WO2001019070A1 - Utilizing a facsimile service for sending e-mail - Google Patents

Utilizing a facsimile service for sending e-mail Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001019070A1
WO2001019070A1 PCT/IL2000/000532 IL0000532W WO0119070A1 WO 2001019070 A1 WO2001019070 A1 WO 2001019070A1 IL 0000532 W IL0000532 W IL 0000532W WO 0119070 A1 WO0119070 A1 WO 0119070A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
facsimile
addressee
method
message
sending
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IL2000/000532
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Oded Kafri
Original Assignee
Varicom Communications Ltd.
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

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L51/00Arrangements for user-to-user messaging in packet-switching networks, e.g. e-mail or instant messages
    • H04L51/06Message adaptation based on network or terminal capabilities
    • H04L51/066Message adaptation based on network or terminal capabilities with adaptation of format
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/00127Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture
    • H04N1/00204Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture with a digital computer or a digital computer system, e.g. an internet server
    • H04N1/00209Transmitting or receiving image data, e.g. facsimile data, via a computer, e.g. using e-mail, a computer network, the internet, I-fax
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/32Circuits or arrangements for control or supervision between transmitter and receiver or between image input and image output device
    • H04N1/32037Automation of particular transmitter jobs, e.g. multi-address calling, auto-dialing
    • H04N1/32042Automation of particular transmitter jobs, e.g. multi-address calling, auto-dialing with reading of job-marks on a page
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/32Circuits or arrangements for control or supervision between transmitter and receiver or between image input and image output device
    • H04N1/32358Circuits or arrangements for control or supervision between transmitter and receiver or between image input and image output device using picture signal storage, e.g. at transmitter
    • H04N1/324Circuits or arrangements for control or supervision between transmitter and receiver or between image input and image output device using picture signal storage, e.g. at transmitter intermediate the transmitter and receiver terminals, e.g. at an exchange
    • H04N1/32406Circuits or arrangements for control or supervision between transmitter and receiver or between image input and image output device using picture signal storage, e.g. at transmitter intermediate the transmitter and receiver terminals, e.g. at an exchange in connection with routing or relaying, e.g. using a fax-server or a store-and-forward facility
    • H04N1/32411Handling instructions for routing or relaying
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N2201/00Indexing scheme relating to scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, and to details thereof
    • H04N2201/0008Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus
    • H04N2201/0015Control of image communication with the connected apparatus, e.g. signalling capability
    • H04N2201/0024Converting image communication control signals, e.g. group 3 facsimile protocol signals, to non-image communication control signals or vice versa
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N2201/00Indexing scheme relating to scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, and to details thereof
    • H04N2201/0008Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus
    • H04N2201/0065Converting image data to a format usable by the connected apparatus or vice versa
    • H04N2201/0068Converting from still picture data

Abstract

A method and a server for utilizing a facsimile service for sending e-mail. The method for sending a facsimile message to an e-mail address includes the steps of a sender appending the telephone facsimile number associated with the addressee to the facsimile message being sent to the addressee (204) and sending the facsimile message to a pre-allocated service number associated with a dedicated server (206). The server converts the facsimile message to a Tagged Image File (TIF) (208); using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to recognize and abstract the telephone facsimile number of the addressee from the TIF file (214); retrieves the e-mail address associated with the telephone facsimile number of the addressee (216), and sends an e-mail formatted message containing the facsimile message via the Internet to the addressee's associated e-mail address (220).

Description

UTILIZING A FACSIMILE SERVICE FOR SENDING E-MAIL

FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

E-mail messaging is one of the major uses of the Internet and has grown over recent years to become one of the major means over communications. Forwarding of e-mail to a fax is well known and an example can be seen in the functions of software such as Microsoft's Outlook" application. Forwarding of e-mail to a telephone is also known, such as the Maiipush service provided by several cellular telephone companies, for example, as described on their web site (http://www.mailpush.com). In this method a server computer checks the e-mail box of each registered client and forwards the e-mail to the mailbox owner's telephone and reads the text through the voice modem or CTI card (for example Dialogic's Proline/2V or Dialogic/4, Dialogic Corporation, 1115 Route Ten, Parsippany, N.J. 070-4596, USA).

A voice message can be transmitted as an attached wave file that can be played to the telephone directly, or be converted to text using a Speech-to-text engine such as commercially available from IBM and Lernout & Hauspie). The receiver of the e-mail can record a reply wave file through the telephone and use the reply function of the e-mail software to send a reply via the telephone.

At present, people can only send e-mail if they have a computer and the appropriate software and connection to an ISP (Internet Service Provider). Moreover, the sender needs to be able to operate the computer and the software. Many telephone users do not have computers or access to e-mail. Moreover, in order to send e-mail one requires the Internet email address. A method of sending e-mail through the telephone is described in PCT Patent Application: PCT/ILOO/00085, assigned to the Assignees of the present invention.

Sending a facsimile message requires both the sender and recipient to have a facsimile machine or special fax software for receiving a fax message directly at the recipient's computer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a method for utilizing a facsimile service for sending e-mail.

There is thus provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, a method for sending a facsimile message to an email address. The method includes the steps of. a sender appending the telephone facsimile number associated with the addressee to the facsimile message being sent to the addressee; a sender sending the facsimile message to a pre-allocated service number associated with a dedicated server; converting the facsimile message to a Tagged Image File (TIF); using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to recognize and abstract the telephone facsimile number of the addressee from the TIF file; retrieving the email address associated with the telephone facsimile number of the addressee; and sending an e-mail formatted message containing the facsimile message via the Internet to the addressee's associated e-mail address.

The e-mail formatted message includes an attached TIF file.

Furthermore, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the addressee's telephone facsimile number is converted to an e-mail address via a look-up table (LUT). The look-up table is stored within the dedicated server. The look-up table is created by the sender and stored at an Internet web site. The LUT further includes a security code. Furthermore, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the steps of converting, using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine, retrieving and sending are carried out by the dedicated server.

Furthermore, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the step of appending includes the step of appending the email address of the addressee. In addition, the method further includes the steps of: recognizing the appended email address from the TIF file; and comparing the email address abstracted from the LUT with the appended email address. Furthermore, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the step of using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine includes the step of filtering out random noise.

There is also provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, a dedicated server for forwarding incoming facsimile messages as e-mail messages. The server includes a Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) card, a converter in communication with the CTI card for converting the facsimile messages to a TIF file for attachment to an email message and an OCR engine for recognizing the destination of the addressee. If the destination is a facsimile number, the number is converted to an associated email address before sending the facsimile message on as an attached TIF file. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the appended drawings, in which: Fig. 1 is a schematic illustration of the method for sending a facsimile message to an email address, constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

Fig. 2 is a flow chart illustration of the method for sending a facsimile message to an email address.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

Reference is now made to Figs. 1 and 2. Fig. 1 is a schematic illustration of the method for sending a facsimile message to an email address, constructed and operative in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Fig. 2 is a flow chart illustration of the method for sending a facsimile message to an email address.

An user prepares a document to send by fax (facsimile) (step 202), adds a blank sheet of paper on which the facsimile number of the recipient (of the fax) is written or printed (step 204). The fax is then sent to the special service number allocated by the Service Company (step 206). On receipt at the service, the fax is directed to the server 20.

The dedicated server 20 is similar to the proxy server described in PCT

Patent Application: PCT/IL99/00516 assigned to the Assignees of the present invention and incorporated herein by reference. The dedicated server 20 generally comprises a Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) card 22 connected to a wave

API (Application Program Interface) (not shown) and a message storage device

(not shown). The dedicated server 20 can further comprise components such as a voice proxy telephone server and a transport provider for receiving and forwarding voice/text messages. The CTI card 22 converts the message to a TIF (Tagged Image File) file

24 (step 208). The TIF file is then opened and the first page is accessed (step

210). Any random noise is filtered and the blank area of the first page 'removed'

(step 212). An OCR (Optical Character Recognition) engine 26 is used to recognize the recipient fax number (step 214). The recipient's facsimile number is referenced against one or more e-mail addresses stored in a look-up table (LUT) 28 (step 216). The look-up table 28 is a table that correlates a telephone/fax number with one, or several, e-mail addresses. It can be created manually or preferably through the Internet 40. If the Internet is used, a special web site is created by the service provider in which the user inserts a list of facsimile numbers and corresponding e-mail addresses. In addition, a special security code (which is not public) can also be entered to avoid misusing this service by illegitimate users.

Software 30 associated with the server (T-mailer software) prepares an email message 32 with an attached TIF file (step 218) and sends the message via the Internet 40 to the recipient's e-mail address 42 (step 220).

The dedicated server 20 is similar to the present Assignees T-Mailer service and consists of a PC having one or more CTI cards attached thereto. CTI cards can convert analogous voice data into digital data, for example, the DI60SC-LS card by Dialogic or convert the facsimile message into a TIF file, for example. The message is then submitted as a regular e-mail with a TIF attachment via the Internet to an email address.

The dedicated server 20 is similar to the proxy server described in PCT Patent Application: PCT/IL99/00516 assigned to the Assignees of the present invention and incorporated herein by reference. The dedicated server 20 generally comprises a Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) card, a converter *ιn communication with the CTI card for converting the facsimile messages to a TIF file and an OCR engine. The TIF file is send as an attachment to an email message. The OCR engine recognizes the destination of the addressee. If the destination is a facsimile number, the number is converted to an associated email address before sending the facsimile message on as an attached TIF file. The server can also include a message storage device. The dedicated server 20 can optionally further comprises components such as a voice proxy telephone server and a transport provider for receiving and forwarding voice/text messages.

In order to ensure a greater accuracy in sending the email message to the correct addressee, the sender can also add the email address (if known) to the page containing the addressee's facsimile message. The appended email address can then be compared with the email address abstracted from the LUT for confirmation of accuracy.

In a further embodiment, the user can add the email number of the recipient to the additional blank sheet (step 204') instead of the facsimile number of the recipient. In this embodiment, the other steps are identical to that described hereinabove with respect to Figs. 1 and 2, except that a LUT 28 is not required. In this case, the user does not need to register on the web in order to send a fax to an email address.

Servers 20 can be placed all over the world and enable one to send e-mail through out the world at the price of a local call for the fax message.

It will be further appreciated that the present invention is not limited by what has been described hereinabove and that numerous modifications, all of which fall within the scope of the present invention, exist. Rather the scope of the invention is defined by the claims which follow:

Claims

1. A method of sending a facsimile message to an email address, comprising the steps of: a sender appending the telephone facsimile number associated with the addressee to the facsimile message being sent to the addressee; the sender sending the facsimile message to a pre-allocated service number associated with a dedicated server; converting the facsimile message to a Tagged Image File (TIF); using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to recognize and abstract the appended telephone facsimile number of the addressee from said TIF file; retrieving the email address associated with the telephone facsimile number of the addressee; and sending an e-mail formatted message containing the facsimile message via the Internet to said addressee's associated e-mail address.
2. The method of claim 1 , wherein the e-mail formatted message comprises an attached TIF file.
3. The method of claim 1 , wherein the addressee's telephone facsimile
number is converted to an e-mail address via a look-up table.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the look-up table is stored within the dedicated server.
5. The method of claim 3, wherein the look-up table is created by the sender and stored at an Internet web site.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the look-up table further comprises a security code.
7. The method of claim 1 , wherein the steps of converting, using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine, retrieving and sending are carried out by the dedicated server.
8. The method of claim 1 , wherein the step of appending comprises the step of appending the email address of the addressee.
9. The method of claim 8 and further comprising the steps of: recognizing the appended email address from said TIF file; and comparing the email address abstracted from the LUT with the appended email address.
10. The method of claim 1 , wherein the step of using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine comprises the step of filtering out random noise.
11. A method of sending a facsimile message to an email address,
comprising the steps of:
a sender appending the email address associated with the addressee
to the facsimile message being sent to the addressee;
the sender sending the facsimile message to a pre-allocated service number associated with a dedicated server;
converting the facsimile message to a Tagged Image File (TIF); using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine to recognize the email address from said TIF file; and sending an email formatted message containing the facsimile message via the Internet to said e-mail address.
12. The method of claim 11 , wherein the e-mail formatted message comprises an attached TIF file.
13. The method of claim 11 , wherein the steps of converting, using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine and sending are carried out by the dedicated server.
14. A dedicated server for forwarding incoming facsimile messages as e-mail messages comprising: a Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) card; a converter in communication with the CTI card for converting the facsimile messages to a TIF file; means for attachment of said TIF file to an email message; and an OCR engine for recognizing the destination of the addressee, wherein, if the destination is a facsimile number, the number is converted to an associated email address before sending the facsimile message on as an attached TIF file.
PCT/IL2000/000532 1999-09-05 2000-09-05 Utilizing a facsimile service for sending e-mail WO2001019070A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
IL13173499 1999-09-05
IL131734 1999-09-05

Publications (1)

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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP1892653A1 (en) * 2006-08-25 2008-02-27 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Method and communications server for sending an electronic message

Citations (12)

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US5892591A (en) * 1996-11-22 1999-04-06 International Data Forwarders, Llc Facsimile transmission via packet switched data networks
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Patent Citations (12)

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US4941170A (en) * 1989-03-20 1990-07-10 Tandem Computers Incorporated Facsimile transmissions system
US5115326A (en) * 1990-06-26 1992-05-19 Hewlett Packard Company Method of encoding an e-mail address in a fax message and routing the fax message to a destination on a network
US5247591A (en) * 1990-10-10 1993-09-21 Interfax, Inc. Method and apparatus for the primary and secondary routing of fax mesages using hand printed characters
US5479269A (en) * 1992-04-27 1995-12-26 U.S. Philips Corporation Automated form handling and generating system and a form sheet associated to said system
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US5918227A (en) * 1996-05-06 1999-06-29 Switchboard, Inc. On-line directory service with a plurality of databases and processors
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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP1892653A1 (en) * 2006-08-25 2008-02-27 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Method and communications server for sending an electronic message

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