WO2004004286A2 - Telecommunications device - Google Patents

Telecommunications device Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2004004286A2
WO2004004286A2 PCT/GB2003/002747 GB0302747W WO2004004286A2 WO 2004004286 A2 WO2004004286 A2 WO 2004004286A2 GB 0302747 W GB0302747 W GB 0302747W WO 2004004286 A2 WO2004004286 A2 WO 2004004286A2
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
device
connector
arranged
device according
output
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB2003/002747
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2004004286A3 (en )
Inventor
Gordon Brown
Anthony Allen
Stephen M. Degnen
Original Assignee
Inter-Continental Hotels Corporation
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

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02GINSTALLATION OF ELECTRIC CABLES OR LINES, OR OF COMBINED OPTICAL AND ELECTRIC CABLES OR LINES
    • H02G11/00Arrangements of electric cables or lines between relatively-movable parts
    • H02G11/02Arrangements of electric cables or lines between relatively-movable parts using take-up reel or drum
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/26Power supply means, e.g. regulation thereof
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RLINE CONNECTORS; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R31/00Coupling parts supported only by co-operation with counterpart
    • H01R31/005Intermediate parts for distributing signals
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/02Constructional features of telephone sets
    • H04M1/04Supports for telephone transmitters or receivers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/72Substation extension arrangements; Cordless telephones, i.e. devices for establishing wireless links to base stations without route selecting
    • H04M1/725Cordless telephones
    • H04M1/72519Portable communication terminals with improved user interface to control a main telephone operation mode or to indicate the communication status
    • H04M1/72522With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality
    • H04M1/72527With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality provided by interfacing with an external accessory
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RLINE CONNECTORS; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R2201/00Connectors or connections adapted for particular applications
    • H01R2201/04Connectors or connections adapted for particular applications for network, e.g. LAN connectors
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/72Substation extension arrangements; Cordless telephones, i.e. devices for establishing wireless links to base stations without route selecting
    • H04M1/725Cordless telephones
    • H04M1/72519Portable communication terminals with improved user interface to control a main telephone operation mode or to indicate the communication status
    • H04M1/72522With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality
    • H04M1/72527With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality provided by interfacing with an external accessory
    • H04M1/7253With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality provided by interfacing with an external accessory using a two-way short-range wireless interface
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/72Substation extension arrangements; Cordless telephones, i.e. devices for establishing wireless links to base stations without route selecting
    • H04M1/725Cordless telephones
    • H04M1/72519Portable communication terminals with improved user interface to control a main telephone operation mode or to indicate the communication status
    • H04M1/72522With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality
    • H04M1/72547With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality with interactive input/output means for internally managing multimedia messages
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2250/00Details of telephonic subscriber devices
    • H04M2250/02Details of telephonic subscriber devices including a Bluetooth interface
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2250/00Details of telephonic subscriber devices
    • H04M2250/06Details of telephonic subscriber devices including a wireless LAN interface

Abstract

A telecommunications device (100) comprises a first connector (146, 146a, 150), a second data connector (170, 172) and a power supply (169). The first connector (146, 146a, 150) is arranged to communicate with a portable electronic apparatus (500). The second connector (170, 172) is arranged to communicate with a telecommunications network (173) such that a data connection is made between the portable apparatus (500) and the network. The power supply (169) is arranged to power the, or a, portable electronic apparatus (500).

Description

TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEVICE

This invention relates to a telecommunications device. More particularly, but not exclusively it relates to a device arranged to mediate the passage of data between a portable electronic apparatus and a network, and arranged to provide power to the apparatus.

Most hotel rooms now have a power socket and a connection to the Internet, which allow a customer to power their appliances, for example a laptop computer, and connect to the Internet separately. However, most designers attempts to place the socket and connection conveniently are offset bf aesthetic considerations which usually result in the socket and connection being placed close to floor level. This results in a customer having to crawl on the floor in order to find the correct electrical and/or network connection. Also, electrical adaptors are usually required to match the electrical outlet with the plug and the network connector to the laptop computer's cable. This requires the customer to struggle to fit the adaptor, to the socket and/or the cable whilst crawling on the floor

Additionally, the hotel customer will usually carry the adaptors necessary for power and telecommunications connections in their luggage. These adaptors add weight to luggage and are inconvenient for the customer to carry.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a moveable telecommunications device comprising a first connector, a second connector and a power supply, the first and second data connectors being in communication, the first connector being arranged to communicate with a portable electronic apparatus, the second connector being arranged to communicate with a telecommunications network such that a data connection is made between the portable apparatus and the network, the power supply being arranged to power the, or a, portable electronic apparatus via a dedicated power output.

Thus, a telecommunications conduit is provided that can also power a portable apparatus, for example a laptop computer, a personal digital assistant or a mobile phone.

The device may include a screen, which may be arranged to display operating instructions for the device. Alternatively, or additionally, the screen may be arranged to display an advertisement. Preferably advertisement data may be loaded onto the device from the telecommunications network via the second connector. Thus, the system is self-contained without the need for additional instruction manuals to be produced. Additionally, the device can generate advertising revenue for its operator.

Alternatively, the device may be arranged to transfer data to the portable apparatus, via the first connector. The portable apparatus may be arranged to display operating instructions or an advertisement upon a screen thereof.

Alternatively, or additionally, the device may include a loudspeaker. The loudspeaker may be arranged to output information, such as operating instructions and/or advertising, in an audio format. There may be a memory arranged to store data corresponding to the information to be output. Alternatively, or additionally, there may be provided a speech synthesiser which may be arranged to generate data corresponding to the information to be output. This allows partially sighted and blind people to use the device. The device may include a variable voltage regulator. The regulator may be arranged to vary an output voltage from the power supply. The regulator may be a variable output transformer. The variable voltage regulator may be arranged to vary the output voltage automatically, typically in response to the requirements of the portable electronic apparatus. The variable voltage regulator may be arranged to vary the output voltage in response to a user input, for example a selection from a list of possible devices displayed on a screen of the device.

The first connector may be a wireless transceiver, typically using one of the following data transfer standards: IEEEβll .a, IEEEβll .b, Bluetooth, HiPerLan 2, ultra- wide band (UWB). Alternatively or additionally, the first connector may be a hardwired connector, typically operating an Ethernet or Fast Ethernet data transfer standard. The first connector may be a facsimile connector. Alternatively, or additionally the first connector may be a public switched telecommunications network (PSTN) connector arranged to communicate data typically from a modem or a universal serial bus (USB) connector.

The hardwired connection include a spool of cable. The spool may be biased so as to autoretract the cable, in use. Typically, the cable has an RJ45 connector with 8p 8c connection. A connector on the cable may have an autolatch, which may be arranged to prevent auto re traction of the cable, in use. The term "autolatch" is used herein to describe a latch arrangement that automatically engages the cable and a user must take an action, for example, pulling the cable in order to disengage the autolatch from the cable.

The device may include a back buffer, which may be arranged to dampen vibrations due to autoretraction of the cable. A "back buffer" typically means any vibration damping means employed within the device in order to limit vibrations due to the autoretraction of the cable. Typically, the cable is a four conductor type and connection on the RJ45 connector will typically be 1 , 2, 3, 6. The connection may be IEEE 802.11a or 802.11b compliant and will typically support speed of lOBase-T and 100Base-T.

Typically the second connector has a hardwired connection to the telecommunications network. An end of the hardwired connection may be fixed internally of the device and another end of the connection may be fixed to a structural feature, for example a wall or a floor. This acts as an anti-theft arrangement with the device effectively being tethered to the structural feature.

The hardwired connection may be an integrated service digital network (ISDN) connection. Alternatively, or additionally, the hardwired connection may be a public switched telephone network (PSTN) connection, which may be capable of transmitting voice, fax and data signals.

The device may be arranged to be located on a desk or other user convenient surface. A power cable may be arranged to be stored about a basal portion of the device when, not in use. The power cable may be arranged to be received in a recess or groove provided about the basal portion or side of the device, when not in use. The screen may be located in an upper portion of the device. There may be provided a user interface arranged to allow a user to navigate a menu displayed on the screen, typically in the form of a plurality of buttons. The buttons may be located adjacent the screen. The first connector may be located substantially in the middle of the device, as may the second connector. All of these features serve to provide a convenient, user friendly device. The portable electronic apparatus may be at least one of the following: laptop computer, mobile telephone, personal digital assistant (PDA).

It will be appreciated that the term "moveable" as used herein encompasses a device that has an external power supply and network connections and is readily transportable by hand within a local environment, for example, within a room. Typically, a "moveable" device will weigh less than 5kg, or possibly less than 2kg.

It will be appreciated that the term "portable" as used herein encompasses those devices that are self-contained with their own internal power source of limited duration and capable of being readily transported. Typically a portable device weighs no more than 5Kg and is no more that 45cm x 25 cm x 10 cm in dimensions.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of providing a telecommunications link and power to a portable electronic apparatus comprising the steps of: i) providing a moveable telecommunications device in accordance with the first aspect of the present invention; ii) connecting a data output port of the apparatus to the first connector of the device; iii) connecting the second connector of the device to the telecommunications network; iv) routeing data from the apparatus to the network via the device; and v) connecting a power input of the apparatus to the power supply of the device.

The method may include connecting the output port to the first connector wirelessly, typically employing at least one of the following data transfer standards: IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth, HiPerLAN 2, UWB. The method may include connecting the second connector to the network wirelessly, typically employing at least one of the following data transfer standards: IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth, HiPerLAN 2, UWB. The method may include connecting the output and the first connector by a hardwired connection. The method may include connecting the second connector to the network by a hardwired connection, typically an Ethernet, or ISDN connection. The method may include fixing the hardwired connection between the second connector and the network to a structural feature, for example a wall or a floor.

The method may include outputting information from the device upon a screen of the device. The method may include displaying operating upon a screen of the device. The method may include displaying and advertisement upon a screen of the device. The method may include storing data relating to the information to be output from the device at the time of manufacture, for example, in an unalterable form. The method may include uploading data relating to information to be output from the device from the network.

The method may include providing a loudspeaker. The method may include storing sounds to be output from the loudspeaker. Alternatively, or additionally, the method may include generating the sounds at a processor of the device. The method may include outputting the sounds in response to a user input.

The method may include downloading data relating to information to be output from the device to the apparatus. The method may include displaying the information to be output upon a display of the apparatus. Alternatively, or additionally, the method may include outputting the information to be output via a loudspeaker of the apparatus. The method may include regulating a voltage output from the power supply in step (v) . The method may include providing a variable transformer to regulate the voltage. The method may include regulating the voltage in response to a user input.

The method may include providing a user interface in the form of a plurality of buttons. The method may include navigating information displayed on the screen using the buttons.

According to a third aspect of the present invention there is a method of advertising goods and/or services in a hotel room comprising the steps of: i) providing a moveable combined power supply and data connection device having an information output; and ii) outputting an advertisement at the output.

The method may include providing the information output in the form of a screen. Alternatively, or additionally, the method may include providing the information output in the form of a loudspeaker.

The method may include storing a set of data relating to the information upon a storage medium within the device. The storage medium may be any one or combination of the following: ROM, CD, hard disc, floppy disc, DVD. The method may include storing the set of data at the time of manufacture of the device. The method may include storing the data in an unalterable form. The method may include uploading data from a network or a remote source of data.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention there is a method of advertising goods and/or services in a hotel room comprising the steps of: i) providing a moveable combined power supply and data connection device; ii) connecting a portable apparatus having an information output to the device; and iii) outputting an advertisement from the output.

The method may include providing the information output in the form of a screen. Alternatively, or additionally, the method may include providing the information output in the form of a loudspeaker.

The method may include storing a set of data relating to the information upon a storage medium within the device. The storage medium may be any one or combination of the following: ROM, CD, hard disc, floppy disc, DND. The method may include storing the set of data at the time of manufacture of the device. The method may include storing the data in an unalterable form. The method may include uploading data from a network or a remote source of data.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of improving the desirability of a hotel room to a customer comprising providing a moveable combined power supply and data connection device for the customer's portable electronic apparatus.

The method may include providing the device at a convenient location for the customer. The method may include providing the device at a convenient height for the customer. The method may include providing the device on a desk.

It will be appreciated that the term customer encompasses any person in the hotel room wishing to use an electronic apparatus, not just a paying guest of the hotel. According to a sixth aspect of the present invention there is provided a hotel room including a moveable device according to the first aspect of the present invention.

According to a seventh aspect of the present invention there is provided a hotel room including a moveable device capable of executing a method according to the second aspect of the present invention.

According to an eighth aspect of the present invention there is provided a hotel including a hotel room according to either of the sixth or seventh aspects of the present invention.

The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a front view of a device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a side view of the device of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is an exploded rear perspective view of the device of Figure 1 ;

Figure 4 is a schematic representation of an internal layout of the device of Figure 1 ;

Figure 5 is a perspective view of the device of Figure 1 , in use;

Figure 6 is a front view of the device of Figure 1 including a front face- blanking panel; Figure 7 is a front view of a device in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 8 is a flow diagram of a method of providing a telecommunications link and power to a portable electronic apparatus in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

Figure 9 is a flow diagram of a method of advertising goods and/or services in a hotel room in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

Figure 10 is a flow diagram of an alternative method of advertising goods and/or services in a hotel room in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

Figure 11 is a flow diagram of a method of improving the desirability of a hotel room to a customer; and

Figure 12 is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of a hotel in accordance with an aspect of the present invention including a hotel room in accordance with at least one aspect of the present invention.

Referring now to figures 1 to 6, a moveable telecommunications connection device 100 comprises a moulded fascia 102 and a rear, generally hollow, moulded body 104, both of which are typically fabricated from a plastic material, for example high impact acrylonitrile- butadiene-styrene (ABS) . The fascia 102 and body 104 are typically fabricated by injection moulding and are usually made from a ULN0 rated material. The body 104 comprises a conic base section 106 joined to a cylindrical neck portion 108 having circumferentially extending curved grooves 110 thereabout. A concave rear wall 112 and a slightly convex front wall 114 extended away from an opposite end of the neck portion 108 to the base section 106. The front wall 114 has a ledge 115 projecting therefrom at its lower end. Typically the device weighs 5kg or less, although it could weigh less than 2kGn and even possibly less than 1kg. It is desirable to make the device light but not so light that is unstable and easy to knock over. Typically, a steel plate in the base section 106 keeps the centre of gravity of the device low and prevents it from falling over.

The base section 106 incorporates a mild steel base plate 116, which has an anti-slip rubber mat 118 fixed on an outer face thereof. The rubber mat 188 is intended to prevent accidental motion of the device 100 whilst still allowing the device 100 to be moved readily by a user to a convenient location.

The fascia 102 has convex front face 120 with a wall 122 extending substantially at right angles thereto about three sides of the face 120. The walls 122 of the fascia moulding 102 are arranged to snap-fittingly engage the body 104. A lower edge 124 of the front face 120 abuts the ledge 115 such that the edge 124 and a free end of the ledge from a substantially continuous surface.

Both the fascia 102 and the ledge 115 have respective recesses 126, 128 at their respective midpoints. The recesses 126, 128 define a power socket housing 130.

The fascia 102 has a recess towards an upper end thereof in which is located a lens 132, typically of polished polycarbonate or any other suitable transparent plastics or other material. The fascia 102 has openings 134a-c located adjacent a lower edge of the lens 132. A recess 136 is located between the socket housing 130 and the lens 132. The body 104 has a screen 142, typically on LCD screen, mounted thereupon which is adjacent the lens 132 when the fascia 102 and the body 104 are engaged with each other. The lens 132 has a border 143 typically sprayed on which defines screen 142. The screen 142 typically displays four lines of sixteen characters with each character consisting of a five by seven dot matrix. The screen 142 is typically not backlit, in order to reduce the power requirements of the system, but may be if required. The screen 142 is typically driven by a compact power supply unit (PSU) 147 with the body 104. The PSU 147 receives power from a power input line, described hereinafter, and is typically rated at 5N, 100mA DC output, from a 110-230 VAC input.

There may be provided a loudspeaker 149 or other audio output via which an audio version of the operating instructions or an advertisement can be output. This audio version is either stored as a recording of a human or alternatively it can be generated at a speech synthesiser controlled by or within a processor 145. This arrangement allows partially sighted or blind people to use the device. The content displayed on the screen 142, typically operating instructions for the connection device 100, is normally fixed and operated from the dedicated processor 145, internal of the body 104. It is possible that the content displayed upon the screen 142 will include advertisements, possibly for airlines, other hotels and computer supplies. This content may be uploaded from an external network.

It will further be appreciated that the information output via the screen 142 and/or the loudspeaker 149 can include such information as time, date, fire exit locations and fire procedures and the device may be configurable to provide alarm calls.

The openings 134a-c accommodate three control pushbuttons 144a-c. The pushbuttons 144a-c are connected to the processor 145 such that they allow a user of the device to navigate menus and make selections for example to select which language the instruction are displayed.

The recess 136 has two 138a, b openings adjacent each other therethrough and a third opening 140 is slightly spaced from the openings 138a,b.

The opening 138a receives a fax/modem socket 146 from the body 104. The fax socket 146 allows a user to connect a fax machine or a modem for analogue connection to a public switched telephone network (PSTN) (sometimes referred to as a plain old telephone system (POTS)). The socket 146 is usually an RJ11 socket typically wired for connection to the PSTN on pins 3 and 4 only. The socket 146 provides a interface which is a reflection of the properties of the locally installed telephone system.

The opening 138b receives a broadband socket 146a from the body. Where a direct broadband data connection is possible, i.e. the hotel room is fitted with a broadband connection typically ISDN, the socket 146a provides direct feed from a broadband output from a laptop or other device to the broadband network. The socket 146a is typically adapted to receive an RJ45 connector with 8p 8c connection incorporating latch protection which is wired 1,2,3,6. The socket 146a includes an auto- switch that disables a spooled network cable 148, described in detail hereinafter when a connection is made into the socket 146a by a regular network patch cable.

The opening 140 receives the cable 148 from within the body 104. The cable 148 is usually an Ethernet cable having a connector 150 at one end. The connector 150 is typically an RJ45 with an 8p 8c connection arrangement with latch protection. The cable 148 is usually mounted on an auto-retracting spool 152 with the body 104. Both the connector 105 and the body 104 have back buffers to dampen the vibration effects of cable return.

The cable is typically 600mm to 900mm long and is a four conductor type cable with connections on 1, 2, 3, 6 contacts of the RJ45 connector 150. The cable 148 is connected to an interface within the device that is compliant to IEEE802.il and supports data transfer rates of lOBase-T.

The housing 130 receives a T-shape power outlet 154 connected to a power cable 156 typically a 900mm long, 6.75mm diameter, PNC cable. The outlet 154 has two sockets 158, 160 at opposite ends of a cross spar 161 of the T shaped outlet 154. This allows both sockets to be used concurrently. The socket can be of different configurations for attachment to different devices. The socket 158 is typically a C5 clover style socket wired for line, neutral and earth and usually rated at 2.5 Amperes. The socket 140 is usually a C7 shaver style socket that is wired for line and neutral and typically rated at 2.5 Amperes. The female sockets 158, 160 may be replaced by male plug connectors in some embodiments. It is envisaged that in some embodiments there may be provided a number of power charging adaptors, typically in the form of a pack provided with the device, to allow the socket 158 to be used with a plurality of different devices, for example mobile telephone, laptop computers and devices from countries where the power sockets differ from those of the location of the device.

When not in use the cable 156 wraps around the neck section 108 and rests in the grooves 110. Either one of the sockets 158, 160 is received in the housing 130 when the cable is not in use. The cable 156 enters the device 100 at the neck section 108 and the cable 156 is connected to a power input socket 162 that opens outwardly from the base section 106. The input socket 162 is typically on IEC320 C14 kettle style input socket. A cable 164 having a complimentary plug 166 to the socket 162 and a nation specific plug 168 is fitted into the socket 162 and a wall socket (not shown) to provide power to the sockets 158,160.

The cable 164 is typically 2500mm long, 6.75mm diameter and sheathed in PVC. This arrangement provides mains surge protection, mains filtering and RCD options if required.

In a preferred embodiment the device 100 may include a transformer 169 intermediate the input socket 162 and the sockets 158, 160 which is, for example controlled from a menu displayed on the screen 142 by use of the pushbuttons 144a-c, i.e. it is user selectable. The transformer 169 is used to ensure that the correct output voltage is supplied to a users apparatus if this differs from the national standard voltage supplied. Alternatively, or additionally, the output voltage of the device may be automatically selected by the device itself.

For example, in a country with a 11 ON mains standard a step up transformer may be introduced into the circuit if a user selects a higher required supply voltage for laptop their than 11 ON UK from a list of countries mains supply voltage displayed on the screen 142 to supply voltage to their laptop computers, for example the UK has a 240N r.m.s. standard voltage.

It will be appreciated that device 100 need not be supplied with the transformer 169 and may supply power at the local output voltage.

Referring now to Figure 5, a laptop computer 500 comprising a screen 502, a keyboard 504. The computer 500 typically includes a mobile

Pentium® 4 processor, a hard disc, a mouse, RAM and a modem. The modem is connected to the connection device 100 via a cable 506 at the fax/modem socket 146.

The device 100 is mounted upon a desk 507, the mild steel base plate 116 adding weight, and the anti-slip mat 118 further providing protection against accidental movement of the device when in use. The screen 142 is conveniently located towards the top of the device 100 in order to provide a convenient display as close to the eye level of a user as possible. The fax connection, 146, wideband connection 146a, and cable 148 are conveniently located at the front of device 100 such that they are easily accessible. The power cable 156 is wound about the neck portion when not in use and the power outlet 154 is retained in the socket housing when not in use.

The cable 156 is partially unwound from the neck portion 108 and the one of the socket 158, 160, receives a plug (not shown) from a transformer of the laptop computer 500 or a plug directly from the laptop computer 500.

The broadband socket 146a, and the connector 150 are output from the device 100 via a common output cable 170. The output cable 170 typically contains an integrated services digital network (ISDN) line. Typically, the cable 170 is fixedly mounted to a connection point in, for example, a wall. This limits the opportunity for the unauthorised removal of the device 100 from the hotel room. A PSTN line 172 is also output from the device 100 to accommodate fax, low data rate data and voice signals. Both the PSTN line 172 and the cable 170 provide connections to a network 173, for example the Internet or a telecommunications network.

It is envisaged that in an alternative embodiment there may be no screen 142 and operating instructions for the device 100 and/or an advertisement may be downloaded from the device 100 to the screen 502 of the laptop computer. Even where there is a screen 142 the device may download a 'welcome' interface to the customer's laptop computer 500 upon the customer connecting to the device 100.

It will further be appreciated that the apparatus connected and powered from the device need not be a laptop computer, it may be a mobile telephone, a PDA or any other suitable portable device.

A front blanking panel 600 is arranged to engage with the fascia 102 such that it covers the display 142, the fax socket 146, the broadband socket 146a and the cable 148. This leaves the device 100 capable of acting as a PSTN connector and power supply only. The panel 600 can be removed as desired when the appropriate telecommunications infrastructure is installed into the location of the device 100. The panel 100 can also be fitted over the fascia 102 should children be staying in a hotel room and their parents wish to deny them access to the Internet.

Further optional features include inline power surge protection to provide increased customer confidence and protection from lightning strikes and also surge protection and line filtering for the customer's modem.

Referring now to Figure 7, a moveable telecommunications device 700 is substantially similar to that described with reference to Figures 1 to 6 except that the hardwired communications ports 146, 146a, 148 and 170 are replaced by wireless transceivers 746, 746a, 748 and 770. These wireless transceivers 746, 746a, 748 and 770 are typically infra-red connectors that are adapted to employ the IEEE 802.11b telecommunications standard. Alternatively, the connectors are configured individually to employ any one, or combination, of the following standards: IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth, HiPerLan 2. In another alternative any one, or more, of the connectors may not be infra- red connectors but is configured to use an ultra-wideband (UWB) data transfer standard.

It will be appreciated that the features of the embodiments shown in Figure 1 to 7 can be interchanged such that there is a mixture of hardwired and wireless data communication channels on a single device 100.

Referring now to Figure 8, a method of providing a telecommunications link and power to a portable electronic apparatus comprises providing a moveable telecommunications device 100, 700 as described with reference to Figures 1 to 7 (Step 800). A data output port of the apparatus connects to a first connector of the device (step 802) and a second connector of the device connects to a telecommunications network (Step 804). Data from the apparatus is routed to the network via the device (Step 806). A power input of the apparatus is connected to the power supply of the device (Step 808).

Referring now to Figure 9, a method of advertising goods and/or services in a hotel room comprises providing a moveable combined power supply and data connection device having an information output (Step 900) and outputting an advertisement at the output (Step 902) .

Referring now to Figure 10, an alternative method of advertising goods and/or services in a hotel room comprises providing a moveable combined power supply and data connection device (Step 1000), connecting a portable apparatus having an information output to the device (Step 1002) and outputting an advertisement from the output (Step 1004).

Referring now to Figure 11, a method of improving the desirability of a hotel room to a customer comprises providing a moveable combined power supply and data connection device for the customer's portable electronic apparatus (Step 1100).

Referring now to Figure 12, a hotel 1200 includes a plurality of rooms 1202 at least one of which includes a moveable telecommunications device 100, 700 as described with reference to Figure 1 to 7.

It would be helpful to discuss how a hotel guest will use the device.

One possible scenario, using one particular embodiment of the device, is as follows.

A business traveller checks into their hotel late, say at 9.00 p.m. They are tired and have travelled a long way. They go to their room and being diligent they decide to check their e-mails/prepare themselves for the next days work/business. They want to re-charge their mobile telephone and access their e-mails. They get their laptop computer and mobile telephone and sit down at the desk that is provided in the hotel room. On the desk is the device - the combined telecommunications link and recharging unit. They sit down at the desk, pull out the re-charging lead with the re-charging connector attached to the end (connector 108 for example), plug the connector into their mobile telephone to re-charge it (or alternatively the end of the re-charging lead could have a socket into which they hotel guest plugs their mobile telephone re-charging adaptor/ unit, which in turn has a lead which they have connected to the mobile telephone itself.

They connect their laptop computer to the outside world via a communications port (e.g. port 148) of the device, again whilst seated at the table, and access the internet/their e-mails via the device at the same time as re-charging their mobile telephone.

Obviously, they could simultaneously re charge their laptop whilst accessing the outside world via the device.

None of the above involves the tired, irritable, business traveller searching the room for an electrical socket into which they can plug their telephone re-charger, discovering the electrical socket in one corner of the room and getting down on their hands and knees to plug the mobile telephone re-charger into the floor-level electrical power supply socket. This is not really liked by people. Nor does the above scenario involve the hotel guest discovering that the only available electrical socket for re-charging their mobile telephone is in one corner of the room, and the telephone/internet communications port that may be provided in the hotel room is in the opposite corner of the room, so far apart that the user cannot simultaneously operate a device that is being re-charged (in one corner of the room) , and access a telephone/internet network (in another corner of the room) . All of the power supply/telecommunications networking points are provided in a single unit, at the same location.

Obviously, it may be possible for the hotel guest to pick the combined telecommunications port and re-charging unit up, typically in ones hand - because it may only weigh one kilogram or less, and carry it to a chair, or settee, or even their bed, if they wish to use it their.

The device also has the helpful feature of being able to cover up with a front facia plate/mask certain functionality/buttons to prevent access by some people (e.g. children). This may be at the choice of the hotel guest - and the covering mask/shutter/door may be provided with a pin number lock, or physical lock and key, or some other control mechanism to enable access to be allowed or denied to control switches that are underneath the masking cover. Alternatively, certain functionality could be electronically disallowed/disabled by the input of commands, again possibly using a master pin number or other identification mechanism, by the hotel guest, without the need physically to prevent access to control buttons.

It will be appreciated that by a moveable, portable, device is meant something that can sit on a desktop and be moved around with ease by a user. Something smaller than a typical 1-inch screen cathode-ray tube "television" visual display unit of a computer; something smaller than a briefcase; something that may well be about the same size as a house-brick (20cm or so in maximum length); something that weighs less than 5kg, and might even weigh as little as 1kg or less. It should not take-up too much space on the desk top, nor be too heavy. On the other hand, it should not be so light, and unbalanced, that it keeps falling over.

Since the device may well have a micro-processor in it, it may be possible or appropriate to provide a clock, and an alarm function - perhaps a wake-up call alarm clock could be provided within the device as well.

If the device has a display screen, that display screen may be usable by a user to display pictures/data obtained via their own telecommunication device. For example it may be better for a user to view screens on the device's screen, rather than their mobile telephone screen - the device's screen may well be larger than their mobile telephone screen. That functionality may be provided.

The device may have a built-in camera and/or microphone, and may be appropriate for the video conferencing - i.e. it may capture audio and visual information from its vicinity, and send it to a remote source, and it may display visual information as present audio information from a remote source.

It will be appreciated that the device is not a general purpose PC. It does not have the ability to load and run and wide range of software application programs - it has certain dedicated functions associated with re-charging devices, and telecommunicating, and perhaps enhancing the ease with which small mobile telecommunication devices can be used/appreciated by a guest - but does not have a general purpose CPU configured to enable it to run a wide variety of programs, with a wide variety of programs being installed in usable memory in the device. It may, however, be economic to use a general CPU chip that could, conceivably, have additional functionality, but not to provide the appropriate memory and not to configure it to be widely adaptable by a user. The invention is not providing a personal computer on the desk.

Many embodiments of the device have a generally upright display screen, which may be about the size of a hand or smaller. Many devices do not have any, or much, memory available for storing data - they will have modem functionality, but not data-storage capacity (not to any great extent) .

It will be appreciated that the re-charging facility on the device may be provided by the device having a transformer capable of transforming one voltage and current of electrical supply (provided to the device itself) to another voltage and current suitable for inputting to a hotel guest's electronic device. The desk-mounted device may be "smart" in the sense that it can determine what voltage and/or current is appropriate for the hotel guest device, or the hotel guest may be able to select a desired output voltage and/or current. The desk mounted device may have a plurality of electrical re-charging outputs, which may be at different voltages/currents .

Claims

1. A moveable telecommunications device comprising a first connector, a one second data connector and a power supply, the first and second connectors being in communication, the first connector being arranged to communicate with a portable electronic apparatus, the second connector being arranged to communicate with a telecommunications network such that a data connection is made between the portable apparatus and the network, the power supply being arranged to power the, or a, portable electronic apparatus via a dedicated power output.
2. A device according to claim 1 including a screen.
3. A device according to claim 2 wherein the device is arranged to transfer data to the portable apparatus, via the first connector, and the portable apparatus is arranged to display operating instructions or an advertisement upon the screen.
4. A device according to either of claims 2 or 3 wherein the screen is located in an upper portion of the device.
5. A device as claimed in any one of claims 2 to 4 wherein a user interface is arranged to allow a user to navigate a menu displayed on the screen.
6. A device according to any preceding claim wherein there is provided a variable voltage regulator arranged to vary an output voltage from the power supply.
7. A device as claimed in claim 6 wherein the variable voltage regulator is arranged to vary the output voltage automatically.
8. A device as claimed in claim 6 wherein the variable voltage regulator is arranged to vary the output voltage in response to a user input.
9. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the device includes a loudspeaker arranged to output information in an audio format.
10. A device according to claim 9 wherein there is a memory arranged to store data corresponding to the information to be output.
11. A device according to either of claims 9 or 10 wherein there is a speech synthesiser arranged to generate data corresponding to the information to be output.
12. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the first connector is a wireless transceiver.
13. A device according to any one of claims 1 to 11 wherein the first connector is a hardwired connector.
14. A device according to claim 13 wherein the hardwired connection includes a spool of cable.
15. A device according to claim 14 wherein the spool is biased so as to autore tract the cable, in use.
16. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the first connector is a facsimile connector and/or a public switched telecommunications network (PSTN) connector.
17. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the second connector has a hardwired connection to the telecommunications network.
18. A device according to claim 17 wherein an end of the hardwired connection is fixed internally of the device and another end of the connection is fixed to a structural feature.
19. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the hardwired connection is an integrated service digital network (ISDN) connection and/or a public switched telephone network (PSTN) connection.
20. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the device is arranged to be located on a desk or other user convenient surface.
21. A device according to any preceding claim wherein a power cable is arranged to be stored about a basal portion of the device when not in use.
22. A device according to any preceding claim wherein either, or both, of the first and second connectors are located substantially in the middle of the device.
23. A device according to any preceding claim wherein the portable electronic apparatus is at least one of the following: laptop computer, mobile telephone, personal digital assistant (PDA) .
24. A method of providing a telecommunications link and power to a portable electronic apparatus comprising the steps of: i) providing a moveable telecommunications device in accordance with any one of claims 1 to 23; ii) connecting a data output port of the apparatus to the first connector of the device; iii) connecting the second connector of the device to the telecommunications network; iv) routeing data from the apparatus to the network via the device; and v) connecting a power input of the apparatus to the power supply of the device.
25. A method according to claim 24 including outputting information from the device upon a screen of the device.
26. A method according to either of claims 24 or 25 including uploading data relating to information to be output from the device from the network.
27. A method according to any one of claims 24 to 26 including downloading data relating to information to be output from the device to the apparatus.
28. A method according to any one of claims 24 to 32 including connecting the output port to the at least one fist connector wirelessly.
29. A method according to any one of claims 24 to 28 including connecting the second connector to the network by a hardwired connection.
30. A method according to claim 29 including fixing the hardwired connection between the second connector and the network to a structural feature.
31. A method according to any one of claims 24 to 37 including regulating a voltage output from the power supply in step (v).
32. A hotel room including a device according to any one of claims 1 to 23.
33. A hotel room including a device capable of executing a method according to any one of claims 24 to 31.
34. A hotel including a hotel room according to either of claims 32 or 33.
PCT/GB2003/002747 2002-06-29 2003-06-27 Telecommunications device WO2004004286A3 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB0215131.4 2002-06-29
GB0215131A GB0215131D0 (en) 2002-06-29 2002-06-29 Telecommunications device

Applications Claiming Priority (6)

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DE2003192883 DE10392883T5 (en) 2002-06-29 2003-06-27 telecommunications equipment
MXPA05000157A MXPA05000157A (en) 2002-06-29 2003-06-27 Telecommunications device.
AU2003242846A AU2003242846A1 (en) 2002-06-29 2003-06-27 Telecommunications device
BR0305242A BR0305242A (en) 2002-06-29 2003-06-27 mobile telecommunications method for providing a telecommunications and energy link for a portable electronic device, hotel room and hotel
CA 2491285 CA2491285A1 (en) 2002-06-29 2003-06-27 Telecommunications device
GB0500327A GB2406003A (en) 2002-06-29 2003-06-27 Telecommunications device

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WO2004004286A3 true WO2004004286A3 (en) 2004-08-19

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CA (1) CA2491285A1 (en)
DE (1) DE10392883T5 (en)
GB (2) GB0215131D0 (en)
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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
WO2004004286A3 (en) 2004-08-19 application
CA2491285A1 (en) 2004-01-08 application
GB0215131D0 (en) 2002-08-07 application
GB2406003A (en) 2005-03-16 application
DE10392883T5 (en) 2005-08-18 application
GB0500327D0 (en) 2005-02-16 application
CN1672390A (en) 2005-09-21 application

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