WO2008144373A1 - Technique for providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit-switched communications - Google Patents

Technique for providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit-switched communications Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2008144373A1
WO2008144373A1 PCT/US2008/063668 US2008063668W WO2008144373A1 WO 2008144373 A1 WO2008144373 A1 WO 2008144373A1 US 2008063668 W US2008063668 W US 2008063668W WO 2008144373 A1 WO2008144373 A1 WO 2008144373A1
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WO
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
user equipment
caller
alert
communication session
originated alert
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2008/063668
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
L. Scott Bloebaum
Charles Liu
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Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Ab
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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M7/00Interconnection arrangements between switching centres
    • H04M7/0024Services and arrangements where telephone services are combined with data services
    • H04M7/0033Notification or handling of incoming calls by a computer
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/02Ringing or otherwise calling substations
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M7/00Interconnection arrangements between switching centres
    • H04M7/12Interconnection arrangements between switching centres for working between exchanges having different types of switching equipment, e.g. power-driven and step by step, decimal and non-decimal, circuit-switched and packet-switched, i.e. gateway arrangements
    • H04M7/1205Interconnection arrangements between switching centres for working between exchanges having different types of switching equipment, e.g. power-driven and step by step, decimal and non-decimal, circuit-switched and packet-switched, i.e. gateway arrangements where the types of switching equipement comprises PSTN/ISDN equipment and switching equipment of networks other than PSTN/ISDN, e.g. Internet Protocol networks
    • H04M7/1225Details of core network interconnection arrangements
    • H04M7/123Details of core network interconnection arrangements where the packet-switched network is an Internet Protocol Multimedia System-type network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2203/00Aspects of automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M2203/65Aspects of automatic or semi-automatic exchanges related to applications where calls are combined with other types of communication
    • H04M2203/651Text message transmission triggered by call
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M7/00Interconnection arrangements between switching centres
    • H04M7/0093Interconnection arrangements between switching centres signalling arrangements in networks

Abstract

A technique for providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit-switched communications is disclosed. According to one embodiment, the technique may be realized as a method comprising the steps of: transmitting (2504), from a first user equipment (2600), a request to initiate a communication session with a second user equipment (2600); notifying the second user equipment (2600) of the communication session and an incoming caller-originated alert, the notification being transmitted via a circuit-switched channel; and causing a phonepage server to transmit (2508), via a packet-switched channel, the caller-originated alert to the second user equipment (2600) for rendering (2510) thereon to alert a user associated with the second user equipment (2600).

Description

TECHNIQUE FOR PROVIDING CALLER-ORIGINATED ALERT SIGNALS IN CIRCUIT-SWITCHED COMMUNICATIONS

RELATED APPLICATIONS The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/938,004, filed May 15, 2007, and U.S. Patent Application No. 11/761 ,623, filed June 12, 2007, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention relates generally to communication systems. More specifically, the invention relates to the transfer of data objects between communication devices in a communication system.

BACKGROUND With the convergence of voice and data communication networks, portable communication devices are increasingly likely to support several communication modes, as well as a number of communication-related applications. Single-purpose cellular phones and alphanumeric pagers have given way to complex mobile devices supporting voice communications, e-mail, and instant messaging. A typical device often includes a camera, a music player, and sound recorder, and may include a global positioning system (GPS) receiver. Many of these devices and their supporting wireless networks now enable simultaneous use of multiple communication modes. Thus, a device user today might engage in a voice call and simultaneously send or receive text messages, digital images, video clips, or the like.

A few applications have been developed to take advantage of this simultaneous availability of multiple communications modes. In particular, several patents and patent application publications describe a so-called Phone Pages system, in which the generation and transfer of multimedia data objects is triggered by various communication-related events. These data objects, or Phone Pages, thus supplement a primary communication session, such as a voice call, an e-mail exchange, or an instant message conversation. The Phone Pages concept is described in the following patents and patent application publications, the contents of which are each incorporated by reference herein: U.S. Patent No. 6,922,721 , titled "Exchange of Information in a Communication System" and issued on July 26, 2005 to Minborg et al.; U.S. Patent Application Publication 2005/0271041 A1 , titled "Exchange of Information in a Communication System" and filed on June 1 , 2005 by Minborg et al.; U.S. Patent No. 6,996,072, titled "Method and Apparatus for Exchange of Information in a Communication Network" and issued on February 7, 2006 to Minborg; U.S. Patent No. 6,977,909, titled "System and Method for Exchange of Information in a Communication Network" and issued on December 20, 2005 to Minborg; and U.S. Patent Application Publication 2006/0114845, also titled "System and Method for Exchange of Information in a Communication network" and filed on November 14, 2005 by Minborg.

The communication techniques and systems described in the preceding references provide a variety of enhancements to conventional modes of communication, facilitating the convenient exchange of various data objects between users of communications devices. These enhancements may be quite valuable both for promoting personal relationships and for supporting business and enterprise communications. However, if unrestrained, the increased flow of data objects may be overwhelming, both for system users and for the system itself.

SUMMARY

The present invention overcomes the above identified deficiencies of identifying and finding a data object and navigating between a set of data objects by applying a novel connection between a data-communications network and a telecommunications network.

In one aspect of the present invention a technique for connecting a dialed B-party number to a data object is described. A data object can for example be graphical, text, sound, voice, animations, static or dynamic pictures, or any combination. The connecting of a B-party number to a specific data object, hereafter referred to as phonepage, will allow an A-party direct access to information that a B-party wishes to display to a calling party. The phonepage resides in a memory in a telecommunications network, or in a memory in a data-communications network connected thereto. The phonepage may have a similar appearance to an Internet web page, but may also take other appearances. The displaying of the phonepage may be made dependent upon the capabilities of the A-party user equipment.

Dependent on the type of equipment used by the A-party, the node storing the phonepages may, upon detection of type of equipment, select the most advantageous way of displaying a selected data object.

Also, dependent on the A-party user equipment, the phonepage may provide different levels of interaction possibilities, i.e., only display information, or be a fully interactive data object with a duplex communication between the A-party and the node housing the memory in which the phonepage is stored. The phonepages may be configured to be displayed automatically or by indication from the A-party. In a variant of the invention also a B-party has the same capabilities of obtaining phonepages upon reception of an A-number in conjunction with an incoming call.

In another aspect of the present invention, a node in a data-communication or telecommunication system is described. The node consists of at least a database memory including at least indications of the phonepages and upon access from a remote request, respond with said indication.

The transfer of the indication to a calling A-party may be dependent on type of connection and access technology used in the connection. For example in a connection where both circuit switched and packet switched communication is simultaneously possible, the indication may be transferred on a packet switched communication resource and, e.g., voice communication may be initiated on the circuit switched communication resource. In other types of connections, two data flows may be set-up on one or several simultaneous packet switched communication resources, e.g., speech and data transfer. Another example is when voice communication is initiated over a circuit switched communication resource and the phonepage indications are transferred over a packet switched channel with limited performance such as an SMS channel.

Of course, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention is not limited to the above contexts or examples, and will recognize additional features and advantages upon reading the following detailed description and upon viewing the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 illustrates a communication system according to one or more embodiments of the present invention.

Figure 2 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary system 2400 for providing caller- originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 3 is a logic flow diagram illustrating an exemplary method for providing caller- originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session.

Figure 4 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary communication device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention is described below in reference to a wireless telecommunications system providing voice and data services to a mobile device. Various systems providing voice and data services have been deployed, such as GSM networks (providing circuit-switched communications) and GPRS (providing packet-switched communications); still others are currently under development. These systems may employ any or several of a number of wireless access technologies, such as Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDA), Orthogonal Frequency

Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), Time Division Duplex (TDD), and Frequency Division

Duplex (FDD). The present invention is not limited to any specific type of wireless communications network or access technology. Indeed, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the network configurations discussed herein are only illustrative. The inventive techniques disclosed herein may be applied to "wired" devices accessing conventional voice or data networks, as well as wireless devices. The invention may be practiced with devices accessing voice and/or data networks via wireless local area networks (WLANs) or via one or more of the emerging wide-area wireless data networks, such as those under development by the 3rd- Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

Figure 1 illustrates an exemplary communications system in which the present invention may be employed. Communications device 100 communicates with other devices through base station 1 10, which is connected to wireless network 120. Wireless network 120 is in turn connected to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) 125 and the Internet 130. Wireless device 100 can thus communicate with various other devices, such as wireless device 135, conventional land-line telephone 140, or personal computer 145. In Figure 1 , wireless device 100 also has access to data server 150 via the Internet 130; data server 150 may be configured to provide access through Internet 130 to data or applications stored in storage device 160. Storage device 160 may comprise one or more of a variety of data storage devices, such as disk drives connected to data server 150 or one or more other servers, a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives (RAID) system, or the like.

Communications device 100 may be a cordless telephone, cellular telephone, personal digital assistant (PDA), communicator, computer device, or the like, and may be compatible with any of a variety of communications standards, such as the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) or one or more of the standards promulgated by 3GPP. Communications device 100 may include a digital camera, for still and video images, as well as a digital sound recorder and digital music player application. Communications device 100 may also support various applications in addition to voice communications, such as e-mail, text messaging, picture messaging, instant messaging, video conferencing, web browsing, and the like.

Communications device 100 also includes a wireless local-area network (WLAN) transceiver configured for communication with WLAN access point 170. WLAN access point 170 is also connected to Internet 130, providing communications device 100 with alternative connectivity to Internet-based resources such as data server 150.

Also connected to wireless network 120 is location server 180. Location server 180 is typically maintained by the operator of wireless network 120, but may be separately administered. The main function of location server 180 is to determine the geographic location of mobile terminals (such as mobile terminal 100) using the wireless network 120. Location information obtained by location server 180 may range from information identifying the cell currently serving mobile terminal 100 to more precise location information obtained using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

Other technologies, including triangulation methods exploiting signals transmitted from or received at several base stations, may also be used to obtain location information. Triangulation techniques may include Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) technology, which utilizes measurements of a mobile's uplink signal at several base stations, or Enhanced- Observed Time Difference (E-OTD) technology, which utilizes measurements taken at the mobile terminal 100 of signals sent from several base stations. GPS-based technologies may include Assisted-GPS, which utilizes information about the current status of the GPS satellites derived independently of the mobile terminal 100 to aid in the determination of the terminal's location. In some embodiments, the various systems and methods described herein facilitate the selective delivery of data objects to a communication device, such as mobile terminal 125, in communication with another device, such as mobile terminal 100. The data object may be transferred from one device to the other, e.g., from mobile terminal 100 to mobile terminal 125, or from a data object server, such as server 150 or server 180, in response to a request from either of the communication devices.

Typically, the users of the communication devices are engaged in a communication session, which may comprise a voice call (whether circuit-switched or packet-switched), an instant message (IM) session, or any other modes of communication such as those described herein or combinations thereof. In some embodiments, one or both of the communication devices may include a module or application that is able to determine the occurrence of a communications-related trigger event in the communication device and to thereafter transmit and/or receive data, such as data specifically related to the trigger event. The trigger event may comprise, for example, any of the following events or combinations thereof:

• the establishment of a session or call between the devices; • the arrival or departure of a device in a multi-party communication session;

• activation by the user of one or both of the communication devices (e.g., an explicit request by one user for transfer of a data object to the other);

• timer-based periodic or random trigger event in communication device;

• crossing a geographic boundary, such as a boundary established by the user of one of the communication devices; or

• other events related to the communication, such as those described in U.S. Patent No. 6,996,072.

Other trigger events might include, but are not limited to: • An outgoing call is or is about to be initiated.

• A called party answers a call.

• A called party is busy.

• A called party does not answer after a pre-determined time or number of rings.

• A called party rejects a call. • A called party is unavailable (e.g., an addressed mobile phone is out of coverage).

• An incoming call is imminent or has just started.

• A conference call is or is about to be initiated. • A call is disconnected.

• A call is conducted (under which several triggering events can be generated).

• A party is placed on hold.

• The location of a party has changed. • A communication device is switched on or off.

• A special-function button is pressed on a communication device.

• A button or other user interface device is activated in response to a query.

• A voice mail, text message, e-mail, instant message, or the like is received.

• A voice mail, text message, e-mail, instant message, or the like is received.

While many of the preceding trigger events are related to traditional voice communications, those skilled in the art will appreciate that many analogous trigger events will apply to other communication modes, such as instant messaging, e-mail, video conferencing, "chat" sessions, and so on. According to one aspect of the present invention, while a first user equipment (UE) such as a mobile device or stationary device is attempting to establish a circuit-switched communication session (e.g., a voice call session or an instant messaging session) with a second UE, the first UE may cause a customized alert signal to be sent to the second UE, prior to the establishment of the communication session, to alert the user of the second UE of the upcoming communication session. Specifically, upon selection of the second UE for communication, the first UE may transmit a call setup request and also indicate the intent to send a customized alert signal to the second UE. This customized alert signal may be referred to generally as "a caller-originated alert signal" or "a caller-originated alert," wherein the word "caller" refers to a party who initiates a communication session but is not limited to voice calls. The second UE may be instructed to wait for the caller-originated alert signal. Either the first UE or the second UE may contact a PhonePage server to cause the caller-originated alert signal to be transmitted to the second UE. The second UE may then render the caller- originated alert signal to alert its user of the communication session.

Referring to Figure 2, there is shown a block diagram illustrating an exemplary system 2400 for providing caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The system 2400 may comprise a first user equipment (UE A), a second user equipment (UE B), and a PhonePage server C.

The UE A may be a mobile telephone or a mobile telephone connected to any kind of data equipment, e.g., personal digital assistant (PDA) devices or laptop computer. The UE A may also be a fixed non-mobile device such as a desktop computer, a gaming device, an IP telephone, or other devices which can initiate and receive communications. The UE A is capable of communicating with other user equipment such as UE B in a variety of ways. For example, UE A may establish a voice call with UE B over one or more public land mobile networks (PLMNs) and/or a public switched telephone network (PSTN). A public land mobile network (PLMN) is a network that is established and operated for the specific purpose of providing land mobile telecommunications services to the public. UE A may also establish a wireless "walkie-talkie" session based on the push-to-talk (PTT) technology. Alternatively or additionally, UE A may establish a data or multimedia communication session (e.g., email, instant messaging, online meeting, document sharing, and file transfers) with UE B. UE B may typically have comparable or at least compatible functionalities in order to communicate with UE A.

The primary communication session between UE A and UE B may be carried on a first logical channel (Ch. 1 ) that traverses one or more PLMNs. If UE A and UE B are connected to different PLMNs, the first logical channel Ch. 1 may also traverse a landline network (PSTN).

UE A and UE B may be configured to communicate with the PhonePage server C via a second logical channel (Ch. 2) and a third logical channel (Ch. 3), respectively. Typically, at least a portion of Ch. 2 and Ch. 3 is through a packet-switched network (e.g., the Internet). The PhonePage server C may comprise a PhonePages number server (PNS) and/or PhonePage web server (PWS). The PhonePage server C may communicate with UE A and UE B to receive requests (directly or indirectly) from either or both of them and to fulfill those requests according to an established messaging or signaling protocol.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, a first user who is associated with UE A, i.e., User A, may attempt to initiate a communication session with a second user who is associated with UE B, i.e., User B. Prior to establishment of the communication session, User A may select User B either from a locally-stored or online phonebook or buddy list or by directly entering an identifier of User B or UE B. In conjunction with the selection, User A may create or select a caller-originated alert signal that will be used to alert User B of the upcoming communication session. For example, User A may record a personalized voice message or ring-tone or, more typically, select a pre-recorded alert signal that is stored locally or online.

Then, UE A may transmit session initiation information to UE B via the first logical channel Ch. 1. The session initiation information may include the identity of User B or UE B such that switching or call-routing elements in the PLMN(S) and/or PSTN know where to direct the call setup request. The session initiation information may also include or be accompanied by a request for a caller-originated alert to be provided to UE B. The request for the caller- originated alert may include an indication of User As intent to alert User B of the communication session with a caller-originated alert. Optionally, the request may also include an identity of, a source identifier for, or selection criteria for the caller-originated alert to be provided to UE B. UE B may be instructed either to wait for the PhonePage server C to deliver (or "push") the call- originated alert or to initiate an operation to obtain (or "pull ) the call-originated alert from the PhonePage server C (or another specified source). In a "push" operation, UE A may contact the PhonePage server C via the second logical channel Ch. 2. While communicating with UE B, UE A may forward to the PhonePage server C an identifier of UE B and the request for the caller-originated alert. The identifier of UE B may either be used directly (e.g., an IP address) or may need to be resolved by the PhonePage server C (e.g., with a domain name service (DNS)). The request for the caller-originated alert may include the identity of the caller-originated alert such that the PhonePage server C can locate the pre-stored alert signal. Alternatively, UE A may only forward the identities of User A and User B to the PhonePage server C and instruct the PhonePage server C to select a suitable, personalized alert signal based on User As preference(s) and/or other factors. Selection of a pre-recorded alert signal may be done automatically based on one or more factors such as the identity of User B, the proximity of User B to User A, the type/context of the attempted communication session, time of day, and other specific triggering events that may trigger a phonepage request as described above. In some instances, the PhonePage server C may need to or be instructed to retrieve the requested alert signal from another source of data objects. If the primary communication session between UE A and UE B fails, UE A may instruct the PhonePage server C to cancel the delivery of the caller-originated alert.

In a "pull" operation, UE B may contact the PhonePage server C via the third logical channel Ch. 3. Prior to establishing the communication session with UE A, UE B may transmit to the PhonePage server C a request for the caller-originated alert. For example, if UE A has indicated its intent to provide the caller-originated alert, UE B may contact a default PhonePage server (e.g., PhonePage server C) whose address is either stored locally on UE B or can be determined from a remote location (e.g., based on User As profile on a social networking website). If UE A has specifically included a source address of the caller-originated alert signal, UE B may ignore any default address and contact a PhonePage server at the specified address for the caller-originated alert signal. If UE A has provided the identity of a pre-stored alert signal, UE B may forward that identity to the PhonePage server C such that it can quickly locate the pre-stored alert signal. Even if the intent, address, identity elements are absent from UE As messages, UE B may still forward the identities of User A and User B to the PhonePage server C and cause the PhonePage server C to select a suitable, pre-stored alert signal based on User As preference(s) and/or other factors. Selection of a pre-stored alert signal may be done automatically based on one or more factors such as the identity of User B, the proximity of User B to User A, the type/context of the attempted communication session, time of day, both parties' subscription to a "buddy" ring-tone service, and other specific triggering events that may trigger a phonepage request as described above. In the pull operation, the second logical channel Ch. 2 may not be involved at all.

In either the "push" or the "pull" operations described above, once the caller-originated alert has been selected and/or retrieved, the PhonePage server C may transmit the caller- originated alert to UE B via the third logical channel Ch. 3. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the PhonePage server C may transmit the caller-originated alert to UE B in one data package. Once the data package has been fully downloaded to UE B, UE B may render the caller-originated alert to notify the User B that a communication session with User A is pending. Alternatively, according to another embodiment of the present invention, the caller- originated alert may be streamed to UE B. That is, without waiting for the caller-originated alert to be fully downloaded, UE B may start rendering it to alert User B of the communication session.

If User B has muted alert functions on UE B, for example, during a meeting or in a theater, UE B may reject the incoming caller-originated alert from the PhonePage server C. Alternatively, UE B may still proceed to receive the caller-originated alert signal and then apply User B's settings to determine how UE B renders the alert signal. Both options may be accommodated by a protocol between UE B and the PhonePage server C. The protocol may allow UE B to reject the caller-originated alert or allow the PhonePage server C to override UE B's rejection in case User B does not have the right to reject a certain alert, either for commercial (e.g., condition of service) or regulatory reasons.

Upon a successful completion of either the "push" or the "pull" operation described above, the communication session between UE A and UE B may be fully set up after UE B renders the alert and User B accepts the session initiated by User A. If the delivery of the caller-originated alert fails, UE B may either render a default alert signal or simply forego the step of rendering any alert signal.

The communication between UE A and UE B may be carried on a first logical channel at least a portion of which traverses a circuit-switched network (e.g., PLMN/PSTN). The communication between the PhonePage server C and UE B may be carried on a second logical channel. Figure 3 shows a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method for providing caller- originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

In step 2502, User A (UE A) may select User B (UE B) for communication. The attempted communication session may be any type of circuit-switched sessions such as voice, data, multimedia sessions, or a combination thereof. For illustration purposes, UE A and UE B will be described hereinafter as mobile telephone devices although they may be any type of user equipment as described above. To select User B for communication, User A may simply choose User B from a list of contacts or enter a mobile phone number associated with User B.

In step 2504, UE A may send a call setup request to UE B via PLMN(s) and/or PSTN networks. Depending on the type of communication as well as the specific network or application used, UE A may follow the relevant protocol to send, for example, session initiation messages to UE B. The communication session is not limited to a one-to-one type of communication, but may be part of a multiple-party communication (e.g., a conference call or an online meeting). That is, either or both of UE A and UE B may simultaneously communicate with other parties.

The call setup request sent to UE B may also indicate User A's intent to provide a caller- originated alert to UE B. When dialing the call, User A may indicate whether the attempted communication session will be in a conventional alert mode (i.e., without any caller-originated alert) or a caller-originated alert mode (i.e., with a caller-originated alert). User A may depress one or more assigned keys to indicate a caller-originated alert mode. Typically, only the bare minimum of information may be included in the circuit-switched call setup request, given the generally low bandwidth of the call setup signaling channels provided on the PLMN/PSTN. Thus, for a push operation, UE A may just indicate its intent to send the alert signal (e.g., by setting a flag). For a pull operation, UE A may send an address for the alert signal or other minimal indicator. According to other embodiments, User A may also include in the call setup request one of the following items: the alert signal itself, an identity of the alert signal, an address or identifier of a PhonePage server from which to download the alert signal, or an instruction to select an alert signal for User B optionally coupled with one or more selection criteria for picking a suitable alert signal.

If the call setup message for the circuit-switched communication does not contain any express indication of a caller-originated alert, UE B may contact a PhonePage server (or another designated communication server/switch) to do one or more of the following: (i) to determine if the calling party, User A, desires to send a caller-originated alert, either based on a previous interaction with User A or as a default action for User A, a group of which User A is a member (buddies), or all users; (ii) to determine which alert signal that User A desires, based on detecting that User A is calling (e.g., from caller-ID information in circuit-switched call setup) and knowledge that User A provides caller-originated alerts (e.g., from past interaction with User A); or (iii) to obtain a specific alert signal based on knowledge that User A desires this signal (e.g., that User A has used such a signal consistently in past calls to User B). In response, the server contacted may deliver the requested alert or substitute User A's updated choice.

In step 2506, either UE A or UE B may contact a PhonePage server to request the caller-originated alert signal. For example, UE A may notify UE B of the incoming caller- originated alert and instruct UE B to wait for its arrival. Then, UE A may instruct the PhonePage server to deliver the caller-originated alert to UE B. Alternatively, UE A may notify UE B of the incoming caller-originated alert and instruct UE B to obtain it from the PhonePage server.

In step 2508, the PhonePage server may send the caller-originated alert to UE B. If the identity of the caller-originated alert has been received from UE A or UE B, the PhonePage server may locate the desired alert signal based on the identity. If the PhonePage server only receives the identities of User A and User B, the PhonePage server may select a pre-stored ring-tone according to User As preferences and/or other factors. As mentioned above, the entire personalized alert signal may be delivered to UE B before UE B begins rendering it. Alternatively, the caller-originated alert may be streamed to UE B in a series of data packets which UE B can start rendering without waiting for the entire alert signal to be downloaded.

In step 2510, the caller-originated alert may be rendered on UE B. Prior to establishment of the communication session with UE A, UE B may render the caller-originated alert to notify User B of the pending communication session with User A. How UE B handles the session notification and the related alert signal(s) may have already been configured, and the pre-configured rules or preferences may be automatically executed without prompting User B for a selection. For example, UE B may establish default rules for handling incoming calls accompanied by caller-originated alerts, and the default rules may either be globally applicable to all callers or vary according to specific callers. Typically, a caller-originated alert may be treated by UE B like any other alert signal or ring-tone. For example, the caller-originated alert may be muted when User B is in an environment where quietness is necessary.

Figure 4 shows a block diagram illustrating exemplary user equipment 2600 for requesting and/or receiving caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The UE 2600 may comprise a central processing unit (CPU) 2650, at least one memory unit 2651 , at least one display 2620, at least one user input device 2652 which may be a keypad, keyboard, touchscreen, or the like, a radio unit 2610, an antenna 261 1 , at least one speaker 2630 for audio output, at least one microphone 2640 for audio input. The UE 2600 may further comprise a plurality of programs 2670, including, for example, a browser 2671 that can render at least one type of data object (e.g., caller-originated alerts) and an encode/decode unit 2672 that encodes (or encrypts) requests for data objects and decodes (or decrypts) data objects. In addition, in order to implement the provision of caller- originated alert signals, the UE 2600 may also comprise a caller-originated alert management application 2673 (Alert_Manage), an application for requesting caller-originated alerts 2674 (Alert_Req), and a caller-originated alert preference module 2675 (Alert_Pref). Both the Alert_Manage application 2673 and the Alert_Req application 2674 may be embedded software programs that run automatically or in response to activation.

When UE 2600 is a device that initiates a communication session with another UE, the Alert_Req application 2674 may respond to any express or implied selection of a caller- originated alert signal and automatically generate a request to be sent to a PhonePage server and/or the other UE. Selection methods may include the user press of an appropriate dedicated or non-dedicated ("soft") selection key, completion of the recording of an alert signal, or default instructions and options stored in the UE memory. The Alert_Req application 2674 may include in the request either the caller-originated alert itself or relevant information, such as an address of a PhonePage server, an identity of the caller-originated alert signal, and/or the identity of the called party, to enable the other UE to pull a caller-originated alert signal from a PhonePage server or to enable the PhonePage server to deliver the caller-originated alert signal to the other UE. The radio unit 2610 may then transmit the request to the PhonePage server and/or the other UE.

When UE 2600 is a device that is on the receiving end of a communication session with another UE, the Alert_Req application 2674 may respond to a call setup request and automatically generate a request to be sent to a PhonePage server. The Alert_Req application 2674 may include in the request relevant information associated with a caller-originated alert, such as an identity of the caller-originated alert signal and/or the identity of the calling party, to enable the PhonePage server to locate a suitable caller-originated alert. The radio unit 2610 may then transmit the request to the PhonePage server. The Alert_Manage application 2673 may be responsible for handling caller-originated alerts that are associated with outgoing and/or incoming calls or communication sessions. Generation of the requests for caller-originated alerts and/or the management of any received caller-originated alerts may be conditioned on or related to preference settings that are stored in and/or managed by the Alert_Pref module 2675. A this point it should be noted that the technique for providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit-switched communications in accordance with the present disclosure as described above typically involves the processing of input data and the generation of output data to some extent. This input data processing and output data generation may be implemented in hardware or software. For example, specific electronic components may be employed in a UE, a communications server, or similar or related circuitry for implementing the functions associated with providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit-switched communication sessions in accordance with the present disclosure as described above. Alternatively, one or more processors operating in accordance with stored instructions may implement the functions associated with providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit- switched communication sessions in accordance with the present disclosure as described above. If such is the case, it is within the scope of the present disclosure that such instructions may be stored on one or more processor-readable program storages (e.g., a magnetic or optical disk or solid-state memory), or transmitted to one or more processors via one or more signals.

Those skilled in the art should appreciate that the present invention broadly provides methods and apparatus for providing caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session. The present invention may, of course, be carried out in other specific ways than those herein set forth without departing from the scope and essential characteristics of the invention. Thus, the present invention is not limited to the features and advantages detailed in the foregoing description, nor is it limited by the accompanying drawings. Indeed, the present invention is limited only by the following claims, and their legal equivalents.

Claims

CLAIMSWhat is claimed is:
1. A method for providing caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session, characterized in that the method comprises: transmitting (2504), from a first user equipment (2600), a request to initiate a communication session with a second user equipment (2600); notifying the second user equipment (2600) of the communication session and an incoming caller-originated alert, the notification being transmitted via a circuit- switched channel; and causing a phonepage server to transmit (2508), via a packet-switched channel, the caller-originated alert to the second user equipment (2600) for rendering (2510) thereon to alert a user associated with the second user equipment (2600).
2. The method according to claim 1 , characterized in that at least a portion of the communication session is carried on a circuit-switched network.
3. The method according to claim 1 , characterized in that the method further comprises: transmitting, from the first user equipment (2600), an identity of the caller-originated alert to the phonepage server.
4. The method according to claim 1 , characterized in that the second user equipment (2600) is instructed to wait for the caller-originated alert and the phonepage server pushes the caller-originated alert to the second user equipment (2600) without any request from the second user equipment (2600).
5. The method according to claim 1 , characterized in that the phonepage server selects the caller-originated alert based on a pre-stored preference associated with the first user equipment (2600).
6. The method according to claim 1 , characterized in that the caller-originated alert is downloaded from the phonepage server to the second user equipment (2600) before being rendered thereon.
7. The method according to claim 1 , characterized in that the caller-originated alert is streamed from the phonepage server to the second user equipment (2600) and the rendering of the caller-originated alert starts before it is fully downloaded.
8. The method according to claim 1 , characterized in that the alert signal is customized based on one or more factors selected from a group consisting of: an identity of the second user, a type of the communication session, and predetermined triggering events associated with the communication session.
9. A method for receiving caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session, characterized in that the method comprises: receiving, at a first user equipment (2600), a request to initiate a communication session from a second user equipment (2600); receiving, at the first user equipment (2600), a notification of an incoming caller- originated alert associated with the communication session, the notification being transmitted via a circuit-switched channel; retrieving, by the first user equipment (2600), the caller-originated alert from a phonepage server via a packet-switched channel; and rendering (2510) the caller-originated alert to alert a user associated with the first user equipment (2600).
10. The method according to claim 9, characterized in that at least a portion of the communication session is carried on a circuit-switched network.
11. The method according to claim 9, characterized in that the notification includes an instruction to pull the caller-originated alert from the phonepage server.
12. The method according to claim 9, characterized in that the notification includes an identity of the caller-originated alert.
13. The method according to claim 9, characterized in that the notification includes an identifier of the phonepage server.
14. The method according to claim 9, characterized in that the phonepage server selects the caller-originated alert based on a pre-stored preference associated with the first user equipment (2600) or the second user equipment (2600).
15. The method according to claim 9, characterized in that the caller-originated alert is downloaded from the phonepage server to the first user equipment (2600) before being rendered thereon.
16. The method according to claim 9, characterized in that the caller-originated alert is streamed from the phonepage server to the first user equipment (2600) and the rendering of the caller-originated alert starts before it is fully downloaded.
17. The method according to claim 9, characterized in that the alert signal is customized based on one or more factors selected from a group consisting of: an identity of the first user, a type of the communication session, and predetermined triggering events associated with the communication session.
18. A system for providing caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session, characterized in that the system comprises: a phonepage server, a first user equipment (2600), and a second user equipment (2600); the first user equipment (2600) being configured to transmit a request to initiate a communication session with the second user equipment (2600); the first user equipment (2600) being further configured to notify the second user equipment (2600) of the communication session and an incoming caller-originated alert, the notification being transmitted via a circuit-switched channel; the phonepage server being configured to receive information associated with the caller-originated alert from at least one of the first user equipment (2600) and the second user equipment (2600); the phonepage server being further configured to transmit, via a packet-switched channel, the caller-originated alert to the second user equipment (2600); and the second user equipment (2600) being configured to render the caller-originated alert to alert a user associated with the second user equipment (2600).
19. A user equipment (2600) for providing caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session, the user equipment (2600) comprising: a processor (2650) operatively coupled to at least one memory unit (2651 ), a user interface (2652, 2620, 2652, 2630, 2640), and a communication unit (2610); characterized in that the processor (2650) is configured to: transmit a request to initiate a communication session with a second user equipment
(2600); notify the second user equipment (2600) of the communication session and an incoming caller-originated alert, the notification being transmitted via a circuit-switched channel; and cause a phonepage server to transmit, via a packet-switched channel, the caller- originated alert to the second user equipment (2600) for rendering thereon to alert a user associated with the second user equipment (2600).
20. A downloadable application or module for providing caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session, the downloadable application or module being stored on a computer-readable media, characterized in that the downloadable application or module is executable to perform: transmitting, from a first user equipment (2600), a request to initiate a communication session with a second user equipment (2600); notifying the second user equipment (2600) of the communication session and an incoming caller-originated alert, the notification being transmitted via a circuit- switched channel; and causing a phonepage server to transmit, via a packet-switched channel, the caller- originated alert to the second user equipment (2600) for rendering thereon to alert a user associated with the second user equipment (2600).
21. A user equipment (2600) for providing caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session, the user equipment (2600) comprising: a processor (2650) operatively coupled to at least one memory unit (2651 ), a user interface (2620, 2652, 2630, 2640), and a communication unit (2610); characterized in that the processor (2610) is configured to: receive a request to initiate a communication session from a second user equipment
(2600); receive a notification of an incoming caller-originated alert associated with the communication session, the notification being transmitted via a circuit-switched channel; retrieve the caller-originated alert from a phonepage server via a packet-switched channel; and render the caller-originated alert.
22. A downloadable application or module for providing caller-originated alert signals in a circuit-switched communication session, the downloadable application or module being stored on a computer-readable media, characterized in that the downloadable application or module is executable to perform: receiving, at a first user equipment (2600), a request to initiate a communication session from a second user equipment (2600); receiving, at the first user equipment (2600), a notification of an incoming caller- originated alert associated with the communication session, the notification being transmitted via a circuit-switched channel; retrieving, by the first user equipment (2600), the caller-originated alert from a phonepage server via a packet-switched channel; and rendering the caller-originated alert to alert a user associated with the first user equipment (2600).
PCT/US2008/063668 2000-01-19 2008-05-15 Technique for providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit-switched communications WO2008144373A1 (en)

Priority Applications (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US93800407 true 2007-05-15 2007-05-15
US60/938,004 2007-05-15
US11/761,623 2007-06-12
US11761623 US20070237320A1 (en) 2000-01-19 2007-06-12 Technique for providing caller-originated alert signalsin circuit-switched communications

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EP20080755506 EP2147545A1 (en) 2007-05-15 2008-05-15 Technique for providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit-switched communications
CN 200880015958 CN101690147A (en) 2007-05-15 2008-05-15 Technique for providing caller-originated alert signals in circuit-switched communications

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CN101690147A (en) 2010-03-31 application

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