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WO2012089283A1 - Method of communicating content to a user, mobile computing apparatus, and content delivery system - Google Patents

Method of communicating content to a user, mobile computing apparatus, and content delivery system

Info

Publication number
WO2012089283A1
WO2012089283A1 PCT/EP2010/070971 EP2010070971W WO2012089283A1 WO 2012089283 A1 WO2012089283 A1 WO 2012089283A1 EP 2010070971 W EP2010070971 W EP 2010070971W WO 2012089283 A1 WO2012089283 A1 WO 2012089283A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
content
apparatus
user
stopping
navigation
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP2010/070971
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Edwin Bastiaensen
Original Assignee
Tomtom Belgium Nv
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages
    • G08G1/0967Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits
    • G08G1/096708Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the received information might be used to generate an automatic action on the vehicle control
    • G08G1/096716Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the received information might be used to generate an automatic action on the vehicle control where the received information does not generate an automatic action on the vehicle control
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01CMEASURING DISTANCES, LEVELS OR BEARINGS; SURVEYING; NAVIGATION; GYROSCOPIC INSTRUMENTS; PHOTOGRAMMETRY OR VIDEOGRAMMETRY
    • G01C21/00Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups
    • G01C21/26Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups specially adapted for navigation in a road network
    • G01C21/34Route searching; Route guidance
    • G01C21/36Input/output arrangements of navigation systems
    • G01C21/3697Input/output arrangements of navigation systems output of additional, non-guidance related information, e.g. low fuel level, fuel efficient driving, gear change, speeding, dangerous curve ahead, slippery road, school zone, speed traps, driving behaviour feedback, advertising, virtual billboards or road signs
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages
    • G08G1/0967Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits
    • G08G1/096733Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where a selection of the information might take place
    • G08G1/09675Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where a selection of the information might take place where a selection from the received information takes place in the vehicle
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages
    • G08G1/0967Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits
    • G08G1/096766Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the system is characterised by the origin of the information transmission
    • G08G1/096775Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the system is characterised by the origin of the information transmission where the origin of the information is a central station
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages
    • G08G1/0967Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits
    • G08G1/096766Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the system is characterised by the origin of the information transmission
    • G08G1/096791Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the system is characterised by the origin of the information transmission where the origin of the information is another vehicle

Abstract

A method of communicating content to a user of a communications-enabled mobile computing apparatus (200) comprises the computing apparatus (200) determining a location thereof and determining whether the location thereof with respect to a nearby stopping zone satisfies a predetermined criterion (406). The computing apparatus obtains (410) at least an identity of content associated with the stopping zone in response to the predetermined criterion being satisfied, the content being stored remotely from the computing apparatus and obtained via a wireless communications network (280). The computing apparatus also communicates (414) the at least the identity of the content to the user in response to a safety criterion being satisfied.

Description

METHOD OF COMMUNICATING CONTENT TO A USER, MOBILE COMPUTING

APPARATUS, AND CONTENT DELIVERY SYSTEM

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method of communicating content to a user of a mobile computing apparatus, the method being of the type that, for example, comprises communicating content to the user, such as an advertisement, when a location is reached with respect to a geographical zone. The present invention also relates to a mobile computing apparatus of the type that, for example, communicates content to the user, such as an advertisement, when a location is reached with respect to a geographical zone. The present invention also relates to a content delivery system of the type that, for example, communicates content to the user, such as an advertisement, when a location is reached with respect to a geographical zone.

Background to the Invention

Portable computing devices, for example Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs) that include GPS (Global Positioning System) signal reception and processing functionality are well known and are widely employed as in-car or other vehicle navigation systems.

In general terms, a modern PND comprises a processor, memory and map data stored within said memory. The processor and memory cooperate to provide an execution environment in which a software operating system is typically established, and additionally it is commonplace for one or more additional software programs to be provided to enable the functionality of the PND to be controlled, and to provide various other functions.

Typically, these devices further comprise one or more input interfaces that allow a user to interact with and control the device, and one or more output interfaces by means of which information may be relayed to the user. Illustrative examples of output interfaces include a visual display and a speaker for audible output. Illustrative examples of input interfaces include one or more physical buttons to control on/off operation or other features of the device (which buttons need not necessarily be on the device itself but can be on a steering wheel if the device is built into a vehicle), and a microphone for detecting user speech. In one particular arrangement, the output interface display may be configured as a touch sensitive display (by means of a touch sensitive overlay or otherwise) additionally to provide an input interface by means of which a user can operate the device by touch.

Devices of this type will also often include one or more physical connector interfaces by means of which power and optionally data signals can be transmitted to and received from the device, and optionally one or more wireless transmitters/receivers to allow communication over cellular telecommunications and other signal and data networks, for example Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, GSM, UMTS and the like.

PNDs of this type also include a GPS antenna by means of which satellite- broadcast signals, including location data, can be received and subsequently processed to determine a current location of the device.

The PND may also include electronic gyroscopes and accelerometers which produce signals that can be processed to determine the current angular and linear acceleration, and in turn, and in conjunction with location information derived from the GPS signal, velocity and relative displacement of the device and thus the vehicle in which it is mounted. Typically, such features are most commonly provided in in-vehicle navigation systems, but may also be provided in PNDs if it is expedient to do so.

The utility of such PNDs is manifested primarily in their ability to determine a route between a first location (typically a start or current location) and a second location (typically a destination). These locations can be input by a user of the device, by any of a wide variety of different methods, for example by postcode, street name and house number, previously stored "well known" destinations (such as famous locations, municipal locations (such as sports grounds or swimming baths) or other points of interest), and favourite or recently visited destinations.

Typically, the PND is enabled by software for computing a "best" or "optimum" route between the start and destination address locations from the map data. A "best" or "optimum" route is determined on the basis of predetermined criteria and need not necessarily be the fastest or shortest route. The selection of the route along which to guide the driver can be very sophisticated, and the selected route may take into account existing, predicted and dynamically and/or wirelessly received traffic and road information, historical information about road speeds, and the driver's own preferences for the factors determining road choice (for example the driver may specify that the route should not include motorways or toll roads).

The device may continually monitor road and traffic conditions, and offer to or choose to change the route over which the remainder of the journey is to be made due to changed conditions. Real time traffic monitoring systems, based on various technologies (e.g. mobile phone data exchanges, fixed cameras, GPS fleet tracking), are being used to identify traffic delays and to feed the information into notification systems. PNDs of this type may typically be mounted on the dashboard or windscreen of a vehicle, but may also be formed as part of an on-board computer of the vehicle radio or indeed as part of the control system of the vehicle itself. The navigation device may also be part of a hand-held system, such as a PDA (Portable Digital Assistant), a media player, a mobile telephone or the like, and in these cases, the normal functionality of the hand-held system is extended by means of the installation of software on the device to perform both route calculation and navigation along a calculated route.

Once a route has been calculated by a PND, the user interacts with the navigation device to select the desired calculated route, optionally from a list of proposed routes. Optionally, the user may intervene in, or guide the route selection process, for example by specifying that certain routes, roads, locations or criteria are to be avoided or are mandatory for a particular journey. The route calculation aspect of the PND forms one primary function, and navigation along such a route is another primary function.

A further important function provided by the device is automatic route re- calculation in the event that: a user deviates from the previously calculated route during navigation (either by accident or intentionally); real-time traffic conditions dictate that an alternative route would be more expedient and the device is suitably enabled to recognize such conditions automatically, or if a user actively causes the device to perform route re-calculation for any reason.

As mentioned above, it is also known to allow a route to be calculated with user defined criteria; for example, the user may prefer a scenic route to be calculated by the device, or may wish to avoid any roads on which traffic congestion is likely, expected or currently prevailing. The device software would then calculate various routes and weigh more favourably those that include along their route the highest number of points of interest (known as POIs), which are examples of geographic features, tagged as being for example of scenic beauty, or, using stored information indicative of prevailing traffic conditions on particular roads, order the calculated routes in terms of a level of likely congestion or delay on account thereof. Other POI-based and traffic information-based route calculation and navigation criteria are also possible.

Although the route calculation and navigation functions are fundamental to the overall utility of PNDs, it is possible to use the device purely for information display, or "free-driving", in which only map information relevant to the current device location is displayed, and in which no route has been calculated and no navigation is currently being performed by the device. Such a mode of operation is often applicable when the user already knows the route along which it is desired to travel and does not require navigation assistance. During navigation along a calculated route, it is usual for such PNDs to provide visual and/or audible instructions to guide the user along a chosen route to the end of that route, i.e. the desired destination. It is also usual for PNDs to display map information on-screen during the navigation, such information regularly being updated on-screen so that the map information displayed is representative of the current location of the device, and thus of the user or user's vehicle if the device is being used for in- vehicle navigation.

An icon displayed on-screen typically denotes the current device location, and is centred with the map information of current and surrounding roads in the vicinity of the current device location and other map features also being displayed. Additionally, navigation information may be displayed, optionally in a status bar above, below or to one side of the displayed map information, examples of navigation information include a distance to the next deviation from the current road required to be taken by the user, the nature of that deviation possibly being represented by a further icon suggestive of the particular type of deviation, for example a left or right turn. The navigation function also determines the content, duration and timing of audible instructions by means of which the user can be guided along the route. As can be appreciated, a simple instruction such as "turn left in 100 m" requires significant processing and analysis. As previously mentioned, user interaction with the device may be by a touch screen, or additionally or alternately by steering column mounted remote control, by voice activation or by any other suitable method.

Devices of the type described above, for example the GO 940 LIVE model manufactured and supplied by TomTom International B.V., provide a reliable means for enabling users to navigate from one position to another. Such devices are of great utility when the user is not familiar with the route to the destination to which they are navigating.

However, in addition to the provision of audible instructions by the navigation function of the PND, it is also sometimes desirable to provide a user of the PND with content, for example advertising content before, during, or at the end of the journey. In this regard, for the content to be noticed by the user, the content needs to be relevant to the user.

US patent no. 7,089,264 relates to communication of content to a user via a so- called mobile computing platform using a geographic database the platform having a location determination capability. The geographic database contains data entities that represent geographic features located in a geographic region. Advertising zones are defined within the geographic region. A further association is made between some of the data entities that represent geographic features, for example a road segment, by way of data that indicates in which of the advertising zones the geographic feature is located. Advertisers are then allowed to associate advertising messages with the advertising zones. As the user of the mobile computing platform moves within the geographic region, the location of the mobile computing platform is determined, and the geographic feature to which the location relates. Due to the data association described above, the advertising zone in which the mobile computing platform is located can be determined. The user is provided with the advertising message associated with the advertising zone via the mobile computing platform. Unfortunately, the content may not be particularly relevant from the perspective of the user. Additionally, the delivery of the content may simply serve as an unwanted distraction to the user who may be driving a vehicle, and so may be dangerous, because such an unwanted distraction may interfere with the user's ability to drive safely.

Another technique for delivering content on a location basis is described in US patent application no. 1 1/171 ,940, which describes the use of so-called collaborative filtering to provide relevant content to a user. In one embodiment, zones are constructed, each arranged to support collaborative filtering. A location tracking system is used to track a user and to determine, in part, when a user is associated with a location including monitoring the behaviour of the user with respect to location. This information is used as part of a collaborative filtering process to provide location and/or services information deemed relevant to the user.

Summary of the Invention

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of communicating content to a user of a communications-enabled mobile computing apparatus, the method comprising: the computing apparatus determining a location thereof; determining whether the location of the computing apparatus with respect to a nearby stopping zone satisfies a predetermined criterion; obtaining at least an identity of content associated with the stopping zone in response to the predetermined criterion being satisfied, the content being stored remotely from the computing apparatus and obtained via a wireless communications network; and the computing apparatus communicating the at least the identity of the content to the user in response to a safety criterion being satisfied.

The method may further comprise the computing apparatus determining whether the safety criterion is satisfied by determining whether the computing apparatus conforms to a motion-related condition; and delivering the content in response to the motion-related condition being satisfied.

The motion-related condition may be slowing to a stationary state or may be being in the stationary state.

The motion-related condition may comprise a maximum speed in relation to the stopping zone.

The motion-related condition may be related to the change in driving direction or vehicle orientation associated with the stopping zone.

The content may be advertising content. The content may be route related information.

The predetermined criterion may be the location of the computing apparatus being in and/or within a predetermined distance of the stopping zone.

The computing apparatus may determine an involuntary formation of the stopping zone.

The computing apparatus may provide a navigation assistance service.

The at least the identity of the content may be obtained from a database of stopping zone data stored remotely from the computing apparatus; the database of stopping zones may identify stopping zones and content associated therewith.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a mobile computing apparatus comprising: a processing resource arranged to support, when in use, an operational environment, the operational environment supporting a location determination module, a stopping zone identifier module and a content delivery module; wherein the location determination module is arranged to determine a current location; the stopping zone identifier module is arranged to determine whether the current location with respect to a nearby stopping zone satisfies a predetermined criterion; the content delivery module is arranged to obtain at least an identity of content associated with the stopping zone in response to the predetermined criterion being satisfied, the content being stored remotely from the computing apparatus and obtained via the wireless communications network; and the content delivery module is also arranged to communicate the at least the identity of the content to the user in response to a safety criterion being satisfied.

The content delivery module may be arranged to determine whether the safety criterion is satisfied by determining whether a motion-related condition is satisfied; and the content delivery module may be arranged to deliver the content in response to the motion-related condition being satisfied. The motion-related condition may be slowing to a stationary state or may be being in the stationary state.

The motion-related condition may comprise a maximum speed in relation to the stopping zone.

The motion-related condition may be related to the change in driving direction or vehicle orientation.

The content may be advertising content.

The content may be route related information. The predetermined criterion may be the current location being in and/or within a predetermined distance of the stopping zone.

The stopping zone identifier module may be arranged to determine an involuntary formation of the stopping zone.

The at least the identity of the content may be obtained from a database of stopping zone data stored remotely from the computing apparatus; the database of stopping zones may identify stopping zones and content associated therewith.

The stopping zone database may identify a plurality of content associated with the stopping zone; the plurality of content identified may comprise the content; and the content delivery module may be arranged to prioritise the plurality of content so that a highest priority content is communicated before other identified content when the safety criterion is satisfied.

The content may be prioritised based upon at least one of the following criterion: relevance of the content to an identified destination location; relevance to a calculated route; relevance to a section of the calculated route; relevance to a profile of the user; relevance to a vehicle in which the computing apparatus is disposed; and/or relevance to the location of the computing apparatus.

The apparatus may further comprise: the content delivery module being arranged to record statistical usage data relating to communication of content to the user.

The content delivery module may obtain the at least the identity of the content associated with the stopping zone by obtaining a reference to the content; the reference may enable communication of the content by selection of the reference.

The database of stopping zones may comprise identities of a plurality of stopping zones; the plurality of stopping zones may be associated with a specific category of vehicle.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a navigation apparatus comprising the mobile computing apparatus as set forth above in relation to the second aspect of the invention. According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a content delivery system comprising: the mobile computing apparatus as set forth above in relation to the second aspect of the invention, the mobile computing apparatus being capable of communicating with the database of stopping zones via the communications network; a server remote from the mobile computing apparatus, the server supporting the database of stopping zones and arranged to respond to a request for information requiring access to the database of stopping zones; wherein the mobile computing apparatus is arranged to request via the wireless communications network the at least the identity of the content associated with the stopping zone identified; and the server is arranged to provide the at least the identity of the content in response to the request from the mobile computing apparatus.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a computer program element comprising computer program code means to make a computer execute the method as set forth above in relation to the first aspect of the invention.

The computer program element may be embodied on a computer readable medium.

References herein to the term "cluster" or "clustering" should be understood to refer the assignment of a population of observations into subsets, each subset being similar in one or more respects. In the present context, clusters of observations share spatial similarities, for example a spatial correlation of observations or a grouping of observations having a minimum density.

Content, as referred to herein, is any media that is potentially of relevance to a recipient, but (in the context of vehicles) not relevant to an immediate driving task, for example textual matter, audio, images, video or any combination thereof. The content can therefore be static or dynamic. The content can be locally stored by the navigation apparatus, but it is equally conceivable that the content can be remotely stored and downloadable, either automatically or on an on-demand basis, for example accessible via a link, such as a hyperlink. If desired, it is also possible for the content to be stored locally and, from time-to-time, synchronised via, for example, a map update or service channel, capable of delivering telematics services to the apparatus, for example a vehicle system. In relation to the nature of the content, the content need not be advertising content and can be any relevant content for example: safety-enhancing content; efficiency promoting content, such as relating to environmental and/or commercial considerations; content that is non-urgent or delay tolerant, such as a Short Messaging Service (SMS) message, an e-mail message, or missed call information; content that relates to the operation or status of a vehicle; content related to the route, such as traffic information or content that is deemed useful to the user in any other way.

It is thus possible to provide apparatus and methods that enable a database of stopping zones to be generated such that content can be communicated to a user of the navigation apparatus that is relevant to the user. Furthermore, it is possible to generate the stopping zone database such that it contains very valuable information concerning the effectiveness of a given stopping zone as a location in respect of which content can be more effectively communicated than other locations.

The instances of receipt of irrelevant content, for example advertising content, by the user are reduced. As a consequence, distraction of the user by irrelevant information is less frequent than in previous implementations of content communication. Moreover, content is in general delivered in the safest possible way, preventing distraction of the user from the primary task of driving. This therefore reduces driver workload and so the attention of the user remains optional, thereby enhances driver safety.

A method of delivering content and associated systems, by way of optimal selection of geographically pertinent content on the basis of a destination and a route is also provided. Again, minimising instances of delivery of content that is not particularly relevant to the user increases safe driving practices. Additionally, the content, for example advertisements, can by dynamic, real-time and collected from a remote server, the Internet, or generated on-the-fly.

In relation to safety, the ability to deliver content to the user in the safest possible way, thereby reducing any possible distraction, because the message is delivered when the vehicle is stationary in a stopping zone is very beneficial. The content delivered, for example an advertisement, is geographically relevant to the user, i.e. the content is relevant to where the user is currently located or to where the user is going. In addition, the content is delivered when the user is ready to 'consume' it, reducing frustration, and thus increasing the impact and hence the monetary value of the content.

Another advantage realised through use of stopping zones is that the content, delivered can require an interaction with a driver, without creating dangerous situations. Thus the content, can be highly interactive, for example can ask or require the user to touch the screen of the navigation apparatus or provide any other form of interaction, for example voice, gesture or remote control interaction with the navigation apparatus.

Other advantages of these embodiments are set out hereafter, and further details and features of each of these embodiments are defined in the accompanying dependent claims and elsewhere in the following detailed description. Brief Description of the Drawings

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

Figure 1 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary part of a Global Positioning

System (GPS) usable by a navigation apparatus;

Figure 2 is a schematic diagram of electronic components of a navigation apparatus constituting an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 3 is a schematic diagram of a docking arrangement for optional use in a vehicle;

Figure 4 is a schematic representation of an architectural stack employed by the navigation apparatus of Figure 6;

Figure 5 is a schematic diagram of a navigation module of Figure 8 in greater detail;

Figure 6 is a schematic diagram of an audible instruction generation system comprising the navigation apparatus of Figure 6;

Figures 7 to 15 are screen shots of the navigation apparatus in relation to selection of a route associated with a proposed journey; and

Figure 16 is a flow diagram of a method of delivering content constituting yet another embodiment of the invention.

Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments

Throughout the following description identical reference numerals will be used to identify like parts.

Example embodiments of the present disclosure may be described with particular reference to a navigation device (ND) or personal navigation device (PND). It should be remembered, however, that the teachings of the present disclosure are not limited to NDs or PNDs, but are instead universally applicable to any type of processing device that is configured to execute navigation software so as to provide route planning and navigation functionality. It follows, therefore, that in the context of the present application, a navigation device is intended to include (without limitation) any type of route planning and navigation device, irrespective of whether that device is embodied as a PND, a navigation device built into a vehicle, or a computing resource (such as a desktop or portable personal computer (PC), mobile telephone or portable digital assistant (PDA)) executing route planning and navigation software. In addition to street/road networks, example embodiments can be implemented in pedestrian navigation networks and/or any other type of transportation network, for example a metro train.

Moreover, while example embodiments described herein make use of GPS measurements (probe trace points) including latitude and longitude coordinates as location measurements, it should be understood that location measurements may be obtained from any source and are not limited to GPS. For example, in the context of an indoor environment, indoor positioning technology can be employed, for example using Wi-Fi access points. Hence, embodiments described herein can be employed by pedestrians, for example in a shopping mall, using navigation apparatus or other electronic apparatus capable of location determination using, for example, wi-fi as mentioned above and/or cellular communications technology

With the above provisos in mind, a Global Positioning System (GPS) of Figure 1 and the like are used for a variety of purposes. In general, the GPS is a satellite-radio based navigation system capable of determining continuous position, velocity, time, and in some instances direction information for an unlimited number of users. Formerly known as NAVSTAR, the GPS incorporates a plurality of satellites which orbit the earth in extremely precise orbits. Based on these precise orbits, GPS satellites can relay their location to any number of receiving units.

The GPS system is implemented when a device, specially equipped to receive GPS data, begins scanning radio frequencies for GPS satellite signals. Upon receiving a radio signal from a GPS satellite, the device determines the precise location of that satellite via one of a plurality of different conventional methods. The device will continue scanning, in most instances, for signals until it has acquired at least three different satellite signals (noting that position is not normally, but can be, determined with only two signals using other triangulation techniques). Implementing geometric triangulation, the receiver uses the three known positions to determine its own two-dimensional position relative to the satellites. This can be done in a known manner. Additionally, acquiring a fourth satellite signal allows the receiving device to calculate its three dimensional position by the same geometrical calculation in a known manner. The position and velocity data can be updated in real time on a continuous basis by an unlimited number of users.

As shown in Figure 1 , the GPS system 100 comprises a plurality of satellites 102 orbiting the earth 104. A GPS receiver 106 receives spread spectrum GPS satellite data signals 108 from a number of the plurality of satellites 102. The spread spectrum data signals 108 are continuously transmitted from each satellite 102, the spread spectrum data signals 108 transmitted each comprise a data stream including information identifying a particular satellite 102 from which the data stream originates. As mentioned above, the GPS receiver 106 generally requires spread spectrum data signals 108 from at least three satellites 102 in order to be able to calculate a two-dimensional position. Receipt of a fourth spread spectrum data signal enables the GPS receiver 106 to calculate, using a known technique, a three-dimensional position.

Referring to Figure 2, it should be noted that the block diagram of the navigation apparatus 200 is not inclusive of all components of the navigation apparatus, but is only representative of many example components. The navigation apparatus 200 is located within a housing (not shown). The navigation apparatus 200 includes a processing resource, for example a processor 202, the processor 202 being coupled to an input device 204 and a display device, for example a display screen 206. Although reference is made here to the input device 204 in the singular, the skilled person should appreciate that the input device 204 represents any number of input devices, including a keyboard device, voice input device, touch panel and/or any other known input device utilised to input information. Likewise, the display screen 206 can include any type of display screen such as a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), for example.

In one arrangement, one aspect of the input device 204, the touch panel, and the display screen 206 are integrated so as to provide an integrated input and display device, including a touchpad or touchscreen input 230 (Figure 3) to enable both input of information (via direct input, menu selection, etc.) and display of information through the touch panel screen so that a user need only touch a portion of the display screen 206 to select one of a plurality of display choices or to activate one of a plurality of virtual or "soft" buttons. In this respect, the processor 202 supports a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that operates in conjunction with the touchscreen.

In the navigation apparatus 200, the processor 202 is operatively connected to and capable of receiving input information from input device 204 via a connection 210, and operatively connected to at least one of the display screen 206 and an output device 208, via respective output connections 212, to output information thereto. The output device 208 is, for example, an audible output device (e.g. including a loudspeaker). As the output device 208 can produce audible information for a user of the navigation apparatus 200, it should equally be understood that input device 204 can include a microphone and software for receiving input voice commands as well. Further, the navigation apparatus 200 can also include any additional input device 204 and/or any additional output device, such as audio input/output devices. The processor 202 is operably coupled to a memory resource 214 via connection 216 and is further adapted to receive/send information from/to input/output (I/O) ports 218 via connection 220, wherein the I/O port 218 is connectible to an I/O device 222 external to the navigation apparatus 200. The external I/O device 222 may include, but is not limited to an external listening device, such as an earpiece for example. The connection to I/O device 222 can further be a wired or wireless connection to any other external device such as a car stereo unit for hands-free operation and/or for voice activated operation for example, for connection to an earpiece or headphones. The memory resource 214 comprises, for example, a volatile memory, such as a Random Access Memory (RAM) and a nonvolatile memory, for example a digital memory, such as a flash memory.

Figure 2 further illustrates an operative connection between the processor 202 and an antenna/receiver 224 via connection 226, wherein the antenna/receiver 224 can be a GPS antenna/receiver for example. It should be understood that the antenna and receiver designated by reference numeral 224 are combined schematically for illustration, but that the antenna and receiver may be separately located components, and that the antenna can be a GPS patch antenna or helical antenna for example.

In order to support communications in a Universal Mobile Telecommunications

System (UMTS), the processor 202 is also coupled to a cellular communications module 228 constituting the mobile telephone technology. The cellular communications module 228 supports a communications interface 229 for transmitting and receiving data wirelessly. The cellular communications module 228 comprises a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) (not shown) coupled thereto having a data subscription associated therewith. The subscription is, in this example, for a limited data usage over a predetermined period of time, for example a calendar month. In other embodiments, the subscription need not have a data usage limit. The cellular communications module 228 supports a bidirectional data communications service, for example a packet switched data service, such as a General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) supported by the GSM communications network and/or a High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) service supported by the UMTS network. The communications interface 229 is therefore compatible with the bidirectional data communications service. The bidirectional data communications service supports an Internet Protocol (IP) for data communications although use of other protocols, additionally or alternatively, is contemplated.

In this example, the navigation apparatus 200 comprises the cellular communications module 228. However, in another embodiment, a data session can be established, if required, with the communications network via a separate wireless communications terminal (not shown), such as a mobile telephone, PDA, and/or any device with mobile telephone technology, in order to establish a digital connection, for example a digital connection via known Bluetooth technology. In this respect, the navigation apparatus 200 can be Bluetooth enabled in order that the navigation apparatus 200 can be agnostic to the settings of the wireless communications terminal, thereby enabling the navigation apparatus 200 to operate correctly with the ever changing range of mobile telephone models, manufacturers, etc. Model/manufacturer specific settings can, for example, be stored by the navigation apparatus 200, if desired. The data stored for this information can be updated. It should therefore be understood that the navigation apparatus is an example of a communications-enabled mobile computing apparatus.

It will, of course, be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the electronic components shown in Figure 2 are powered by one or more power sources (not shown) in a conventional manner. As will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, different configurations of the components shown in Figure 2 are contemplated. For example, the components shown in Figure 2 can be in communication with one another via wired and/or wireless connections and the like. Thus, the navigation apparatus 200 described herein can be a portable or handheld navigation apparatus.

To facilitate use thereof, the portable or handheld navigation apparatus 200 of Figure 6 can be connected or "docked" (Figure 3) in a known manner in an automobile, or any other suitable vehicle, for example to a bicycle, a motorbike or a boat. The navigation apparatus 200 is then removable from the docked location for portable or handheld navigation use.

The navigation apparatus 200 can sit on an arm 232, which itself can be secured to a vehicle dashboard/window/etc. using a suction cup 234. This arm 232 is one example of a docking station to which the navigation apparatus 200 can be docked. The navigation apparatus 200 can be docked or otherwise connected to the arm 232 of the docking station by snap connecting the navigation apparatus 200 to the arm 232 for example. The navigation apparatus 200 may then be rotatable on the arm 232. To release the connection between the navigation apparatus 200 and the docking station, a button (not shown) on the navigation apparatus 200 may be pressed, for example. Other equally suitable arrangements for coupling and decoupling the navigation apparatus 200 to a docking station are well known to persons of ordinary skill in the art.

Turning to Figure 4, the memory resource 214 of the navigation apparatus 200 stores a boot loader program (not shown) that is executed by the processor 202 in order to load an operating system 238 from the memory resource 214 for execution by functional hardware components 236, which provides an environment in which application software 240 can run. The operating system 238 serves to control the functional hardware components 236 and resides between the application software 240 and the functional hardware components 236. The application software 240 provides an operational environment including the GUI that supports core functions of the navigation apparatus 200, for example map viewing, route planning, navigation functions and any other functions associated therewith. In this example, in order to implement a content delivery module 241 , the application software 240 supports a navigation module 242.

Referring to Figure 5, the navigation module 242 comprises a route calculator 250 having an input 252 for receiving route calculation parameters from a navigation input module (not shown), for example a start location and a destination location constituting, in this example, the first and second locations mentioned above. The route calculator 250 has access to a map database 254 comprising geospatial data. The route calculator 250 is also operably coupled to a route follower 256, the route follower 256 also having access to the map database 254. The route follower 256 is operably coupled to a GPS data module 258. An instruction generator 260 is also operably coupled to a media communication module 264 and an output interface 266. In this example, the output interface 266 is coupled to the display 230 and a loudspeaker 268. Media communication module 264 is also operably coupled to a local database of stopping zone data 262, the local database of stopping zone data 262 having been generated in accordance with any suitable method in order to comprise areas where vehicles are known to stop, either for a short period of time or a prolonged period of time. For example, the stopping zones can be areas or regions where people stop or slow to a near-stopping speed. In another embodiment, the stopping zone can be associated with a geographic feature. In this respect, a stopping zone can be associated with a geospatial feature, for example a road, but can be located at a distance therefrom not considered to be particularly close, for example up to 2 km away from the road, such as a petrol station requiring a detour from a motorway to reach it. It should therefore be understood that the definition of a stopping zone can be based upon a nearby transportation network. For example, in the event that the stopping zone can only be accessed by a limited number of roads, the stopping zone can be defined with respect to certain locations on each of the roads. When the navigation apparatus reaches or nears one of the locations, such an event can be used to constitute arrival at or nearing the stopping zone. In this example, the stopping zone database 262 therefore comprises triggering data identifying a region, boundary or location constituting a trigger data associated with the stopping zone, the nature of which will be described later herein.

It should nevertheless be noted that the stopping zone is not the same as a parking zone or lot. As is apparent from its name, the database of stopping zone data is stored locally, in this example, by the navigation apparatus 200. However, the skilled person should appreciate that the stopping zone database 262 can exclusively be remotely stored and accessible via the communications module 228. The stopping zone database 262 can be generated, for example, using probe trace data, such as anonymised probe trace data, indicative of locations where mobile computing apparatus have stopped, manoeuvred, parked, and, optionally, the duration of stay. The stopping zone database 262 can, additionally or alternatively, be generated using other sources of data, for example government records, travel guides, and/or recommendations provided by users of mobile computing apparatus. The information obtained can be aggregated and processed using known techniques in order to derive the stopping zones mentioned above. The stopping zone database 262 can be augmented by manual input from a Digital Map Technician (DMT).

In this respect, and turning to Figure 6, the navigation apparatus 200 is capable of communicating with a cellular communications network 280, for example the UMTS network mentioned above, via one or more Node Bs 282 thereof. Whilst reference herein is made to the UMTS network, the skilled person should appreciate that the embodiments described herein are not limited to the UMTS network and use of other wireless communications networks is contemplated.

The cellular communications network 280 is operably coupled to the Internet 284. A remote server 286 is "attached" to the Internet 284 via an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and constitutes an example of an external resource. The remote server 286 comprises or is coupled to a further database of stopping zone data 288, which in this example also includes content, for example media, associated with each stopping zone. The mobile computing apparatus, in this example the navigation apparatus 200, in combination with the remote server 286 and the functional relationship therebetween constitutes a content delivery system.

As explained above, the establishment of the network connection between the navigation apparatus 200 (via a service provider) and another device, for example the remote server 286, using the Internet 284, can be done in any suitable known manner. In this respect, any number of appropriate data communications protocols can be employed. Furthermore, the communications module 228 can utilize any number of communication standards such as CDMA2000, GSM, IEEE 802.1 1 a/b/c/g/n, etc.

When the stopping zone database is stored by the remote server 286, the remote server 285 serves requests for data in order to provide data in a like manner to the provision of stopping zone data by the local database of stopping zone data 262.

In operation, it is assumed, for the sake of ease of illustration, that the user, a visitor to the offices of the European Patent Office in The Hague, located at Patentlaan 2, Rijswijk, requires navigation assistance to the offices of TomTom International BV located at Rembrandtplein 35, Amsterdam.

In order to implement navigation to the above destination using the navigation apparatus 200, the user configures a route for calculation as follows. Referring to Figures 7 to 15, the user undertakes an illustrative destination location input process described hereinbelow using a location browser function supported by the user interface. Although not shown, the user uses a settings menu option supported by the application software 240 in order to select view generation in a three-dimensional mode.

When the user powers-up the navigation apparatus 200, the GPS module 658 of the apparatus 200 acquires GPS data and performs a self-location determination by calculating (in a known manner) the current location of the navigation apparatus 200. The user is then presented, as shown in Figure 7, with a display 300 showing in pseudo three-dimensions: a local environment 302 in which the navigation apparatus 200 is determined to be located and, in a region 304 of the display 300 below the local environment 302, a set of control and status messages.

By touching the display at the local environment 302, the navigation apparatus 200, through the user interface, updates the display 300 by displaying (as shown in Figure 8) a series of virtual or soft buttons 306 by means of which the user can, inter alia, input a destination to which the user wishes to navigate.

By touching the "Navigate to" virtual button 308, the navigation apparatus 200 initiates a route calculation procedure, a part of which comprises a route creation procedure. In accordance with the route creation procedure, the navigation apparatus 200 displays (as shown in Figure 9) a plurality of virtual buttons that are each associated with a different category of selectable destinations. In this instance, the display shows a "home" button that if pressed would set the destination to a stored home location. The "favourite" button, if pressed, reveals a list of destinations that the user has previously stored in the navigation apparatus 200 and if one of these destinations is then selected the destination for the route to be calculated is set to the selected previously stored destination. The "Recent destination" soft button, if pressed, reveals a list of selectable destinations held in the memory of the navigation apparatus 200 and to which the user has recently navigated. Selection of one of the destinations populating this list would set the destination location for this route to the selected (previously visited) location. The "point of interest" button, if pressed, reveals a number of options by means of which a user can opt to navigate to any of a plurality of locations, such as Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), petrol stations or tourist attractions for example, that have been pre- stored in the navigation apparatus 200 as locations to which a user of the navigation apparatus 200 might want to navigate to. A triangular arrow-like virtual button provides access to additional sub-menu options relating to the "Navigate to ..." menu option, and an "address" button 310 commences a process by which the user can input the street address of the destination to which the user wishes to navigate.

Since the user, in this example, knows the street address of the destination to which the user wishes the navigation apparatus 200 to navigate, it is assumed that the "address" button 310 is operated (by touching the virtual button displayed on the touchscreen) in order to select a location as the destination, whereupon (as shown in Figure 10) the user is presented with a series of address input options: address input by "city centre", by "postcode", by "crossing or intersection" (for example a junction of two roads) and by "street and house number".

In this example, the user knows the street address and house number of the destination and hence selects a "street and house number" virtual button 312 whereupon the user is then presented, as shown in Figure 1 1 , with: a prompt 314 to enter the name of the city to which they wish to navigate, a flag button 316 by means of which the user can select the country in which the desired city is located, and a virtual keyboard 318 that may be operated by the user, if necessary, to input the name of the destination city. In this instance the user begins to type the word "Amsterdam" and the navigation apparatus 200 therefore responds by providing the user with a list 320 of selectable cites.

The user in this instance wishes to navigate to Amsterdam, and on selection of Amsterdam from the list 320 the navigation apparatus 200 displays, as shown in Figure 12, a prompt 322 for entry of a street name as well as the virtual keyboard 318 again by means of which the user can input street names. In this instance, the user begins to type the name of the street in which the destination is located and the navigation apparatus 200 responds by providing the user with a list 324 of selectable street names.

In this example, the user wishes to travel to the street "Rembrandtplein" and so the user selects "Rembrandtplein" from the displayed list 324.

Once a street has been selected, the navigation apparatus 200 then displays (Figure 13) a restricted, largely numeric, virtual keypad 326 and prompts the user, by means of prompt 328, to enter the street number in the selected street and city to which the user wishes to navigate. If the user has previously navigated to a building number in this street, then that number is initially shown. If, as in this instance, the user wishes to navigate to No. 35, Rembrandtplein, then the user simply needs to type the street number ("35") using the virtual keypad 326 and then touch a "done" virtual button 330 displayed at the bottom right hand corner of the display 300. If the user should wish to navigate to a different building number in Rembrandtplein, then all the user needs do is operate the virtual keypad 326 to input an appropriate building or street number.

In the event that the user decides that navigation to the building number suggested is required, the user touches the "Done" virtual button 330. The application software 240 then causes the user interface to present an interrogation message 346 (Figure 14) asking the user whether a particular arrival time is required. If the user should touch a "yes" virtual button, then functionality is invoked that estimates the time required to travel to the destination (after provision by the user of the desired arrival time) and advises the user when they should leave (or if they are running late, should have left) their current location in order to arrive at their destination on time. In this instance, the user is not concerned about arriving at a particular time and hence selects a "no" virtual button 348.

Selecting the "no" virtual button 348 causes the route calculator 250 of the navigation module 242 to calculate, using the geospatial data stored in the map database 254, a route between the current location and the selected destination, and to display a route 350 calculated, as shown in Figure 15, on a relatively low magnification map that shows the entire route. The user is also provided with a "done" virtual button 352 which the user can press to indicate the calculated route is acceptable, a "find alternative" virtual button 354 that the user can press to cause the navigation apparatus 200 to calculate another route to the selected destination, and a "details" virtual button 356 that a user can press to reveal selectable options for the display of more detailed information concerning the currently displayed route 350.

In this instance, it is assumed that the user considers the displayed route acceptable, and once the "done" button 352 has been pressed the user is presented, with a three-dimensional view (not shown) of the current, start, location for the navigation apparatus 200. The user then commences their journey and the navigation apparatus 200 guides the user in the following manner.

Referring to Figure 16, after the user has set the destination (Step 400) and the route has been calculated (Step 402) as described above, the user embarks (Step 404) upon the route calculated. During the journey, the GPS module 258 coupled to the route follower 256 provides current location information using data obtained from the GPS receiver 224. The route calculated by the route calculator 250 is accessible by the route follower 256 and the route follower 256 determines a current location with respect to the calculated route. The route follower 256 uses the GPS data acquired in order to determine (Step 406) when the current location on the route nears or corresponds to a stopping zone, by accessing the stopping zone database 262, and whether the user is stopping at the stopping zone. In this respect, the determination as to whether the location of the navigation apparatus 200 is in and/or within a predetermined distance of the stopping zone is an example of a predetermined criterion to be satisfied for the navigation apparatus 200 to be deemed to be in, or within a sufficient distance of, the stopping zone. The trigger data stored in the stopping zone database 262 mentioned above is, in this example, used to determine whether the navigation apparatus 200 is sufficiently close to the stopping zone to constitute the predetermined criterion being satisfied.

The GPS data is then used to determine whether a safety-related criterion has been satisfied. In this example, the GPS data is used to determine the speed of the vehicle, and so when the speed reduces to zero or close to zero, the route follower 256 determines that the stopping zone has been reached in a safe manner. Otherwise, the route follower 256 continues to determine when the stopping zone has been reached. In another embodiment, the navigation apparatus 200 can be capable of communicating with computing facilities of a vehicle, for example when the navigation apparatus 200 is integrated into the vehicle. In such an embodiment, the navigation apparatus 200 can access vehicle speed data in order to determine the above safety-related criterion, for example via a so-called CAN bus, or Flexray™ network.

The knowledge that the user is or is close to a stationary state is useful as this corresponds to a safe state during which to deliver, for example present, content to the user. The instruction generator 260 therefore then implements the communication of the media associated with the stopping zone, for example an advertisement in the following manner.

The instruction generator 260 requests the media communications module 264 to provide (Step 408) media relating to the current stopping zone. The relevant media is retrieved (Step 410) by the media communications module 264 and/or links to relevant media, indexed and provided to the instruction generator 260. In this respect, the media communications module 264 communicates the identity of the stopping zone identified and the remote server 286, using the identity of the stopping zone provided, accesses the further stopping zone database 288 and retrieves (Step 410) the content associated with the stopping zone identified, which is to be served to the user. The media communications module 264 then receives the content retrieved by the remote server 286. Once the content has been retrieved, the instruction generator 260 then forms (Step 412) a message.

For the sake of safety, as described above, when nearing the stopping zone, the content or at least an identity thereof relating to the particular stopping zone is obtained and delivered, when the vehicle comes to a stop or comes close to a stop. In this respect, a motion-related condition is applied for determining whether content should be delivered. In this example, the motion-related condition is a stationary or near-stationary state. The motion-related condition can comprise a maximum speed in relation to a stopping zone. The profile of the user, any previous routes driven, previous stopping zones used, and any preferences of the user can be used to improve the rating of the most relevant content. In this respect, profile data is stored by the navigation apparatus in such an embodiment.

Once the message has been formed, the instruction generator 260 presents (Step 414) the media to the user, for example via the display 230 and/or the loudspeaker 268. In an alternative implementation, the message formed can comprise at least the identity of and/or a reference to the content, for example by way of a hyperlink to the media, selection of the link by the user resulting in the media being provided to the user on a "pull" basis as opposed to a "push" basis. As can be seen, the content can be prioritised according to any suitable predetermined criterion.

In the above examples, each stopping zone has a single item of content associated therewith. However, in another embodiment, a given stopping zone can have at least two items of content associated therewith. In such circumstances, the media communications module 264 has to prioritise the content associated with the stopping zone and select the content having the highest priority for communication to the user. In this respect, the prioritisation can be based upon at least one of the following criterion: relevance of the content to an identified destination location; relevance to a calculated route; relevance to a section of the calculated route; relevance to a profile of the user; relevance to a vehicle in which the computing apparatus is disposed; and/or relevance to the location of the computing apparatus.

As described herein, the content is delivered to the user that is both relevant and delivered in a manner that does not prejudice the safety of the user and/or other passengers in a vehicle. As suggested above, the content can be an advertisement; the advertisement can be relevant in respect of the destination selected by the user, but the relevance can additionally or alternatively be in respect of other locations, for example: the current stopping zone, any potential subsequent stopping zones, a dynamic situation in respect of the destination, for example a traffic condition or parking availability. The content communicated can be in respect of a dynamic situation associated with the route calculated, for example a danger that can be encountered as a result of following the route, potential damages associated with the route, for example a location where accidents or incidents are prevalent, such as a dangerous intersection or potentially dangerous merging of lanes.

In another embodiment, a stopping zone can form involuntarily and be determined dynamically, for example the stopping zone can form as a result of a traffic situation. Due to the increasing use of communications networks by navigation apparatus, it is possible to identify immediately a traffic situation, for example using the HD Traffic information system available from TomTom International B.V., where the vehicle/traffic is stationary and so constituting an ad-hoc stopping zone. This can be a bridge that is raised, highly congested traffic due to an incident, or a collection of vehicles waiting to board a ferry. Content can therefore be delivered at such ad-hoc stopping zones.

In a further embodiment, the information stored concerning a stopping zone can be tagged or otherwise augmented with information concerning potential dangers associated with the stopping zone, which can be delivered to the user. For example, in the context of a petrol or "gas" station, content warning of a short lane merging situation when returning to a motorway can be delivered to the user by the navigation apparatus in advance of departure. The content, in this example, can be a video clip.

In yet a further embodiment, a pricing mechanism can be employed where more than one item of content can be eligible to be delivered, the pricing mechanism being usable to prioritise and/or rate the content to be delivered, is added to the priority calculation and rating of the messages.

In another embodiment, a logging system is added in the navigation apparatus so as to collect statistical usage data, for example click-throughs, where the user choses to connect, communicate or otherwise interact with the advertiser, or obtain more information. This aspect of the functionality can be performed by the content delivery module 241 .

As another example, although the above embodiments have been described in the context of driving, the skilled person should appreciate that the above examples can be employed in relation to other activities, for example walking or hiking or other off-road navigation. Similarly, the above examples can be employed in relation to two-wheeler vehicles such as cyclists and/or motorcyclists, including vehicles having 50cc to 125cc.

In this respect, due to the limited balance and limited freedom of interaction while riding a two-wheeler vehicle, a safe interaction and display for messaging content to the user is of the utmost importance. Moreover, it is desirable from a safety perspective only to deliver content when the vehicle is stationary, and in the safest possible location. Consequently, in respect of such vehicles, the above-described embodiments can be configured so as to support additional safety by selecting stopping zones where the rider is going to be able to be stationary. Indeed, stopping zones can be defined in respect of certain types of vehicle, and which can be within other stopping zones, in order to ensure safe delivery of content.

In another example, safety cameras located on the route between the stopping zone and the destination can be displayed when it is deemed safe to do so, thereby avoiding distracting the driver.

Whilst, in the above examples, implementations have been described in the context of content, or an identifier thereof, is always communicated to the user by the mobile computing apparatus, the skilled person should appreciate that the mobile computing apparatus can be configured so as to obtain the content or an identifier thereof but to provide the user with an ability to select when the content or the identifier thereof is communicated to the user, for example under certain circumstances, such as during hours of daylight when less concentration is required of the user. In another example, although obtained, the communication of the content or the identifier thereof can be inhibited by a setting of the mobile computing apparatus.

By way of further example, whilst embodiments described in the foregoing detailed description refer to GPS, it should be noted that the navigation apparatus may utilise any kind of position sensing technology as an alternative to (or indeed in addition to) the GPS. For example the navigation apparatus may utilise other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) such as the proposed European Galileo system when available. Equally, it is not limited to satellite based but could readily function using ground based beacons or any other kind of system that enables the device to determine its geographic location, for example the long range navigation (LORAN)-C system.

Alternative embodiments of the invention can be implemented as a computer program product for use with a computer system, the computer program product being, for example, a series of computer instructions stored on a tangible data recording medium, such as a diskette, CD-ROM, ROM, or fixed disk, or embodied in a computer data signal, the signal being transmitted over a tangible medium or a wireless medium, for example, microwave or infrared. The series of computer instructions can constitute all or part of the functionality described above, and can also be stored in any memory device, volatile or non-volatile, such as semiconductor, magnetic, optical or other memory device.

It will also be well understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art that whilst the preferred embodiment implements certain functionality by means of software, that functionality could equally be implemented solely in hardware (for example by means of one or more ASICs (application specific integrated circuit)) or indeed by a mix of hardware and software. As such, the scope of the present invention should not be interpreted as being limited only to being implemented in software.

Lastly, it should also be noted that whilst the accompanying claims set out particular combinations of features described herein, the scope of the present invention is not limited to the particular combinations hereafter claimed, but instead extends to encompass any combination of features or embodiments herein disclosed irrespective of whether or not that particular combination has been specifically enumerated in the accompanying claims at this time.

Claims

1 . A method of communicating content to a user of a communications-enabled mobile computing apparatus, the method comprising:
the computing apparatus determining a location thereof;
determining whether the location of the computing apparatus with respect to a nearby stopping zone satisfies a predetermined criterion;
obtaining at least an identity of content associated with the stopping zone in response to the predetermined criterion being satisfied, the content being stored remotely from the computing apparatus and obtained via a wireless communications network; and
the computing apparatus communicating the at least the identity of the content to the user in response to a safety criterion being satisfied.
2. A method as claimed in Claim 1 , further comprising:
the computing apparatus determining whether the safety criterion is satisfied by determining whether the computing apparatus conforms to a motion-related condition; and
delivering the content in response to the motion-related condition being satisfied.
3. A method as claimed in Claim 2, wherein the motion-related condition is slowing to a stationary state or being in the stationary state.
4. A method as claimed in Claim 2 or Claim 3, wherein the motion-related condition comprises a maximum speed in relation to the stopping zone.
5. A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the content is advertising content.
6. A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein
the predetermined criterion is the location of the computing apparatus being in and/or within a predetermined distance of the stopping zone.
7. A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the computing apparatus provides a navigation assistance service.
8. A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the at least the identity of the content is obtained from a database of stopping zone data stored remotely from the computing apparatus, the database of stopping zones identifying stopping zones and content associated therewith.
9. A method as claimed in Claim 8, wherein
the stopping zone database identifies a plurality of content associated with the stopping zone, the plurality of content identified comprising the content; and
the computing apparatus prioritises the plurality of content so that a highest priority content is communicated before other identified content when the safety criterion is satisfied.
10. A method as claimed in Claim 9, wherein the content is prioritised based upon at least one of the following criterion:
relevance of the content to an identified destination location;
relevance to a calculated route;
relevance to a section of the calculated route;
relevance to a profile of the user;
relevance to a vehicle in which the computing apparatus is disposed; and/or relevance to the location of the computing apparatus.
1 1 . A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising: recording statistical usage data relating to communication of content to the user by the computing apparatus.
12. A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein obtaining at least the identity of the content associated with the stopping zone comprises:
obtaining a reference to the content, the reference enabling communication of the content by selection of the reference.
13. A method as claimed in Claim 8 or Claim 9, wherein the database of stopping zones comprises identities of a plurality of stopping zones, the plurality of stopping zones being associated with a specific category of vehicle.
A mobile computing apparatus comprising a processing resource arranged to support, when in use, an operational environment, the operational environment supporting a location determination module, a stopping zone identifier module and a content delivery module; wherein
the location determination module is arranged to determine a current location; the stopping zone identifier module is arranged to determine whether the current location with respect to a nearby stopping zone satisfies a predetermined criterion;
the content delivery module is arranged to obtain at least an identity of content associated with the stopping zone in response to the predetermined criterion being satisfied, the content being stored remotely from the computing apparatus and obtained via the wireless communications network; and
the content delivery module is also arranged to communicate the at least the identity of the content to the user in response to a safety criterion being satisfied.
15. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 14, wherein:
the content delivery module is arranged to determine whether the safety criterion is satisfied by determining whether a motion-related condition is satisfied; and
the content delivery module is arranged to deliver the content in response to the motion-related condition being satisfied.
16. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 15, wherein the motion-related condition is slowing to a stationary state or being in the stationary state.
17. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 15 or Claim 16, wherein the motion-related condition comprises a maximum speed in relation to the stopping zone.
18. An apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 14 to 17, wherein the content is advertising content.
19. An apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 14 to 18, wherein
the predetermined criterion is the current location being in and/or within a predetermined distance of the stopping zone.
20. An apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 14 to 19, wherein the at least the identity of the content is obtained from a database of stopping zone data stored remotely from the computing apparatus, the database of stopping zones identifying stopping zones and content associated therewith.
21 . An apparatus as claimed in Claim 20, wherein
the stopping zone database identifies a plurality of content associated with the stopping zone, the plurality of content identified comprising the content; and
the content delivery module is arranged to prioritise the plurality of content so that a highest priority content is communicated before other identified content when the safety criterion is satisfied.
22. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 21 , wherein the content is prioritised based upon at least one of the following criterion:
relevance of the content to an identified destination location;
relevance to a calculated route;
relevance to a section of the calculated route;
relevance to a profile of the user;
relevance to a vehicle in which the computing apparatus is disposed; and/or relevance to the location of the computing apparatus.
23. An apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 14 to 22, further comprising:
the content delivery module is arranged to record statistical usage data relating to communication of content to the user.
24. An apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 14 to 23, wherein the content delivery module obtains the at least the identity of the content associated with the stopping zone by obtaining a reference to the content, the reference enabling
communication of the content by selection of the reference.
25. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 20 or Claim 21 , wherein the database of stopping zones comprises identities of a plurality of stopping zones, the plurality of stopping zones being associated with a specific category of vehicle.
26. A navigation apparatus comprising the mobile computing apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 14 to 25.
27. A content delivery system comprising:
the mobile computing apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 14 to 25, the mobile computing apparatus being capable of communicating with the database of stopping zones via the communications network;
a server remote from the mobile computing apparatus, the server supporting the database of stopping zones and arranged to respond to a request for information requiring access to the database of stopping zones; wherein
the mobile computing apparatus is arranged to request via the wireless communications network the at least the identity of the content associated with the stopping zone identified; and
the server is arranged to provide the at least the identity of the content in response to the request from the mobile computing apparatus.
PCT/EP2010/070971 2010-12-31 2010-12-31 Method of communicating content to a user, mobile computing apparatus, and content delivery system WO2012089283A1 (en)

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