/487Arrangements for providing information services, e.g. recorded voice services, time announcements
    • H04M3/493Interactive information services, e.g. directory enquiries ; Arrangements therefor, e.g. interactive voice response [IVR] systems or voice portals
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2207/00Type of exchange or network, i.e. telephonic medium, in which the telephonic communication takes place
    • H04M2207/18Type of exchange or network, i.e. telephonic medium, in which the telephonic communication takes place wireless networks
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2242/00Special services or facilities
    • H04M2242/30Determination of the location of a subscriber
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W84/00Network topologies
    • H04W84/02Hierarchically pre-organised networks, e.g. paging networks, cellular networks, WLAN [Wireless Local Area Network] or WLL [Wireless Local Loop]
    • H04W84/10Small scale networks; Flat hierarchical networks
    • H04W84/16WPBX [Wireless Private Branch Exchange]

Abstract

A system for the distribution of information, particularly at a tourist site, has a central computer network (1) with a main processor (DP) holding source data networked with node computers (NN). The computers of the network (1) are connected to a telephone exchange (2) which in turn connects to radio exchanges (3), sending to radio base stations (4) which relay and receive transmitted radio signals to/from portable telephone handsets (5). Data of the data source are indexed so that item-specific requests can be sent from the handsets, either manually or by automatic trigger, to initiate the sending of appropriate information items addressed to the appropriate handset (5) from the source data. One or more levels of data catching can be provided between the source data and the telephone exchange (2), to enhance simultaneous service of numerous handsets (5).

Description

INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS. PARTICULARLY

TOUR GUIDE SYSTEMS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to information distribution systems, and particularly to guide systems for a particular local site, e.g. for a tour guide. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known to provide tour customers, e.g. at a museum or other site of interest, with a portable audio apparatus and a tape cassette. By means of a pair of lightweight headphones, the customer can be directed from one feature to another, and given information about the various features of the tour. In many respects this has been found superior to the traditional written programme, since the user's attention is directed more efficiently to objects of interest, and information about them can be given in a more personal and vivid way. The system does however have problems of inflexibility, since the tape cassette can only be listened to in a "linear" fashion, so that the user must follow a predetermined route along the tour, and listen to the information that is given regardless of its interest to that user.

Other known tour information systems involve continually looped playbacks of information, at a given site, to which the user must listen starting from the point reached when the user arrives. This is time-wasting and off-putting. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A general aim herein is to provide novel information distribution systems, preferably suitable for use as a tour guide system. The proposal now put forward involves a central body of pre-recorded information which is selectively accessible by a remote user at any one of a plurality of indexed items, using a portable remote unit which accompanies a user and includes means for receiving and then reproducing the information as sound and/or text and/or picture. The system may include triggering units (generally a non-portable installation) which can communicate with the portable unit to trigger the sending and reproduction of certain items at the portable unit. A preferred means of communication of information to the remote unit involves radio.

Broadly, the present disclosure relates to an information distribution system, preferably a tour guide system, having a main data processor and store for a data source comprising audio and/or video data as a plurality of indexed pre-recorded items; a plurality of remote user units, including portable wireless remote user units, each comprising means for reproducing data from the data source in at least audio and/or video form; communication means, preferably including a wireless link, for communicating between the remote user units and the main data processor; each remote user unit comprising item request means for sending an item-specific request signal, and preferably one selected from a repertoire of different such signals available from that unit, via the communication means to the main data processor, the main data processor having data sending means for responding to the request signal by retrieving the appropriate requested item of data from the data source, and addressing and sending the item to the remote user unit from which the request signal was received, for reproduction thereat in at least audio and/or video form. Note: the term "video" may include the option of text format unless the context requires otherwise.

The main data processor may have the source data stored on a static storage medium, such as hard disc, and preferably has means for transferring or "caching" bodies of data from the data source to a further, dynamic memory store, such as RAM, for sending to the remote user unit. In particular, the source data is preferably subdivided, or subdividable, into data blocks each comprising one or preferably a related plurality of data items, and the processor has means for transferring or "caching" the appropriate data block to dynamic memory, for sending to the remote user unit, when a relevant request signal is received. The data items which are relevant, in that they have been specifically requested, can then be dedicated to the user unit which requested them while freeing processing of the main source to process requests from one or more other users, typically for different data, and desirably with further caching of that different data. It is particularly preferred to have a plurality of node dynamic memories with respective processing capabilities, each serving a respective data communication connection or set of such connections, and with means for transferring temporarily to any of the node memories a block of data as mentioned above, appropriate to the request signal(s) received for that node. In this way there may be established two and preferably more levels of data caching between the static data source and the remote user units, enabling prompt and high-speed simultaneous dissemination of data, in an independent manner, to a substantial number of remote user units, while requiring only a single original set of "static" data.

A suitable main processor may conveniently be achieved by using, in effect, a computer local area network as the main data processor, that network having a main network server computer with the static data source, preferably having also a first level of data caching capability e.g. provided by a sufficiency of RAM and suitable disc caching software (which is currently commercially available and known to the computer practitioner of ordinary skill ) , and a plurality of network node computers interfacing with the communication means by way of suitable respective interfaces, and preferably providing a second level of data caching e.g. with respective RAMs and appropriate disc caching software as mentioned above.

The communication means may comprise a communications exchange such as a telephone PBX, which may be of a generally known type, for routing signals and data transmissions vis a vis the main data processor.

The communication means preferably further comprises a radio link between the main data processor and the remote user units. For example, a telephone exchange as mentioned above may connect to a radio exchange, or more usually plural radio exchanges, to communicate with the remote user units which are adapted to receive and send radio signals. It may also be generally desirable to provide radio base stations, for the forwarding of radio signals travelling between the radio exchange(s) and the remote user units. Communication means of the preferred type described above may conveniently be provided by a cellular telephone system, e.g. of a known type, in which the remote user units comprise telephone handsets. The radio exchanges and radio base stations may be comprised in a cellular local communications system, preferably of the "intelligent" type i.e. capable of tracking the caller or recipient and making any appropriate transfers of the call from station to station automatically. Suitable systems and components therefor - the CT-3 type, for example - are commercially available. The tracking ability whereby communication is traced and handed off from one station to another may be built into the stations and/or the remote user units themselves. This is known per se. The communication means are usually mutually dedicated, i.e. the remote user units and the central main processor can communicate with one another on the site, but not with other communication apparatus in the adjacent environment. This is achieved e.g. by selecting a characteristic communication frequency. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

More specific proposals are now described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of an information distribution system, and

Figures 2 and 3 are perspective views of alternative types of remote user unit. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A proposed preferred embodiment comprises the following basic components.

A computerised data source network 1; a telephone exchange 2 connected to the data source network; a set of cellular communications radio exchanges 3 connected to the telephone exchange 2; a set of cellular communications radio base stations 4 for relaying transmissions to and from the radio exchanges 3, and a plurality of remote user units including wireless telephone extensions 5 for the cellular communication system and, optionally, wired extensions 6 (some or all of which may be connected directly to the telephone exchange rather than to the radio base stations 4) .

The data source network 1 may be in essence a computer local area network assembled within a single enclosure. It comprises a main network server computer (DP) which is a high-specification PC, e.g. 486DX class or faster. It should have a hard disc drive or other stable static storage medium to hold the basic mass of source data. A suitable capacity to provide acceptable audio quality might be a minimum of 10 Mb/hour of monaural non-music compressed speech, 30 Mb/hour of monaural non-compressed music and/or speech, or 50 Mb/hour of stereo non-compressed music and/or speech. Of course, the total capacity is determined to be sufficient for the amount of program information which must be stored in each case. Similar criteria can be determined for video data (which may be text) without difficulty.

The main network server computer (DP) also has substantial RAM e.g. at least 32 Mb. A video interface card to facilitate temporary attachment of a monitor is useful, as is one or more connections 10 to facilitate the attachment of diagnostic equipment or additional peripheral communications equipment (P).

The network also has multiple computers functioning as network nodes (NN) in conjunction with the main network server (DP). These do not need such a high specification as the network server. 386SX or faster computers should be suitable. Each should have a substantial RAM e.g. at least 16 Mb. A video interface for a monitor is also desirable. The network nodes (NN) are also provided with telephone network interface cards 17 in a quantity sufficient to provide individual connections for as many remote user units as may be envisaged. In addition to routine operating system software for each computer and network operating system software for the network 1, the computers (DP,NN) of the network are also programmed with high-speed disc caching software enabling the selective transfer of blocks of data to the RAMs of the main network server (DP) and of the nodes (NN). Disc caching and appropriate software are already known and available to the skilled person.

It is also necessary that the network be able to address and access the stored data by addressed item, using incoming telephone signals as selective identifiers. For this purpose the programme application software may use "voice mail" (telephone message) programming of a type which is in itself known. Indeed, commercial voice mail software may be adapted for the present purpose. The telephone exchange 2 may be a standard DTMF ( one capable) telephone PBX, preferably capable of connection by digital interface to enable high-speed high-volume handling. It is connected with the network computers by multiple-line wired connections 11. The radio exchanges 3 connected to the telephone exchange 2, the function of which is to send data to and receive signals from the remote user units 5, may be "cellular" wireless local communications system radio exchanges (RE) of a known type, preferably an "intelligent" type capable of tracking the caller/recipient automatically, such as the CT-3 type. The number of units required will vary according to the site served by the guide system, and according to the number of remote user units 5,6 to be served.

The radio base stations 4 are "intelligent" wireless cellular local communications system components (RB), capable of intelligent hand-off call transfer from one call to another, e.g. of CT-3 type. As with the radio exchanges, the number of these units will vary according to the size and physical nature of the site to be covered and the number of remote user units, particularly wireless extensions 5, which are to be used. The number of wireless remote user units 5 such as telephone handsets (H) will vary according to the nature of the site and how many persons might be expected to tour it at any one time. Wired extensions (W) may also be used, e.g. for certain static features at the site, or if a video display of substantial size is needed.

The preferred system also includes at least one automatic data request initiator 15 which we term a "location relay switch" ( LRS ) that is, means provided fixedly at a particular site or location to cause an adjacent remote user unit 5' automatically to request some specified data without user initiation. The number of such units will of course vary according to the site, depending on the number of different locations for which such automatic guidance of the system will be appropriate.

A typical site covered by the entire system might be 6km2 or less.

An example of assembly and operation of the system is now described.

Assembly Example

The data source network computer is a local area network assembled within one enclosure. It comprises a 486DX or faster computer platform -serving as the network server, and multiple 386SX or faster computers serving as network nodes.

The network server should be assembled with a minimum of 32 Mb of RAM.

The network nodes should each be assembled with a minimum of 16 Mb of RAM.

Each of the computers within the local area network ( server and all nodes ) should be assembled and operating with standard operating systems compatible with the requirements of the selected programme application software and network operating system software used to operate the voice mail systems and the network.

Network connection cards 16 should be installed in each of the computers, one for each node, and one for the main server. The diagram shows respective connections from the server, but serial or "daisy chain" configuration of the local area network is also possible.

Telephone interface cards 17 are installed in each of the network node computers. The number of interface cards will be dependent on the number of wired and/or wireless extensions (W,H) required by the individual site.

After the standard operating system has been installed on all computers, the network operating software is installed and tested for stable operation.

After the network operating software has been installed, high-speed disc caching software is installed on each computer and set up to utilise optimally the RAM available, depending on the size of the system and number of end users envisaged. The disc caching software on the network server serves as a primary disc cache to the entire network for all accesses made to the stable static storage media, regardless of whether the system is utilising one or more voice mail systems or one or more stable static storage media. The disc caching software on the network nodes acts as a secondary disc cache for stored audio program information requested by the telephone interface cards within each of the network nodes. This multiple level of high-speed information caching allows the centralisation of the stored information without impeding the high speed dissemination of different, uniquely selected data items to various selected ones of large numbers of extensions simultaneously.

At this point the program application software is loaded, namely voice mail software capable of controlling and monitoring all requests, and distribution of the program information through the system to the final extensions.

After the program application software is loaded the audio program information, i.e. the main source data, is installed, with assigned voice mailbox addresses for the items, via the program application software. The audio program information is information that has been recorded either in analogue form and translated to digital form, or recorded directly in digital form. This audio program information is the information that is stored on the stable static storage medium of the main network server in the voice mailbox addresses. The present guide information system can deliver information in a sequential manner, similar in experience to previous mechanical systems, but unlike any previously devised system the audio program information can also be accessed at random, or "nested" such that a user may access detailed information following delivery of initial general information, and then return to the point in the sequential information flow from which they digressed. This can be done by keying-in item-specific requests on the user unit keypad. For example, the audio information describing some feature in general terms will tell the user the number to key in order to access more detailed information.

A visitor will be able, say, in the British Museum to wander at will - having a properly constructed "tour" of the Egyptian gallery or of a special exhibition, and yet also stop by a particular Greek vase and using its catalogue number he or she can then enjoy a 3 or 4 minute piece just on that item. This might encourage the visitor to request a special structured tour of the Vase Room - or he or she might walk on, selecting other exhibits at random. Every piece of information is indexed to start at its beginning.

As potential user access will need to be determined, and a smooth, logical sequential flow of the audio program information will be needed, planning appropriate to the site should be exercised at the time of selecting, planning, itemising and grouping the items of the source audio data. This organisation need not in itself require any inventive effort; it may be done using known principles of information structuring and indexing.

The telephone private branch exchange (PBX) is connected to the data source network via standard telephone connections running from the telephone interface cards mounted in the network nodes. Each of the telephone interface cards represents a number (for example, eight to sixteen) telephone extensions to be controlled by the PBX 2. The PBX will connect outbound in two ways. First the PBX will be connected to the intelligent radio exchanges 3 e.g. via standard telephone connections. Second, the PBX will have one outbound hardwire telephone company connection 12. The radio exchanges are installed throughout the site, and may be remote e.g. as much as two miles from the location of the PBX/data network source computers. The radio exchanges should be placed throughout the site in a manner consistent with their ability to contact as many of the radio base stations as possible, dependent upon individual factors of the environment of the site (construction materials used, distance covered, and the number of wireless extensions to be serviced at any given location throughout the site). Planning appropriate to the site should be exercised at the time of installation when the radio base station locations are determined. The radio base stations are the final link to the wireless extensions i.e. the remote end user units. The locations of the radio base stations are dependent upon the environment of the site. The construction materials (if any) of the site, and the number of wireless extensions potentially simultaneously present within a specific location on the site will determine the placement and saturation of the radio base stations. Traffic flow envisaged through the site at various times could require installation of more radio base stations throughout the entire site than could in fact feasibly operate at any one time. A high density of radio base stations will be necessary to handle areas of extreme density of traffic, while conversely some larger areas, with a low density of features of interest, may require only a few radio base stations.

The wireless extensions may take the form of telephone handsets, or wireless headsets with or without wired or attached control boxes (similar in appearance to personal headset stereos). See Fig. 2, which shows an audio-only handset with built-in speaker 52. Both types, along with standard wired telephone extensions, may be mixed on the same system. A wireless extension consists e.g. of a CT-3 or similarly-capable telephone extension, with a keypad 51 and small radio frequency receiver built into one box. The radio frequency receivers receive brief coded pulse transmissions from any adjacent location relay switches to request automatically (via DTMF tones) through the extension the delivery from the data source network of specific data items (identified by mail box addresses), pertinent to the location of the wireless extension, i.e. the location of the user. Each wireless extension will have its own unique telephone extension number in the case of monaural installations, or possibly two numbers in the case of stereo installations depending on the form of data encoding or stereo derivation used. These wireless extensions, regardless of other features, generally have keypads 51 that are either numeric in nature, similar to a standard telephone keypad, or the keys may be masked in the form of international symbols, or merely shown as coloured buttons in order to facilitate ease of use and user understanding. These keypad masks may be determined by the requirements of the individual sites. A handset may have a text and/or video display, e.g. a scrollable text output for use by the deaf instead of an audio set. See Fig. 3 which shows a handset with keypad 51 and video display 53, e.g. LCD text display, together with wired headphones 54. The location relay switches for triggering automatic request signals may consist of small, extremely low power, radio frequency transmitters that emit a momentary predetermined pulse signal. The pulse signal corresponds to a predetermined DTMF tone series recorded on a ROM chip within the radio frequency receiver built into each user unit. The DTMF tone signal is transmitted from the wireless extension of the voice mail system on the data network server to request the delivery of a specific voice mail box item, selected of course to be pertinent to the location of the location relay switch. The location relay switches may be triggered by any number of standard person-sensitive triggering devices, such as broken light beam, pressure- sensitive switch floor pad or infrared motion detector.

They need not necessarily be hardwired into the system; they may simply be plugged into the mains.

In an alternative use of location relay switches, the location relay switches passively receive characteristic identifier signals communicated by the remote user units.

Such "active location identifiers" are available; typically they operate by an infrared signal characteristic unique to a given remote user unit, and which is noted by the location relay switch. Instead of the user unit sending a request signal, it then becomes possible for the location relay switch ( nowing as it does the location and the identity of the remote user unit) itself to send an item-specific request signal through the communication means (which might be hardwired, or involve a wireless link) to initiate, in the manner previously described, the sending of appropriate data to that remote user unit. This may constitute an independent aspect of the present disclosure, in which the initiation of all data sending to the remote user units is done from the location relay switches rather than by item- specific requests sent from the remote user units.

Typically, however, this technique is mixed with a potential item-specific signalling capability of the remote user units, as described elsewhere. In effect, it constitutes an automated location tracking of each specific remote user unit.

Operation

When the data source network; the private branch exchange, the radio exchanges and the radio base stations are powered up, the data source network automatically loads the computer operating system, the primary and secondary disc caching software, the network operating system, and initialises the voice mail system. Once the entire system is successfully powered up, the data source network and private branch exchange are left powered on at all times, twenty-four hours per day. The radio exchanges and radio base stations may be powered down when not in use in order to conserve energy. The wireless extensions should be placed in battery charger bays in order to be ready for use when next needed.

To use the system a user (or a guide) picks up a wireless extension headset, and enters a unique number on the keypad indicating the language in which they would like to hear their information delivered. The source data is available in two or more languages. For ease of use, these language codes may be programmed to correspond to international dialling codes, or any other easily recognised series. This initial keypad entry will tell the data source network which of the concurrent voice mail systems to access. The user or guide will then enter on the keypad any other determinant information, for example in the case of a museum tour, which type of tour the user wishes to receive (historical, art, cuisine, etc. ). This entry will tell the data source network which voice mail box to use as the first address. An entire block or body of standard information e.g. sufficient for all or a significant part of the tour, may be shifted onto RAM by the disc caching at this stage. From that RAM, the user can hear audio program information delivered seamlessly and sequentially as the voice mail system moves through delivery of the programmed addresses. If the user leaves a standard tour path corresponding to the recorded sequential delivery of the audio program information, planning and forethought in placement of appropriate location relay switches will result in a location relay switch triggering the wireless extension to automatically request delivery of the contents of a mailbox address such that the user receives information pertaining to the correct location in which the user actually stands, sits or rides. Additionally or alternatively, the user may be prompted via narration in the audio program information to request specific voice mail box addresses via the keypad on the wireless extension in order to receive additional information on any point in the site, or to adjust the order in which information is delivered.

The centralised storage of data in the data source network, and the use of primary and secondary disc caching software, allows decompression and real-time delivery of large amounts of unique and simultaneous information to the remote user units. Further options include the following.

For security, if a user unit is removed beyond some exit point, a corresponding location relay switch causes the phone code of a security guard to be sent, announcing the handset location and number, and/or emitting a distinctive tone from the user unit.

For automatic billing, the system may comprise means to produce a full account of the number and duration of all uses of each handset, and to transmit this information automatically to a system operator e.g. by telephone modem, for the production of e.g. monthly bills.

Users may opt, via the keypad to obtain a print-out of information on items of particular interest to them.

Information in the system may be added-to or updated by simple re-programming of the central computer, either locally at the site or via remote access from an operator's office. Note the enormous economy and simplicity of centralised data update, compared with the use of individual user's tape cassettes, discs or data cards which need to be replaced en masse. The system may provide for two-way mobile communications between members of staff. This involves additional small pocket handsets, each with a specific staff code number. While the system has been described in relation to a tour guide system, its use of a mass of centralised dedicated data combined with on-site dedicated communication renders it suitable for a variety of uses. Other proposed areas of application include information distribution at a shop or warehouse, where a potential buyer moving around the premises can obtain information about items which are seen, and can also signal from his/her remote user unit an intention to purchase, enabling items from stock to be retrieved in advance to be ready for collection by the buyer.

Further application is an educational application, e.g. in which permanemt source data relating to a site may be supplemented by data dedicated to certain identified user units such as sets of questions relating to the site, whereby those identified users will receive the questions together with the information and be able to input answers contemporaneously into their units for sending to the processor e.g. for comparison with predetermined answers.

Claims

CLAIMS :
1. An information distribution system for a site, having data processor and storage means ( 1 ) for a centralised data source comprising audio and/or video data as a plurality of indexed items; a plurality of portable, wireless remote user units (5), comprising means for receiving and reproducing data from the data source in at least audio and/or video form; communication means (11,2,3,4) for mutually dedicated communication within the site between the remote user units ( 5) and the data processor and storage means (1 ); said portable, wireless remote user units (5) comprising item request means for sending an item-specific request signal via the communication means (4,3,2,11) to the data processor and storage means ( 1 ) ; the data processor and storage means ( 1 ) having data caching means for responding to an incoming said request signal by identifying the appropriate indexed item of data and transferring a data block, comprising said appropriate item and optionally one or more related items for subsequent transmission, temporarily to a dynamic memory, and data sending means for sending the data block progressively from the dynamic memory, selectively to the remote user unit ( 5 ) from which the request signal was received, for reproduction thereat in at least audio and/or video form.
2. An information distribution system according to claim 1 in which the remote user units ( 5 ) comprise handsets and/or headsets.
3. An information distribution system according to claim 1 or claim 2 in which the remote user units (5) comprise video display means ( 53) .
4. An information distribution system according to any one of the preceding claims in which the data processor and storage means (1) comprises a processor network having a main network server processor (DP) for said data source, and network node processors (NN) respectively interfacing with the communication means (11,2,3,4).
5. An information distribution system according to claim 4 in which each of the network server processor (DP) and plural said network node processors (NN) comprise said data caching means, to provide plural levels of data caching between the data source and the communication means (11,2,3,4).
6. An information distribution system according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising at least one fixed automatic data request initiator (15) for wireless signalling to an adjacent said remote user unit (5), to cause that remote user unit ( 5 ) to send automatically a said item-specific request signal, corresponding to at least one indexed item of data appropriate to that data request initiator (15).
7. An information distribution system according to any one of the preceding claims comprising at least one fixed automatic data request initiator (15), interactive with an adjacent said remote user unit to note the identity of that remote user unit (5) , and comprising means to send to the data processor and storage means (1) an item-specific request signal corresponding to at least one indexed item of data appropriate to that data request initiator (15) and a unit identifier signal identifying said remote user unit ( 5 ) , whereby the data processor and storage means ( 1 ) sends said indexed item of data selectively to that remote user unit (5) .
8. An information distribution system according to any one of the preceding claims in which the communication means comprises radio exchange means (3) and radio base means (4) to communicate with one another by radio, the radio exchange means ( 3 ) being in wired communication with the data processor and storage means (1) and the radio base means (4) being in wireless communication with the remote user units (5).
9. An information distribution system according to any one of the preceding claims in which the communication means comprises telephone exchange means (2) and telephone connection means ( 11 ) between the data processor and storage means ( 1 ) and the telephone exchange means (2) .
10. An information distribution system according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising at least one non-portable, wired remote user unit (6).
PCT/GB1993/002360 1992-11-16 1993-11-16 Information distribution systems, particularly tour guide systems WO1994011967A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB9224020.9 1992-11-16
GB929224020A GB9224020D0 (en) 1992-11-16 1992-11-16 Communications systems
GB9320570.6 1993-10-06
GB939320570A GB9320570D0 (en) 1993-10-06 1993-10-06 Information systems,tour guide systems

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP19940900221 EP0680678A1 (en) 1992-11-16 1993-11-16 Information distribution systems, particularly tour guide systems
AU54697/94A AU5469794A (en) 1992-11-16 1993-11-16 Information distribution systems, particularly tour guide systems

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AU (1) AU5469794A (en)
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Cited By (42)

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EP0648045A2 (en) * 1993-09-21 1995-04-12 Sony Corporation Systems for explaining exhibits
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NL9401122A (en) * 1994-07-05 1996-02-01 Nederland Ptt System for the distribution of signals.
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US8799461B2 (en) 1994-11-29 2014-08-05 Apple Inc. System for collecting, analyzing, and transmitting information relevant to transportation networks
US8056100B2 (en) 1994-11-29 2011-11-08 Pinpoint, Incorporated System and method for providing access to data using customer profiles
US9832610B2 (en) 1994-11-29 2017-11-28 Apple Inc. System for collecting, analyzing, and transmitting information relevant to transportation networks
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