WO2002021741A1 - System and method for measuring the usage of wireless devices - Google Patents

System and method for measuring the usage of wireless devices

Info

Publication number
WO2002021741A1
WO2002021741A1 PCT/US2000/034556 US0034556W WO2002021741A1 WO 2002021741 A1 WO2002021741 A1 WO 2002021741A1 US 0034556 W US0034556 W US 0034556W WO 2002021741 A1 WO2002021741 A1 WO 2002021741A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
usage
wireless
data
device
network
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2000/034556
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
David H. Harkness
Trevor I. Blumenau
Original Assignee
Nielsen Media Research, Inc.
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
    • H04L43/00Arrangements for monitoring or testing packet switching networks
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04HBROADCAST COMMUNICATION
    • H04H60/00Arrangements for broadcast applications with a direct linking to broadcast information or broadcast space-time; Broadcast-related systems
    • H04H60/29Arrangements for monitoring broadcast services or broadcast-related services
    • H04H60/31Arrangements for monitoring the use made of the broadcast services
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/45Management operations performed by the client for facilitating the reception of or the interaction with the content or administrating data related to the end-user or to the client device itself, e.g. learning user preferences for recommending movies, resolving scheduling conflicts
    • H04N21/462Content or additional data management, e.g. creating a master electronic program guide from data received from the Internet and a Head-end, controlling the complexity of a video stream by scaling the resolution or bit-rate based on the client capabilities
    • H04N21/4622Retrieving content or additional data from different sources, e.g. from a broadcast channel and the Internet
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/40Client devices specifically adapted for the reception of or interaction with content, e.g. set-top-box [STB]; Operations thereof
    • H04N21/47End-user applications
    • H04N21/478Supplemental services, e.g. displaying phone caller identification, shopping application
    • H04N21/4782Web browsing, e.g. WebTV
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/80Generation or processing of content or additional data by content creator independently of the distribution process; Content per se
    • H04N21/85Assembly of content; Generation of multimedia applications
    • H04N21/858Linking data to content, e.g. by linking an URL to a video object, by creating a hotspot
    • H04N21/8586Linking data to content, e.g. by linking an URL to a video object, by creating a hotspot by using a URL
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L43/00Arrangements for monitoring or testing packet switching networks
    • H04L43/06Report generation
    • H04L43/062Report generation for traffic related reporting

Abstract

A system is provided to accumulate usage data regarding a user's use of a wireless device. The system includes the wireless device having a wireless coupling adapted to wirelessly couple the wireless device to another wireless device. The system also includes a usage meter arranged to generate usage data relating to a user's use of the wireless device. The usage meter may be part of, or may be separate from, the wireless device.

Description

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MEASURING THE USAGE OF WIRELESS DEVICES

Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to the

measurement of the usage of devices coupled to wireless

and almost wireless networks .

Background of the Invention

Wireless networking has a wide variety of applications. For example, a battery powered pair of head phones can wirelessly receive audio signals from a receiver. A personal digital assistant (PDA) such as a

palm sized device may be arranged to wirelessly

synchronize itself with a desktop computer or may wirelessly use a nearby cell-phone to connect to the

Internet. The cell-phone can even be hidden in a

briefcase.

These wireless network examples have received a

substantial amount of attention in the media. However,

there are many other examples of wireless networking.

For instance, it may very well be possible to interconnect every electrical device, such as the light

bulbs within the electrical grid of an office complex and

intelligent refrigerators that allow users to keep track of and/or order groceries, in one large wireless network.

There are currently two wireless technologies,

infrared and short-range RF, and one almost wireless

technology, power system overlay networks, that are

easily useable in providing wireless networking today, although other wireless communication technologies may be readily employed to interconnect devices in a network.

Power system overlay is referred to herein as an almost wireless networking technology because, although it

involves wires, this technology involves the use of existing wiring systems to support communication between

devices in a network.

Infrared signaling has been used for many years

in the remote control of television and other video

and/or audio appliances. Short bursts of infrared light

are emitted by the remote control in patterns that are

recognized by the appliance. Each button on the remote

has an assigned pattern. Infrared signaling systems have also been designed to support connections between host

computers and peripherals such as PDA' s and printers .

These systems are simple, they support rudimentary error

detection and correction, they are typically used over

very short distances, and they seldom extend beyond a

room because infrared does not penetrate walls. Also,

they typically work only in direct line-of-sight

applications. More advanced spread-spectrum infrared based networks have been proposed, but have not as yet

received much support.

Short range RF systems have recently received

significant industry attention and endorsements. The Bluetooth system, in particular, is fast becoming a standard among cell-phone and PDA designers. There are

also other similar systems such as Aironet, HomeRF,

WaveLAN, RadioLAN, Airport, and ShareWave. The Bluetooth

system uses spread spectrum around a 2.4 GHz carrier

frequency. There are actually two varieties of Bluetooth

systems, one for short range (within a couple of rooms) ,

and the other for longer range (around the house or office) . The signaling protocols used by the Bluetooth systems are quite detailed and support addressing, sub-

networking, and bridges between infrared systems and a Bluetooth network.

Systems which transmit signals over household AC power lines, such as those including BSR modules

supplied by Radio Shack, have been used for remotely

controlling loads. For example, household power lines

have been used to carry signals for turning on a lamp in one room using a console located in another room. BSR modules support a simple addressing scheme for very short

(i.e. 1 byte) data transfers, and provide control signals that are modulated onto a 100 kHz carrier signal which is

injected on top of the 60 Hz AC power line signal. The range of this signal varies depending on the house

wiring, and sometimes extends into the neighbor's house

or apartment.

In the future it may also be possible to

interconnect a computer with its peripherals, such as

printers and scanners, by simply plugging the computer

and its peripherals into wall outlets . Similarly, the

components of a stereo system may be interconnected by plugging these components into wall outlets thereby

avoiding the usual tangle of audio cables. Thus, while

using AC power lines for communication is not a strictly

"wireless" use, the use of AC power lines for

communications is wireless in the sense that such communication is supported by existing wiring and is not

the primary purpose of the existing wiring.

The present invention is directed to

arrangements for measuring the use of devices interconnected by a wireless communication system.

Summary of the Invention

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a wireless network comprises first and second

wireless devices and a usage meter. The first and second

wireless devices wirelessly transmit and/or receive

signals, and the second wireless device is wirelessly

coupled with the first device. The usage meter generates

usage data relating to a user's use of at least the first

wireless device. In accordance with another aspect of the

present invention, a method comprises metering usage of a

wireless device to generate usage data regarding a user's use of the wireless device, and communicating the usage

data to at least one central data collection facility.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, a system for accumulating usage data

regarding a user' s use of a wireless device comprises a

wireless device and a usage meter. The wireless device has a wireless coupling adapted to wirelessly couple the wireless device to another wireless device. The usage meter is arranged to generate usage data relating to a

user's use of the wireless device.

In accordance with a further aspect of the

present invention, a computer readable storage medium has

program code stored therein. The program code, when

executed by a computer, performs the function of metering

usage of a wireless device in order to generate usage

data relating to a user's use of the wireless device.

Brief Description of the Drawings These and other features and advantages of the

present invention will become more apparent from a

detailed consideration of the invention when taken in

conjunction with the drawings in which:

Figure 1 shows an RF wireless network according

to a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 shows an infrared wireless network according to a second embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 3 shows a power line wireless network according to a third embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 4 shows a wireless network accordingly

to a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 5 shows a mixed wireless network accordingly to a fifth embodiment of the present invention; and,

Figure 6 is a flow chart of an exemplary usage

meter that can be used in connection with the first,

second, third, fourth, and/or fifth embodiments of the

present invention. Detailed Description

Typical measurements of device usage have been

made by observing the behavior of panels comprised of

members who are statistically selected as being representative of the relevant population whose device

usage is being measured. For example, television usage

is measured by determining which panel members watch which programs at which times. However, the interests of research organizations go well beyond the collection of

simple channel selection information in a subset of the population.

For example, data collection reporting systems

can be built into the devices whose usage is to be

measured. Thus, the usage of a wide variety of devices

other than televisions can be measured. Moreover, instead of measuring device usage of a randomly selected

population sub-set (i.e., panel), the inclusion of data

collection reporting systems directly into devices

permits detailed comprehensive data to be obtained about

the entire population that uses a particular device rather than a limited population sub-set constituted as a

panel .

Such comprehensive device use measurement poses

problems, however, especially for certain devices. For

example, television, and in particular interactive

television, is a complicated device to measure because

users may be both browsing the web and watching

television at the same time. As another example, users may lay a web browser window over the visible television

screen entirely. Also, web users may view other content including streaming media content. Moreover, users may

see a television advertisement and click on it to get more information and/or to buy the product then and

there. Furthermore, clients of market researchers are

interested in knowing the web sites that people visit,

the reasons that they visit them, and what they do at

those web sites. In short, there are many user

activities and a multitude of devices beyond television

that a market researcher should measure and report .

The following three activities are typically

involved in device measurement : the gathering of information, the processing of the gathered information,

and the forwarding or transmission of the gathered and

processed information. Generally, there are five ways to

gather information relating to device usage measurement .

First, communications between devices can be passively

monitored by a device usage data collector in order to

gather data relating to device usage measurement. For

example, in the case of wireless systems, a receiver tuned to the appropriate frequency (and in the case of spread spectrum, altering the frequency as needed) can listen in on the messages exchanged between these

devices. Several companies have built tools permitting the monitoring and debugging of the signals transmitted over a Bluetooth RF network.

In general, many of the messages transmitted between a transmitter and a receiver are not of interest .

For example, a device might send a message to another

device asking how much memory is available in a certain

buffer. On the other hand, some messages are very

useful. For example, a remote control may instruct a

stereo receiver to tune into a particular radio station. There are also inferences that a research company can

make based on some messages that do not appear at first

to be very apparent. For example, a remote control which

does not transmit a signal for a specified period of time

may indicate that a piece of equipment is idle, or a

message indicating that there are twenty minutes of time

remaining on the batteries of a device indicates that the

device operates on batteries .

Second, a device usage data collector can be arranged to be an active/passive participant in a communications network. Such a collector requires a receiver and a transmitter so that it can both passively

listen through its receiver to message traffic and actively solicit information through its transmitter.

Many protocols permit this type of monitoring. For

example, the Link Manager Protocol associated with the

Bluetooth network can be used for this purpose.

Third, monitors that directly tap into devices

through the use of hardware connections can be used to

determine usage of those devices . Such device usage data

collectors can participate in network exchanges and extract data from the devices' electrical signals. Such

data collection is common in television use measurement

where the monitor taps into the television's tuner to

determine the frequency to which the television is tuned.

Similarly, a dishwasher with a built-in web interface may

be modified to produce usage data that can be processed.

Fourth, another method that can be used for device use data collection is polling. For example, if

there is a PDA and a television both participating on a Bluetooth network, a Bluetooth monitor can be modified and provided in the network in order to query, such as

every half second, both the PDA and the television in

order to request information indicative of the use of these devices. New protocols supported by these wireless

networks even allow devices in the network to publish (on

the network) their vocabularies, and to disclose the

queries to which they are able to respond.

Fifth, the measurement of device usage can also

be provided in an interrupt driven monitor. Polling to

determine device usage can be very wasteful of network

resources. For example, in the context of television viewing measurement, a user may change the channel on a

television set once every ten minutes on average . A

polling mechanism that queries the television every half

second would make 1200 superfluous queries during that

time. A more efficient arrangement for providing device

usage measurement involves modifying the device whose

usage is to be monitored so that the device itself initiates a message to the monitor every time some event

of interest occurs. Thus, considerable bandwidth can be saved.

Once data is gathered, the data is often "processed" in some way by the collection system before

the data is forwarded to a central data collection

facility, where the data is combined with data from other

collection systems and used to generate reports. Generally, data can be processed in three ways. First,

usage data can simply be forwarded to the data collection

server. This data processing is the simplest data

processing method, but it often uses up the most

bandwidth because the data collected can be enormous . In

the case of polling, for example, if every response to every poll is forwarded to the central data collection

facility, much bandwidth will be wasted. However, this

data is often very compressible (i.e. there is not much

innate randomness in the data) , so that data compression

can be used to reduce the required bandwidth.

Second, the data can be modified before it is transmitted to the central data collection facility. For

example, in the polling example described above, rather

than forward all polling responses to the central data collection facility, it may be necessary to forward only the data representing changes in usage. However, the rules governing the selection of data for forwarding in

this data forwarding method are often very arbitrary.

For example, system designers often are able to predict what data processing may (or should) occur in a central

data collection facility, and to design at least some of

that processing into the device monitor. Thus, in the

case of collecting an advertising banner which has been

displayed on a PDA, the banner image itself may be

forwarded to the central data collection facility, but a

signature (such as a checksum) or some other identifying indicia may also be computed and sent along with the

data. Accordingly, the decision of computing the indicia

locally as opposed to computing it within the central

facility is at least somewhat arbitrary.

Third, an important part of processing data

(that may or may not be modified through processing) is

to store the data before it is forwarded to the central data collection facility. Very often, data must be held locally in storage, perhaps in general device memory,

perhaps in an output buffer, or perhaps in a local file on a diskette, before it can be forwarded to the data collection facility. The data can be held in memory for

microseconds, seconds, hours, days, or even weeks before

it is forwarded.

Once data is gathered and processed, it is

forwarded to the data collection facility. An

interesting aspect of the new wireless networks described

herein is that they can greatly support the transmission

of measurement data to the central data collection

facility. For example, a Bluetooth compliant cell phone may advertise (by publishing its vocabulary and supported operations) that it has access to the Internet. A well-

designed measurement system would take advantage of this

connectivity to transmit data across the Internet to the

data collection facility. Bridges can connect each type

of the wireless networks, Infrared, RF, or Power, to the

Internet. While it is not yet clear which type of link will dominate, it is fairly certain that there will be a

Bluetooth bridge connecting PDAs to PCS. Also, there can be a Bluetooth bridge that connects PDAs directly to ISPs through a house's cable modem. There can even be a

Bluetooth bridge that connects PDAs to ISPs through DSL lines.

Thus, there will we connectivity within these networks and bridging these networks to other networks

and the Internet. These bridges are easily used by data collection systems.

Figure 1 shows an RF wireless network 10 that

couples a PDA 12 to a computer 14. Use of the computer

14 can be monitored with metering software, such as that

shown in Figure 6, embedded and operating therein.

Similarly, the PDA 12 can also be monitored with metering software, such as that shown in Figure 6, embedded and

operating therein. The PDA usage data can be transferred

from the PDA 12 over RF antennae 16 and 18 coupled to the

PDA 12 and the computer 14, respectively. The PDA usage

data and/or the computer usage data are sent upstream

through a DSL or other modem 20 over the Internet to a

central data collection facility, where the usage data is combined with usage data from other metered devices in order to generate suitable reports. If metering software cannot be installed on the PDA 12, the computer 14 can be

arranged to monitor requests and/or transfers made by the PDA 12 through the RF antennae 16 and 18 and thereby infer usage data therefrom.

Figure 2 shows an infrared wireless network 30

that couples a PDA 32 to a computer 34. Use of the

computer 34 can be monitored with metering software, such

as that shown in Figure 6, embedded and operating

therein. Similarly, the PDA 32 can also be monitored

with metering software, such as that shown in Figure 6,

embedded and operating therein. The PDA usage data can

be transferred from the PDA 32 over infrared transceivers 36 and 38 coupled to the PDA 32 and the computer 34,

respectively. The PDA usage data and/or the computer

usage data are sent upstream through a DSL or other modem

40 over the Internet to a central data collection

facility, where the usage data is combined with usage

data from other metered devices in order to generate

suitable reports. If metering software cannot be installed on the PDA 32, the computer 34 can be arranged

to monitor requests and/or transfers made by the PDA 32 through the infrared transceivers 36 and 38 and thereby infer usage data therefrom.

Figure 3 shows a power line "wireless" network 50 that couples a PDA 52 to a computer 54. Use of the

computer 54 can be monitored with metering software, such as that shown in Figure 6, embedded and operating

therein. Similarly, the PDA 52 can also be monitored

with metering software, such as that shown in Figure 6,

embedded and operating therein. The PDA usage data can

be transferred from the PDA 52 over existing power lines

56 within a building by way of electrical outlet plugs 58

and 60 coupled to the PDA 52 and the computer 54, respectively. The PDA usage data and/or the computer

usage data are sent upstream through a DSL or other modem

62 over the Internet to a central data collection

facility, where the usage data is combined with usage

data from other metered devices in order to generate

suitable reports. If metering software cannot be installed on the PDA 52, the computer 54 can be arranged

to monitor requests and/or transfers made by the PDA 52

through the electrical outlet plugs 58 and 60 and the existing power lines 56 and thereby infer usage data therefrom.

Figure 4 illustrates an example of a wireless network 80 which does not have a computer. The wireless

network 80 includes a PDA 82, an entertainment center 84, a dishwasher 86, and a usage data collector 88. The

entertainment center 84 may include a television, a

radio, a VCR, a DVD player, a CD player, and/or so on.

The PDA 82, the entertainment center 84, the dishwasher

86, and the usage data collector 88 are interconnected

wirelessly by corresponding communication devices 90, 92,

94, and 96. The communication devices 90, 92, 94, and 96 can be RF antennae, IR transceivers, or electrical outlet

plugs as in the case of Figures 1, 2, and 3,

respectively.

The PDA 82, the entertainment center 84, and

the dishwasher 86 may each be provided with an embedded

usage meter in the form of software and/or hardware

operating in accordance, for example, with the flow chart shown in Figure 6. In this case, the usage data

collector 88 may be unnecessary. The usage meters embedded in the PDA 82, the entertainment center 84, and the dishwasher 86 may be arranged to transmit the usage data that they collect by way of a further communication

device 98 and a communication bridge 100 which

periodically or aperiodically forwards this usage data to

a central data collection facility, where the usage data

is combined with usage data from other metered devices in

order to generate suitable reports .

Alternatively, the usage meters embedded in the

PDA 82, the entertainment center 84, and the dishwasher

86 may be arranged to report their collected usage data

to the usage data collector 88 by use of the communication devices 90, 92, 94, and 96. The usage data

collector 88 would then be arranged to periodically or

aperiodically transmit the usage data that it collects

from the embedded usage meters of the PDA 82, the

entertainment center 84, and the dishwasher 86 by way of

the communication device 96 and the further communication

device 98 to the communication bridge 100 which periodically or aperiodically forwards this usage data to

the central data collection facility.

As a still further alternative, the embedded

usage meters provided in the PDA 82, the entertainment center 84, and the dishwasher 86 may be arranged to

periodically or aperiodically communicate the usage data regarding their corresponding PDA 82, entertainment

center 84, and dishwasher 86 directly to a central data

collection facility without the use of the communication

bridge 100. As a yet further alternative, the usage data

collector 88 could be built into one or more of the PDA

82, the entertainment center 84, and the dishwasher 86.

As another example, a usage meter in the form

of software and/or hardware operating in accordance with, for example, the flow chart shown in Figure 6 may be

provided in the usage data collector 88. In this case,

the usage data collector 88 collects usage data based on

the messages transmitted by or to the PDA 82, the

entertainment center 84, and/or the dishwasher 86 through

the communication devices 90, 92, 94, and/or 96.

Figure 5 illustrates an example of a wireless network 110 which utilizes all three of the exemplary

wireless communication technologies discussed above, i.e., RF wireless communications, infrared wireless

communications, and wireless power line communications, although any wireless network according to the present

invention could use any combination of one or more of

these or other wireless technologies . The wireless network 110 includes a PDA 112, a refrigerator 114, a

dishwasher 116, and a usage data collector 118. The PDA

112, the refrigerator 114, the dishwasher 116, and the

usage data collector 118 are interconnected wirelessly by

corresponding RF antennae 120, 122, 124, and 126. In

addition, the wireless network 110 includes a fax machine

128 which is wirelessly coupled to the usage data collector 118 by way of corresponding IR transceivers 130

and 132.

The usage data collector 118 includes an

embedded usage meter in the form of software and/or

hardware operating in accordance, for example, with the flow chart shown in Figure 6. Accordingly, usage of the

PDA 112, the refrigerator 114, the dishwasher 116, and the fax machine 128 is monitored by the embedded usage meter. The usage data collector 118 can be arranged to

periodically or aperiodically transmit the usage data that it collects from the PDA 112, the refrigerator 114,

the dishwasher 116, and the fax machine 128 to a communication bridge 134 over power lines 136 by way of

an electrical outlet plug 138 coupled to the usage data collector 118 and an electrical outlet plug 140 coupled

to the communication bridge 134. The communication

bridge 134 periodically or aperiodically forwards this

usage data to a central data collection facility, where

the usage data is combined with usage data from other

metered devices in order to generate suitable reports . Alternatively, the PDA 112, the refrigerator

114, the dishwasher 116, and the fax machine 128 may each

be provided with an embedded usage meter in the form of

software and/or hardware operating in accordance, for

example, with the flow chart shown in Figure 6.

Accordingly, usage of the PDA 112, the refrigerator 114,

the dishwasher 116, and the fax machine 128 is monitored

by these embedded usage meters and these embedded usage

meters report this collected usage data to the usage data collector 118 by use of the RF antennae 120, 122, 124,

and 126 and the IR transceivers 130 and 132. As before, the usage data collector 118 can be arranged to

periodically or aperiodically transmit the usage data that it collects to the communication bridge 134 over the

power lines 136 by way of the electrical outlet plugs 138

and 140, and the communication bridge 134 periodically or

aperiodically forwards this usage data to the central

data collection facility.

As a still further alternative, the embedded

usage meters provided in the PDA 112, the refrigerator

114, the dishwasher 116, and the fax machine 128 may be arranged to periodically or aperiodically communicate the

usage data regarding their corresponding PDA 112,

refrigerator 114, dishwasher 116, and fax machine 128

directly to the communication bridge 134 for forwarding

to the central data collection facility. In this case,

the usage data collector 118 is unnecessary. As a yet

further alternative, the usage data collector 118 could

be built into one or more of the PDA 112, the refrigerator 114, the dishwasher 116, and the fax machine

128.

As another alternative, embedded usage meters may be provided in the PDA 112, the refrigerator 114, the dishwasher 116, and the fax machine 128 and/or the usage

data collector 118 and may be arranged to periodically or

aperiodically communicate the usage data regarding their

corresponding PDA 112, refrigerator 114, dishwasher 116,

and fax machine 128 directly to the central data

collection facility without use of the communication

bridge 134.

An exemplary usage meter 150 is illustrated in

Figure 6 and may be in the form of a program executed by its corresponding platform, i.e., a metered device or a

separate usage data collector. A block 152 of the usage

meter 150 determines whether a message is being

transmitted or received by its corresponding platform.

In the case where the usage meter 150 is embedded in a

platform in the form of a usage data collector such as

the usage data collector 88 or 118, the block 152 may be

arranged to detect wireless messages picked up over the air such as by the communication device 90, the RF antenna 126, or the IR transceiver 130. In the case

where the usage meter 150 is embedded in a platform in the form of a metered device such as' the PDA 12, the

computer 14, the PDA 32, the computer 34, the PDA 52, the computer 54, the PDA 82, the entertainment center 84, the dishwasher 86, the PDA 112, the refrigerator 114, the

dishwasher 116, or the fax machine 128, the block 152 may

be arranged to internally detect messages transmitted

from or received by its platform.

If the block 152 detects a message, a block 154

determines whether the message relates to usage data of

the type that is to be collected. If the message relates to usage data of the type that is to be collected, a

block 156 time stamps and stores the usage data and a

block 158 determines whether it is time to transmit all

stored usage data. For example, the usage data may be

transmitted immediately upon collection, the usage data

may be transmitted at a designated time of day, week, or month, or the usage data may be transmitted when a

predetermined amount of usage data has been stored. If it is time to transmit the usage data, a block 160

transmits the usage data.

If the block 152 determines that a message has not been transmitted or received by its corresponding

platform, or if the block 154 determine that a

transmitted or received message does not relate to usage data of the type that is to be collected, or if the block

158 determines that it is not time to transmit all stored

usage data, or after the block 160 transmits the usage

data, flow returns to the block 152 to detect the next

message or other activity.

Certain modifications and alternatives of the present invention have been discussed above. Other modifications and alternatives will occur to those

practicing in the art of the present invention. For

example, as described above, usage data is transmitted

such as by the block 160 to a central data collection

facility electronically. Alternatively, this usage data

could be forwarded by other means such as by mailing or

otherwise forwarding the usage data on floppy disks or

other storage media.

Also, as described above, the block 152 of the usage meter 150 detects a transmitted or received

message, and the block 154 determines whether the detected message relates to usage data of the type that

is to be collected. However, the metered device may be used in a way that does not result in a transmitted or

received message but that relates to a use of interest.

Therefore, the block 152 of the usage meter 150 also may

be arranged to detect internal messages and/or other

activities which relate to usage data of the type that i

to be collected, as determined by the block 154.

Moreover, as described above, a metered device

may be a refrigerator and/or a dishwasher. However, other household appliances may also be metered in

accordance with the present invention.

Accordingly, the description of the present

invention is to be construed as illustrative only and is

for the purpose of teaching those skilled in the art the best mode of carrying out the invention. The details may

be varied substantially without departing from the spirit

of the invention, and the exclusive use of all

modifications which are within the scope of the appended claims is reserved.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A wireless network comprising:
a first wireless device that wirelessly
transmits and/or receives signals; a second wireless device that wirelessly
transmits and/or receives signals, wherein the second
wireless device is wirelessly coupled with the first
device; and, a usage meter that generates usage data
relating to a user's use of at least the first wireless device .
2. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the
first wireless device comprises a PDA.
3. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the
first wireless device comprises a computer.
4. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the
first wireless device comprises an entertainment
component .
5. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the
first wireless device comprises a fax machine.
6. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the first wireless device comprises a household appliance.
7. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the wireless coupling between the first and second wireless
devices comprises an RF coupling.
8. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the
wireless coupling between the first and second wireless
devices comprises an infrared coupling.
. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the
wireless coupling between the first and second wireless
devices comprises a power line coupling.
10. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein
the first wireless device is arranged to electronically
transmit the usage data to a remote location.
11. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein
the usage meter is arranged to electronically transmit the usage data to a remote location.
12. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the usage meter is part of the first wireless device.
13. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the usage meter is wirelessly coupled to the first
wireless device.
14. The wireless network of claim 13 wherein
the usage meter wirelessly transmits the usage data to a
bridge which is arranged to transmit the usage data
through an electrical line to a remote location.
15. The wireless network of claim 13 wherein
the wireless coupling between the first wireless device
and the usage meter comprises an RF coupling.
16. The wireless network of claim 13 wherein
the wireless coupling between the first wireless device
and the usage meter comprises an infrared coupling.
17. The wireless network of claim 13 wherein the wireless coupling between the first wireless device and the usage meter comprises a power line coupling.
18. The wireless network of claim 1 further comprising third and fourth wireless devices wirelessly
coupled to one another, wherein the wireless coupling
between the first and second wireless devices comprises
an RF coupling and wherein the wireless coupling between
the third and fourth wireless devices comprises an
infrared coupling.
19. The wireless network of claim 18 wherein
the usage meter has an RF coupling and an infrared
coupling.
20. The wireless network of claim 1 further
comprising third and fourth wireless devices wirelessly
coupled to one another, wherein the wireless coupling between the first and second wireless devices comprises
an RF coupling and wherein the wireless coupling between the third and fourth wireless devices comprises a power line coupling.
21. The wireless network of claim 20 wherein
the usage meter has an RF coupling and a power line coupling.
22. The wireless network of claim 1 further
comprising third and fourth wireless devices wirelessly
coupled to one another, wherein the wireless coupling
between the first and second wireless devices comprises
an infrared coupling and wherein the wireless coupling between the third and fourth wireless devices comprises a power line coupling.
23. The wireless network of claim 22 wherein
the usage meter has an infrared coupling and a power line coupling.
24. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the usage meter is separate from the first wireless
device .
25. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein
the usage meter is arranged to passively monitor the user's use of the first wireless device in order to
generate the usage data.
26. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein
the usage meter is arranged to both actively and
passively monitor the user' s use of the first wireless
device in order to generate the usage data.
27. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein
the usage meter is arranged to tap into the wireless
network so as to monitor the user's use of the first
wireless device in order to generate the usage data.
28. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein
the usage meter is arranged to poll the first wireless device in order to generate the usage data.
29. The wireless network of claim 1 wherein the usage meter is arranged to respond to an interrupt
from the first wireless device in order to generate the usage data.
30. A method comprising:
metering usage of a wireless device to generate
usage data regarding a user's use of the wireless device;
and,
communicating the usage data to at least one
central data collection facility.
31. The method of claim 30 wherein the
wireless device comprises a PDA.
32. The method of claim 30 wherein the
wireless device comprises a computer.
33. The method of claim 30 wherein the
wireless device comprises an entertainment component.
34. The method of claim 30 wherein the wireless device comprises a fax machine.
35. The method of claim 30 wherein the
wireless device comprises a household appliance.
36. The method of claim 30 wherein the
wireless device comprises an RF coupling for wireless
coupling to another wireless device.
37. The method of claim 30 wherein the
wireless device includes an infrared coupling for
wireless coupling to another wireless device.
38. The method of claim 30 wherein the
wireless device includes a power line coupling for
wireless coupling to another wireless device.
39. The method of claim 30 wherein a usage
meter as part of the wireless device is arranged to meter usage of the wireless device and to communicate the usage
data to the at least one central data collection facility.
40. The method of claim 30 wherein the
communication of the usage data to the at least one
central data collection facility comprises conveyance of
a memory unit containing the usage data to the at least
one central data collection facility.
41. The method of claim 30 wherein the
communication of the usage data to the at least one
central data collection facility comprises electronic
transmission of the usage data to the at least one
central facility.
42. The method of claim 30 wherein the
metering of usage of a wireless device comprises passively monitoring the user's use of the wireless device in order to generate the usage data.
43. The method of claim 30 wherein the metering of usage of a wireless device comprises actively
and passively monitoring the user's use of the wireless
device in order to generate the usage data.
44. The method of claim 30 wherein the
metering of usage of a wireless device comprises tapping
into a wireless network so as to monitor the user's use
of the wireless device in order to generate the usage
data.
45. The method of claim 30 wherein the
metering of usage of a wireless device comprises polling
the wireless device in order to generate the usage data.
46. The method of claim 30 wherein the
metering of usage of a wireless device comprises responding to an interrupt from the wireless device in order to generate the usage data.
47. A system for accumulating usage data regarding a user's use of a wireless device comprising:
a wireless device having a wireless coupling
adapted to wirelessly couple the wireless device to another wireless device; and,
a usage meter arranged to generate usage data
relating to a user's use of the wireless device.
48. The system of claim 47 wherein the
wireless coupling comprises an RF coupling.
49. The system of claim 47 wherein the
wireless coupling comprises an infrared coupling.
50. The system of claim 47 wherein the
wireless coupling comprises a power line coupling.
51. The system of claim 47 wherein the usage
meter is arranged to electronically transmit the usage
data to a remote location.
52. The system of claim 47 wherein the usage
meter is part of the wireless device.
53. The system of claim 47 wherein the usage
meter is wirelessly coupled to the wireless device.
54. The system of claim 53 wherein the
wireless coupling between the wireless device and the
usage meter comprises an RF coupling.
55. The system of claim 53 wherein the
wireless coupling between the wireless device and the
usage meter comprises an infrared coupling.
56. The system of claim 53 wherein the
wireless coupling between the wireless device and the
usage meter comprises a power line coupling.
57. The system of claim 47 further comprising
an electronic memory arranged to at least temporarily .. store the usage data.
58. The system of claim 47 wherein the usage
meter is arranged ,to passively monitor the user's use of
the wireless device in order to generate the usage data.
59. The system of claim 47 wherein the usage
meter is arranged to both actively and passively monitor
the user's use of the wireless device in order to
generate the usage data.
4:
60. The system of claim 47 wherein the usage
meter is arranged to tap into the wireless network so as
to monitor the user's use of the wireless device in order
to generate the usage data.
61. The system of claim 47 wherein the usage
meter is arranged to poll the wireless device in order to
generate the usage data.
62. The system of claim 47 wherein the usage meter is arranged to respond to an interrupt from the
first wireless device in order to generate the usage data.
63. A computer readable storage medium have
program code stored therein wherein the program code,
when executed by a computer, performs the function of
metering usage of a wireless device in order to generate
usage data relating to a user's use of the wireless
device .
PCT/US2000/034556 2000-09-08 2000-12-19 System and method for measuring the usage of wireless devices WO2002021741A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US65836400 true 2000-09-08 2000-09-08
US09/658,364 2000-09-08

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2002021741A1 true true WO2002021741A1 (en) 2002-03-14

Family

ID=24640945

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/US2000/034556 WO2002021741A1 (en) 2000-09-08 2000-12-19 System and method for measuring the usage of wireless devices

Country Status (1)

Country Link
WO (1) WO2002021741A1 (en)

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP1791281A1 (en) * 2005-11-23 2007-05-30 APS-ASTRA Platform Services GmbH Method and devices for obtaining information about the use of a television network
US8984441B2 (en) 2007-12-06 2015-03-17 Sony Corporation Dynamic update of a user interface based on collected user interactions

Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5382970A (en) * 1991-07-19 1995-01-17 Kiefl; John B. Television viewer monitoring system including portable data meter for each viewer
WO1998026529A2 (en) * 1996-12-11 1998-06-18 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. Interactive service device metering systems

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5382970A (en) * 1991-07-19 1995-01-17 Kiefl; John B. Television viewer monitoring system including portable data meter for each viewer
WO1998026529A2 (en) * 1996-12-11 1998-06-18 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. Interactive service device metering systems

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP1791281A1 (en) * 2005-11-23 2007-05-30 APS-ASTRA Platform Services GmbH Method and devices for obtaining information about the use of a television network
US8984441B2 (en) 2007-12-06 2015-03-17 Sony Corporation Dynamic update of a user interface based on collected user interactions

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
Cerpa et al. SCALE: A tool for simple connectivity assessment in lossy environments
US20050251401A1 (en) Mesh AMR network interconnecting to mesh Wi-Fi network
US20070103296A1 (en) Tag system
US20070032242A1 (en) Methods and Apparatus for Extrapolating Person and Device Counts
US20080015740A1 (en) Temperature control system with multiple networked sensors
US20050076150A1 (en) Home network system and method for operating the same
US20090125351A1 (en) System and Method for Establishing Communications with an Electronic Meter
US7158790B1 (en) Determining service coverage for metropolitan wireless networks
US6980977B2 (en) System for acquiring and analyzing personal profile data and providing the service of delivering various information
US20060159043A1 (en) Integrated building control and information system with wireless networking
US5600632A (en) Methods and apparatus for performance monitoring using synchronized network analyzers
US4058829A (en) TV monitor
US7253732B2 (en) Home intrusion confrontation avoidance system
US20120089523A1 (en) Smartgrid Energy-Usage-Data Storage and Presentation Systems, Devices, Protocol, and Processes Including a Visualization, and Load Fingerprinting Process
US20040059963A1 (en) Systems and methods for providing presence tracking in a distributed computing system
US20100091677A1 (en) Web server and method for hosting a web page for presenting location based user quality data related to a communication network
US20060017324A1 (en) Communications network using installed electrical power lines
US6552525B2 (en) System and method for scheduling and monitoring electrical device usage
WO1999017477A2 (en) Multi tier wireless communication system
WO2000004427A1 (en) Internet utility interconnect method and means
US20060044158A1 (en) Methods and systems for meter reading and high speed data transfer
Sung et al. Temporal spectrum sharing based on primary user activity prediction
CN201312348Y (en) Digital home intelligent terminal device based on ZigBee
US20020007304A1 (en) Method and system for offering customer information service to specific users utilizing communication network and multi-functional communication terminal unit of network-adapted-type for use in same system
JP2009261159A (en) Power management system

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
AL Designated countries for regional patents

Kind code of ref document: A1

Designated state(s): GH GM KE LS MW MZ SD SL SZ TZ UG ZW AM AZ BY KG KZ MD RU TJ TM AT BE CH CY DE DK ES FI FR GB GR IE IT LU MC NL PT SE TR BF BJ CF CG CI CM GA GN GW ML MR NE SN TD TG

AK Designated states

Kind code of ref document: A1

Designated state(s): AE AG AL AM AT AU AZ BA BB BG BR BY BZ CA CH CN CR CU CZ DE DK DM DZ EE ES FI GB GD GE GH GM HR HU ID IL IN IS JP KE KG KP KR KZ LC LK LR LS LT LU LV MA MD MG MK MN MW MX MZ NO NZ PL PT RO RU SD SE SG SI SK SL TJ TM TR TT TZ UA UG UZ VN YU ZA ZW

121 Ep: the epo has been informed by wipo that ep was designated in this application
DFPE Request for preliminary examination filed prior to expiration of 19th month from priority date (pct application filed before 20040101)
REG Reference to national code

Ref country code: DE

Ref legal event code: 8642

122 Ep: pct application non-entry in european phase
NENP Non-entry into the national phase in:

Ref country code: JP