WO2013043207A1 - Event management/production for an online event - Google Patents

Event management/production for an online event Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2013043207A1
WO2013043207A1 PCT/US2011/058459 US2011058459W WO2013043207A1 WO 2013043207 A1 WO2013043207 A1 WO 2013043207A1 US 2011058459 W US2011058459 W US 2011058459W WO 2013043207 A1 WO2013043207 A1 WO 2013043207A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
event
user interface
viewers
production
listen
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2011/058459
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Boland T. Jones
David Michael Guthrie
Nicole C. Santoro
Original Assignee
American Teleconferencing Services, Ltd.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to PCT/US2010/033084 priority Critical patent/WO2011136786A1/en
Priority to US13/078,099 priority patent/US20110271211A1/en
Priority to USPCT/US11/34421 priority
Priority to PCT/US2011/034421 priority patent/WO2011137277A2/en
Priority to USPCT/US11/34472 priority
Priority to USPCT/US11/34438 priority
Priority to PCT/US2011/034472 priority patent/WO2011137299A2/en
Priority to PCT/US2011/034438 priority patent/WO2011137284A2/en
Application filed by American Teleconferencing Services, Ltd. filed Critical American Teleconferencing Services, Ltd.
Priority claimed from US13/822,379 external-priority patent/US20140047025A1/en
Priority claimed from US13/797,388 external-priority patent/US20130227434A1/en
Priority claimed from US13/797,228 external-priority patent/US9003303B2/en
Priority claimed from US13/797,021 external-priority patent/US9026929B2/en
Publication of WO2013043207A1 publication Critical patent/WO2013043207A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/56Arrangements for connecting several subscribers to a common circuit, i.e. affording conference facilities
    • H04M3/567Multimedia conference systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2201/00Electronic components, circuits, software, systems or apparatus used in telephone systems
    • H04M2201/38Displays
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2201/00Electronic components, circuits, software, systems or apparatus used in telephone systems
    • H04M2201/40Electronic components, circuits, software, systems or apparatus used in telephone systems using speech recognition
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2201/00Electronic components, circuits, software, systems or apparatus used in telephone systems
    • H04M2201/42Graphical user interfaces
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M2203/00Aspects of automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M2203/20Aspects of automatic or semi-automatic exchanges related to features of supplementary services
    • H04M2203/2038Call context notifications
    • 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
    • H04M2203/655Combination of telephone service and social networking
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/56Arrangements for connecting several subscribers to a common circuit, i.e. affording conference facilities
    • H04M3/562Arrangements for connecting several subscribers to a common circuit, i.e. affording conference facilities where the conference facilities are distributed
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/56Arrangements for connecting several subscribers to a common circuit, i.e. affording conference facilities
    • H04M3/563User guidance or feature selection
    • H04M3/565User guidance or feature selection relating to time schedule aspects
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M7/00Arrangements for interconnection between switching centres
    • H04M7/0024Services and arrangements where telephone services are combined with data services
    • H04M7/0027Collaboration services where a computer is used for data transfer and the telephone is used for telephonic communication

Abstract

Various embodiments of systems, methods, and computer programs are disclosed for managing and/or producing an online event. One embodiment is a computer program embodied in a computer readable medium and executable by a processor for providing an online event. One such computer program comprises: logic configured to establish an audio conference between one or more speakers and a plurality of listen-only viewers; logic configured to present the audio conference to the plurality of listen-only viewers via a viewer user interface; and logic configured to present an event production user interface to an event producer, the event production user interface configured to enable the event producer to selectively control the viewer user interface presented to the listen-only viewers during the online event.

Description

EVENT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION FOR AN ONLINE EVENT
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part patent application of International
Patent Application Serial No. PCT/US2010/033084, entitled "Systems, Methods, and Computer Programs for Providing a Conference User Interface" and filed April 30, 2010 (Applicant: American Teleconferencing Services, Ltd.; Attorney Docket No. 16003.1206P1).
BACKGROUND
[0002] Currently, there are a number of conference solutions for enabling people to conduct live meetings, conferences, presentations, or other types of gatherings via the Internet, the public switched telephone network (PSTN), or other voice and/or data networks. Participants typically use a telephone, computer, or other communication device that connects to a conference system. The meetings include an audio component and a visual component, such as, a shared presentation, video, whiteboard, or other multimedia, text, graphics, etc. These types of convenient conference solutions have become an indispensable form of communication for many businesses and individuals.
[0003] Despite the many advantages and commercial success of existing conference, meeting, grouping or other types of gathering systems, there remains a need in the art for improved conference, meeting, grouping or other types of gathering systems, methods, and computer programs. SUMMARY
[0004] Various embodiments of systems, methods, and computer programs are disclosed for managing and/or producing an online event. One embodiment is a method for providing an online event comprising: a conferencing system establishing an audio conference between one or more speakers and a plurality of listen-only viewers accessing the conferencing system via a communication network; the conferencing system presenting an event production user interface to an event producer, the event production user interface configured to enable the event producer to selectively control a viewer user interface presented to the listen-only viewers during the online event; the conferencing system receiving an event production control command initiated via the event production user interface; and the conferencing system updating the viewer user interface in response to the event production control command.
[0005] Another embodiment is a computer program embodied in a computer readable medium and executable by a processor for providing an online event. One such computer program comprises: logic configured to establish an audio conference between one or more speakers and a plurality of listen-only viewers; logic configured to present the audio conference to the plurality of listen-only viewers via a viewer user interface; and logic configured to present an event production user interface to an event producer, the event production user interface configured to enable the event producer to selectively control the viewer user interface presented to the listen-only viewers during the online event.
[0006] Another embodiment is a computer system for providing an online event. The computer system comprises a conferencing system and a server. The conferencing system establishes an audio conference between a plurality of listen-only viewers, an event producer, and one or more speakers. Each of the listen-only viewers, speakers, and the event producer operate a corresponding computing device connected via a
communication network. The server is configured to communicate with the conferencing system and the computing devices. The server comprises one or more processors and an event management/production module, which is stored in memory and executed by the processors. The event management/production module comprises: logic configured to present the audio conference to the plurality of listen-only viewers via a viewer user interface; and logic configured to present an event production user interface to the event producer, the event production user interface configured to enable the event producer to selectively control the viewer user interface during the online event by performing one or more of: specifying an active speaker and displaying an interactive participant object identifying the active speaker; moderating a chat involving the listen-only viewers;
selecting content to be displayed in the viewer user interface during the online event; selecting a question submitted by at least one of the listen-only viewers to be displayed in the viewer user interface.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0007] FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a computer system for managing and/or producing an online event comprising one or more speakers and a plurality of viewers.
[0008] FIG. 2 is a combined functional/block diagram illustrating the general architecture, operation, and/or functionality of an embodiment of the event management/production module(s) of FIG. 1.
[0009] FIG. 3 is a data diagram illustrating an embodiment of a data structure for defining, managing, and controlling the participant roles in the online event.
[0010] FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating the architecture, operation, and/or functionality of an embodiment of the event management/production module(s) of FIG.
1.
[0011] FIG. 5 is a user interface screen shot illustrating an embodiment of the event production user interface of FIGS. 1 & 2 for displaying an events dashboard.
[0012] FIG. 6 illustrates a first configuration step for scheduling a new online event via the event production user interface of FIG. 5.
[0013] FIG. 7 illustrates a second configuration step for scheduling a new online event via the event production user interface of FIG. 5.
[0014] FIG. 8 illustrates a third configuration step for scheduling a new online event via the event production user interface of FIG. 5. [0015] FIG. 9 is a user interface screen shot illustrating another embodiment of an event production user interface for enabling an event producer to selectively control views associated with the viewer user interface.
[0016] FIG. 10 is a flowchart illustrating an embodiment of the event management/production module(s) of FIGS. 1 & 2 for selectively controlling views associated with the viewer user interface via the event production user interface.
[0017] FIG. 11 is a user interface screen shot illustrating an embodiment of the viewer user interface in which the event producer has selected an "all speakers" view.
[0018] FIG. 12 illustrates an embodiment of a chat moderation control implemented via the event production user interface.
[0019] FIG. 13 is a user interface screen shot illustrating an embodiment of the event production user interface for enabling the event producer to selectively define and share media files to be presented to the viewer user interface during the online event.
[0020] FIG. 14 illustrates an embodiment of the viewer user interface after the event producer has shared a media file.
[0021] FIG. 15 illustrates an embodiment of the media sharing control provided via the event production user interface.
[0022] FIG. 16 is a flowchart illustrating an embodiment of the event management/production module(s) of FIGS. 1 & 2 for implementing the media sharing control of FIG. 15.
[0023] FIG. 17 illustrates an embodiment of a Q&A management control provided via the event production user interface.
[0024] FIG. 18 illustrates an embodiment of the viewer user interface after the event producer has selected a question submitted by one of the viewers.
[0025] FIG. 19 is a flowchart illustrating an embodiment of the event management/production module(s) of FIGS. 1 & 2 for implementing the Q&A management control of FIG. 17.
[0026] FIG. 20 is a user screen shot illustrating an embodiment of a speaker user interface provided to speakers participating in the online event.
[0027] FIG. 21 is an event registration screen displayed in a viewer user interface. [0028] FIG. 22 illustrates an exemplary confirmation email after a viewer has registered for an online event.
[0029] FIG. 23 illustrates an embodiment of a "waiting room" functionality provided via the viewer user interface before an online event begins.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
[0030] Various embodiments of systems, methods, and computer programs are disclosed for managing and/or producing an online conference or event. The online event may be used for conferences, meetings, groupings, or other types gatherings (collectively, an online "conference" or "event"). The online conference may be organized, hosted, promoted, produced, or presented by any business, group, individual, or other content provider for any desirable purpose or target audience (e.g., promotional events, online seminars, entertainment broadcasts, product launches, corporate events, etc.).
[0031] As described below in more detail with reference to FIGS. 1 - 23, the online event is provided by a system that establishes an audio conference between one or more speakers and a target audience. The target audience (referred to as "viewers") may experience the audio conference in a listen-only mode ("listen-only viewers"). The system providing the audio conference (a "conferencing" or "conference" system) also presents various role-specific conference user interfaces to the participants during the online event. A viewer user interface comprises the main user interface for presenting the audio conference and the online event to the viewers. A speaker user interface may be presented to the speakers, which may mirror the viewer user interface in terms of content but with optional functionality or alternative content not presented to the viewers. An event production user interface comprises a specially-configured user interface for enabling an event producer to selectively control various aspects of the viewer user interface and/or the speaker user interface. It should be appreciated that the control mechanisms generally comprise tools for enabling the event producer to customize or configure— during the online event - the manner in which the viewers and the speakers experience the online event. In exemplary embodiments, the event production user interface may be configured to enable the event producer to, for example, specify an active speaker to be displayed in the viewer user interface, select one or more presentation schemes or views for the viewer user interface, select and introduce media (e.g., audio, video, documents, presentations, graphics, etc.) for presentation in the viewer user interface, moderate public and/or private chats between the viewers and/or the speakers, or view questions submitted by the viewers and select which ones to present in the viewer user interface.
[0032] The conferencing system and the conference user interfaces may be generally configured in the manner described in the above -referenced parent application. The conference user interfaces may be configured to provide any desirable content and/or functionality and may support various user interface and/or conferencing features.
[0033] FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a computer system 100 for providing an online event 111 that may be managed and/or produced by an event producer. The computer system 100 comprises a conferencing system 102 and a plurality of computing devices 104 connected via one or more communication networks 106. The network(s) 106 may support wired and/or wireless communication via any suitable protocols, including, for example, the Internet, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), cellular or mobile network(s), local area network(s), wide area network(s), or any other suitable communication infrastructure. The computing devices 104 may be associated with corresponding participants (an event producer 106, one or more presenters or speakers 108, and viewers 110) in an online event 111 (including an audio conference 112).
[0034] The computing devices 104 may comprise any desirable computing device, which is configured to communicate with the conferencing system 102 and an associated server(s) 114 via the networks 106. The computer device 104 may comprise, for example, a personal computer, a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a mobile computing device, a portable computing device, a smart phone, a cellular telephone, a landline telephone, a soft phone, a web-enabled electronic book reader, a tablet computer, or any other computing device capable of communicating with the conferencing system 102 and/or the server(s) 114 via one or more networks 106. The computing device 104 may include client software (e.g. , a browser, plug-in, or other functionality) configured to facilitate communication with the conferencing system 102 and the server 114. It should be appreciated that the hardware, software, and any other performance specifications of the computing device 104 are not critical and may be configured according to the particular context in which the device is to be used.
[0035] In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the conferencing system 102 generally comprises a communication system for establishing an online event 111 and/or the audio conference 112 between the computing devices 104. The conferencing system 102 may support audio via a voice network and/or a data network. In one of a number of possible embodiments, the conferencing system 102 may be configured to support, among other platforms, a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) conferencing platform such as described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 11/637,291 entitled "VoIP Conferencing," filed on December 12, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. It should be appreciated that the conferencing system 102 may support various alternative platforms, technologies, protocols, standards, features, etc. Regardless of the communication infrastructure, the conferencing system 102 may be configured to establish an audio connection with the computing devices 104, although in some embodiments the audio portion may be removed. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the conferencing system 102 and/or servers 114 may establish the audio conference 112 by combining audio streams 306a - 306f associated with computing devices 104a - 104f. Each computing device 104 may be logically associated with a unique participant ID 302 stored in a profiles database 116. The role of the participants may be defined with a role status 304 indicating whether the participant is a speaker 108, a viewer 110, or the event producer 106.
[0036] Referring again to FIG. 1, conferencing system 102 may comprise event management/production module(s) 118 configured to present an event production user interface 120, a speaker user interface 122, and a viewer user interface 124. As illustrated in FIG. 2, during the online event, the event production user interface 120 is presented to the event producer 106, the speaker user interface 122 is presented to the speakers 108, and the viewer user interface is presented to the viewers 110. Each of the user interfaces 120, 122, and 124 may be presented via a client application {e.g., a browser, one or more browser plug-ins, and/or a special-purpose client). It should be appreciated that the user interfaces 120, 122, and 124 may include logic located and/or executed at the computing devices 104, the conferencing system 102, server(s) 114, or any combination thereof, and may be presented to and displayed via a graphical user interface and an associated display (e.g., touchscreen display device or other display device).
[0037] The event management/production modules 1 18 (and any other associated control and presentation modules) may be embodied in memory and executed by one or more processors. It should be appreciated that any aspects of the event management/production modules 1 18 may be stored and/or executed by the computing devices 104, the conferencing system 102, the servers 1 14, or other related server(s) or web services.
[0038] Referring to FIG. 2, the event management/production module(s) 1 18 enable the conferencing system 102 to separately configure, manage, and control the user interfaces 120, 122, and 124, as well as provide the audio conference 1 12 and any other content and/or functionality to the computing devices 104. Communications with the event producer 106 may be controlled via a communication channel 206 that presents the event production user interface 120. Communications with the speakers 108 may be controlled via a communication channel 208 that presents the speaker user interface 122. Communications with the viewers 1 10 may be controlled via a communication channel 210.
[0039] As mentioned above, the event production user interface 120 generally comprises various tools for enabling the event producer 106 to selectively control various aspects of the viewer user interface 124 and/or the speaker user interface 122 during the online event 1 1 1. The event production user interface 120 may comprise one or more user interface components (202) for implementing various control features. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 2, the viewer user interface 124 and/or the speaker user interface 122 may be simultaneously displayed in the event producer user interface 120 (reference line 204) to enable the event producer 106 to see what is being displayed to the speakers 108 and/or the viewers 1 10 during the online event 1 1 1. It should be appreciated that the control mechanisms 202 generally comprise production tools for enabling the event producer 106 to customize the content and/or functionality presented in the speaker user interface 122 and/or the viewer user interface 124. [0040] FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating the general architecture, operation, and/or functionality of an embodiment of the event management/production modules 118. At block 402, the conferencing system 102 establishes an audio conference 112 between one or more speakers 108, the event producer 106, and a plurality of viewers 110 accessing the conferencing system 102 via computing devices 104 connected to network(s) 106. Although not required, the viewers 110 may be added to the audio conference 112 in a listen-only mode so that they are only able to listen to the audio, while the speakers 108 are able to listen and speak. Depending on the particular purpose and context for the event, the online event 111 may host any number of event producers 106, speakers 108, and viewers 110. It should be appreciated, however, that the event production and management tools may be particularly advantageous for controlled situations in which the event is organized by a content provider and directed to a large audience of viewers 110 (e.g., hundreds or even thousands or more viewers).
[0041] At block 404, the conferencing system 102 and/or servers 114 present the event production user interface 120 to the event producer 106. As described below in more detail, the event production user interface 120 may comprise various components 202 for enabling the event producer 106 to selectively control the content and/or functionality presented in the viewer user interface 124 and speaker user interface 122. If the event producer 106 desires to produce content or configure certain functionality or applications, the applicable event production/management controls (components 202) are selected via the event production user interface 120 (decision block 406). At block 408, the event management/production modules 118 receive an event production control command initiated by the event production user interface 120. In response to the command, the event production/management modules 118 determine the particular control being requested and then update the viewer user interface 124 and/or the speaker user interface 122 with the associated content and/or functionality.
[0042] It should be appreciated that the event production/management controls may be initiated, scheduled, or performed at any applicable time before the online event 111 or during the online event 111. FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of the event production user interface 120 for managing upcoming events (tab 506) or previous events (tab 508), scheduling new events (component 516), starting an event (component 504), or managing an event production account (component 502). The event production account may be associated with a content provider or a third party that manages online events 110 for the content provider. FIG. 5 illustrates a list of upcoming scheduled events by event name, day/time and presenter, and may indicate the number of current viewers registered for the online event 111. The event producer 106 may join an online event 111 already scheduled by selecting an item from the list view (join button 510). Existing online events 110 may also be edited via edit button 512 or promoted via associated social networking or other web-based communication or marketing tools (buttons 514).
[0043] As described in the above -referenced parent patent application, the various user interfaces may be configured to visually identify one or more participants with unique participant objects 500 for identifying the participants. In FIG. 5, a participant object 500 is displayed identifying the event producer 106. In an embodiment, a participant object 500 (displayed in any of the user interfaces 120, 122, and 124) may comprise a graphical representation, profile information, an audio indicator, and a business card component. The graphical representation may comprise a picture, photograph, icon, avatar, etc. for identifying the corresponding participant. The graphical representation may comprise an image that is uploaded to the server 114, imported from a social networking profile, or selected and/or customized from predefined images. The graphical representation may also comprise a default image if one has not been defined by a participant.
[0044] The profile information may comprise information provided by the participant and stored in user profiles database 116 (FIG. 1). The audio indicator visually identifies when the associated participant is speaking during the audio conference 112 by monitoring the audio streams 306. The audio stream 306 may be logically associated with the corresponding audio indicator according to a participant identifier 302. During the audio conference 112 when a participant is speaking, the audio indicator may be displayed in a first visual state, such as, by graying out the audio indicator. When the participant is speaking, the audio indicator may be displayed in a second visual state, such as, by blacking out the audio indicator. It should be appreciated that any visual and/or audio distinctions may be employed to identify a speaking participant in any of the user interfaces 120, 122, and 124. [0045] The participant objects 500 may include a user interface component for launching a business card component that, when selected, displays further information about the participant. The business card component may trigger the display of any additional participant profile or identification information. When the component is selected, the participant object 500 "flips" to the business card component, which displays additional parameters (e.g., name, title, organization, location, contact information, interests, or other biographical information). The business card component may further comprise a participant profile control, which comprises a user interface control for enabling the participants to edit their own, or another participant's, information during the online event 1 1 1. An "exit" button may be selected to "flip" the object to a default display.
[0046] In another embodiment, the interactive participant object 500 may be customized by a participant. The participant object 500 may be configured as an interactive shape (e.g., a cube) with a plurality of user-selectable display portions (e.g., two or more cube faces. The cube faces may be customized to display various types of information, including, a personal greeting, a menu listing available social networking accounts associated with the participant. As described in the above-referenced patent application, the conferencing system 102 may be configured to communicate with social networking systems via an API. During the online event 1 1 1 , other participants may interact with displayed participant objects 500 and, for example, view the participant's social networking profile displayed in one of the cube faces. One or more links may also be displayed for viewing the participant's full profile, as well as sending a request to join the participant's social network. In another embodiment, a participant may also customize various aspects of the participant objects 500 during the online event 1 1 1. The participants may also resize a particular participant object 500, rearrange displayed participant objects 500, or customize their own participant object 500 directly from the participant object 500.
[0047] FIGS. 6 - 8 illustrate a series of exemplary screen shots for scheduling a new online event 1 1 1 via the event production user interface 120 (button 516). In this embodiment, the event producer 106 is taken through three steps for configuring various aspects of the online event. In step 1 (FIG. 6), the event producer is prompted to enter or configure parameters, such as, the event details, event description, event name, presenter, date/time, duration, pre-event sound check (a set time prior to beginning the online event 111), and a theme for the viewer user interface 124 or speaker user interface 122.
[0048] In step 2 (FIG. 7), the event producer 106 may configure security/access permissions for the online event 111 by specifying role-specific keys or passwords for the event producer 106, speakers 108, and viewers 110. The content provider may also control whether the online event 111 will be a free event, specify a charge to attend, or issue promotional codes. The content provider may also choose to hire a third party production company to manage and produce the online event 111. In step 3 (FIG. 8), the event producer 106 may customize the event experience by uploading, for example, custom images, videos, graphics, or other media to configure the viewer user interface 124 during or before the online event or, alternatively, to configure confirmation emails or other messages presented to registered viewers.
[0049] FIGS. 9 - 11 illustrate an embodiment of a view selection control implemented via the event production user interface 120. In general, the view selection control enables the event producer 106 to selectively control, during the online event 111, which of a plurality of predetermined views are to be displayed to the viewers 110 in the viewer user interface 124. Referring to FIG. 9, the event production user interface 120 may simultaneously display the viewer user interface 124 and the various control components 202. An event control component 202c may comprise an interactive control panel for selectively accessing details about the online event (details bar 908) and interacting with a list of participants (people bar 906). When selected, the people bar 906 may display list items 910 identifying the participants by name and role (i.e., speaker, viewer, or event producer) with an optional avatar, icon, photograph, or other visual graphics. Where a large number of viewers 110 are participant, they may be grouped into a single item 910 with an indication of the number of current viewers. As described below in more detail, the event control component 202c may further comprise a file or media sharing bar 902 and a Q&A bar 904. The file sharing bar 902 enables the event producer 106 to produce content in the viewer user interface 124 during the online event 111, and the Q&A bar 904 enables the event producer 106 to manage questions submitted by the viewers 110. [0050] A chat control component 202d may comprise a further interactive panel for controlling, managing, and moderating online chats or other messaging applications between the speakers 108 and/or the viewers 110. A speakers bar 912 exposes messages 916 exchanged during a speaker chat, and the everyone bar 914 exposes messages 916 submitted by the viewers 110.
[0051] View selection controls 202a and 202b provide a convenient production tool for enabling the event producer to selectively change predefined views associated with the viewer user interface 124. The views may customize any desirable presentation parameters. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 9, the view selection control 202a enables the event producer 106 to configure the viewer user interface 124 to display only the current speaker 108 in the online event 111. The view selection control 202b enables the event producer 106 to display all speakers 108. Regardless the view, the displayed speakers 108 may be visually identified with corresponding participant objects 500, as described above.
[0052] In operation, the event producer 106 may select either of the view selection controls 202a and 202b. The event management/production modules 118 determine which view is selected in the event production user interface 120 and presents the corresponding view in the view user interface 124. FIG. 9 shows that the view selection control 202b has been selected. FIG. 11 illustrates the resulting view presented in the viewer user interface 124, in which all four speakers 108 are identified with a corresponding participant object 1104a, 1104b, 1104c, and 1104d. As further illustrated in FIG. 11, the viewer user interface 124 may also display other information about the online event 111 (e.g., an event title 1102), current date/time, and other information customized to the particular viewer 110 (e.g., local weather, news, etc.). As described below in more detail, the viewer user interface 124 may also present user interface components for accessing various conferencing features, such as, for example, a viewer chat (chat component 1106), a question submission component 1110 for submitting questions to the event producer 106, and a social networking component 1112 for interacting with a social networking feed associated with the online event 111.s
[0053] FIG. 10 illustrates the architecture, operation, and/or functionality of an embodiment of the event management/production modules 118 for implementing the view selection control. At block 1002, the conferencing system 102 establishes an audio conference 112 between one or more speakers 108, the event producer 106, and a plurality of viewers 110 accessing the conferencing system 102 via computing devices 104 connected to network(s) 106. At block 1004, the conferencing system 102 and/or servers 114 present the event production user interface 120 to the event producer 106. The event production user interface 120 may simultaneously display the viewer user interface 124 and the view selection control components 202a and 202b (FIGS. 2 & 9). At decision block 1006, the event management/production modules 118 determine whether the current view is to be changed to a new view. If the event producer 106 initiates a change to a new view or otherwise changes presentation parameters associated with the viewer user interface 124, the event management/production modules 118 determine the selected new view or presentation parameters (block 1008) and updates the viewer user interface 124 accordingly (block 1010).
[0054] FIGS. 12 & 20 illustrate a more detailed view of the chat control component 202d and the operation of the associated features for moderating a viewer or speaker chat. FIG. 12 illustrates a viewer chat panel 1204 that may be launched from the chat component 1106. The viewer chat panel 1204 enables viewers 110 to interact with each other by submitting text or other messages via the conferencing system 102 or other systems, such as, a social networking computer system. FIG. 20 illustrates an embodiment of a speaker user interface 122 for enabling speakers 108 to exchanges messages either with each other, the viewers 110, or any combination thereof. The speaker user interface 122 may include a speaker chat panel 2002 (FIG. 20), which may be selectively displayed via a chat button 1106. The speaker chat panel 2002 may separately display a speaker chat application (speaker bar 2004) and a public chat application (everyone bar 2003). Referring again to FIG. 12, the event production user interface 120 may maintain a communication channel 1202 for receiving and displaying the messages 916 submitted by the speakers 108 (speakers bar 912) and the viewers 110 (everyone bar 914). The event producer 106 may moderate either chat by, for example, deleting inappropriate messages 916 via, for example, a delete button 918.
[0055] FIGS. 13 - 16 illustrate an embodiment of a file or media sharing control implemented via the event production user interface 120. FIGS. 13 & 15 illustrate the file sharing bar 902 expanded to present control functions for enabling the event producer 106 to specify content to be presented in the viewer user interface 124 during the online event 111. As best illustrated in FIG. 15, the event producer 106 may search or browse for media stored in a local or remote folder (folder button 1500) or, alternatively, view all available media files (all button 1504) or according to type (e.g., video button 1502). In FIG. 15, the video button 1502 has been selected to display a media file 1506 available for presentation in the viewer user interface 124. It should be appreciated that the media file 1506 may comprise any type of media, such as, text, graphics, video, or audio in any desirable format (e.g., documents, presentations, videos, images, etc.). The media file 1506 may be displayed with a corresponding thumbnail image 1508 along with a play button 1510 and a delete button 1512. To produce the media to the viewer user interface 124, the event producer 106 may select the play button 1510. In response to selection of the play button 1510, the applicable media file 1506 may be automatically presented to the viewer user interface 124 (FIGS. 14 & 15).
[0056] FIG. 16 illustrates the architecture, operation, and/or functionality of an embodiment of the event management/production modules 118 for implementing the media sharing control. At block 1602, the conferencing system 102 establishes an audio conference 112 between one or more speakers 108, the event producer 106, and a plurality of viewers 110 accessing the conferencing system 102 via computing devices 104 connected to network(s) 106. At block 1604, the conferencing system 102 and/or servers 114 present the event production user interface 120 to the event producer 106 and the viewer user interface 124 and the speaker user interface 122 to the viewers 110 and speakers 108, respectively. The event production user interface 120 may simultaneously display the viewer user interface 124 and a file sharing bar 902. At decision block 1606 and block 1608, the event management/production modules 118 determines the media file 1506 identified by the event producer 106 via the event production user interface 120. At block 1610, in response to the command initiated by the event producer 106, the event management/production modules 118 present the media file 1506 in the viewer user interface 124.
[0057] FIGS. 17 - 19 illustrate an embodiment of a question submission/management control implemented via the event production user interface 120 and the viewer user interface 124. In operation, the viewers 110 may launch a question submission panel 1702 by selecting the question submission component 1110. As illustrated in FIG. 17, viewers 110 may insert a question into a text box 1704, select a target speaker 108 for the question (drop-down box 1706), and submit the question to the conferencing system 102 (button 1708). Submitted questions may be displayed in the event production user interface 120 under the Q&A bar 904. The questions may be displayed as a scrollable feed. The event producer 106 may navigate the feed and select a particular question (question 1702a in FIG. 17). When selected, the question may be expanded to display the identity of the viewer (thumbnail 1712), the text of the question, and prompt the event producer 106 to "take the question" (button 1710). If the event producer 106 "takes" the question by selecting button 1710, the question 1702a is then presented in the online event 111 by displaying in the viewer user interface 124.
[0058] FIG. 19 illustrates the architecture, operation, and/or functionality of an embodiment of the event management/production modules 118 for implementing the question submission/management control. At block 1902, the conferencing system 102 establishes an audio conference 112 between one or more speakers 108, the event producer 106, and a plurality of viewers 110 accessing the conferencing system 102 via computing devices 104 connected to network(s) 106. At block 1904, the conferencing system 102 and/or servers 114 present the view user interface 124 to the viewers 110. At block 1906, one or more viewers 110 submit questions via the viewer user interface 124. At block 1908, the submitted questions are presented in the event production user interface 120 to the event producer 106. At block 1910, the event producer 106 may browse and select one of the submitted questions for presentation in the viewer user interface 124 (block 1912).
[0059] FIG. 21 illustrates an embodiment of the viewer user interface 124 for enabling viewers 110 to register for an online event 111. The event producer 106 may promote the online event 111 through social networking channels or by other means (e.g., email, SMS, etc.). The message may include a link to an event registration page associated with the viewer user interface 124. The event registration page may include promotional information about the online event, date/time, and an event registration panel 2102 prompting the viewer 110 to specify account information, personal information, and payment information (if the event has a fee) for registering for the event. After registering for the online event 1 1 1 , a confirmation email or other message 2200 (FIG. 22) may be sent to the viewer 1 10. The confirmation message 2200 may include additional information 2202 to promote the online event 1 1 1.
[0060] FIG. 23 illustrates an embodiment of a "waiting room" that may be displayed via the viewer user interface 124 if the viewer 1 10 joins the online event 1 1 1 prior to the scheduled start time. To enhance the user experience, the "waiting room" may include a social networking panel 2302 for enabling early attendees to interact and discuss the upcoming online event 1 1 1. The "waiting room" may include a countdown timer panel 2300 indicating when the online event 1 1 1 goes live. A further panel 2304 may present additional promotional information (e.g., introductory or teaser videos or any other information).
[0061] It should be appreciated that one or more of the process or method descriptions associated with the flow charts or block diagrams above may represent modules, segments, logic or portions of code that include one or more executable instructions for implementing logical functions or steps in the process. It should be further appreciated that the logical functions may be implemented in software, hardware, firmware, or any combination thereof. In certain embodiments, the logical functions may be implemented in software or firmware that is stored in memory or non-volatile memory and that is executed by hardware (e.g., microcontroller) or any other processor(s) or suitable instruction execution system associated with the computer system 100. Furthermore, the logical functions may be embodied in any computer readable medium for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system, apparatus, or device, such as a computer-based system, processor-containing system, or other system associated with the computer system 100 that can fetch the instructions from the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device and execute the instructions.
[0062] It should be noted that this disclosure has been presented with reference to one or more exemplary or described embodiments for the purpose of demonstrating the principles and concepts of the invention. The invention is not limited to these embodiments. As will be understood by persons skilled in the art, in view of the description provided herein, many variations may be made to the embodiments described herein and all such variations are within the scope of the invention.

Claims

CLAIMS What is claimed is:
1. A method for providing an online event, the method comprising:
a conferencing system establishing an audio conference between one or more speakers and a plurality of listen-only viewers accessing the conferencing system via a communication network;
the conferencing system presenting an event production user interface to an event producer, the event production user interface configured to enable the event producer to selectively control a viewer user interface presented to the listen-only viewers during the online event;
the conferencing system receiving an event production control command initiated via the event production user interface; and
the conferencing system updating the viewer user interface in response to the event production control command.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the event production control command comprises one or more of a selection of a view for the viewer user interface, a selection of media to present in the viewer user interface during the online event, a chat moderator command for controlling a group chat presented in the viewer user interface, a selection of an active speaker from a plurality of speakers, and a selection of a question submitted by one of the listen-only viewers for presentation to a speaker user interface and the viewer user interface.
3. The method of claim 1 , wherein the event production user interface
simultaneously displays the viewer user interface presented to the listen-only viewers.
4. The method of claim 1 , wherein the event production user interface comprises a view selection control for enabling the event producer to selectively configure the viewer user interface according to a first view and a second view.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the first view only displays an active speaker, and the second view displays all participating speakers.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the active speaker and the participant speakers are visually identified with a unique participant object identifying the corresponding participant.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the unique participant objects comprise an interactive object having at least two display portions for selectively displaying information associated with the corresponding participant.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the at least two display portions comprise one of default identification information, a business card component, an image, and a social networking channel associated with the corresponding participant.
9. The method of claim 1 , wherein the event production user interface comprises a media selection component for enabling the event producer to specify media to be presented to the listen-only viewers in the viewer user interface during the online event.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein the event production user interface comprises a chat moderator component for enabling the event producer to view and manage chat messages received from the listen-only viewers via the viewer user interface.
11. The method of claim 1 , wherein the viewer user interface comprises a question submission component for enabling the listen-only viewers to submit a question, the event production user interface comprises a question queue for displaying submitted questions, and wherein the question queue is configured to enable the event producer to select one of the submitted questions to be presented in the viewer user interface.
12. A computer program embodied in a computer readable medium and executable by a processor for providing an online event, the computer program comprising:
logic configured to establish an audio conference between one or more speakers and a plurality of listen-only viewers;
logic configured to present the audio conference to the plurality of listen-only viewers via a viewer user interface; and
logic configured to present an event production user interface to an event producer, the event production user interface configured to enable the event producer to selectively control the viewer user interface presented to the listen-only viewers during the online event.
13. The computer program of claim 12, wherein the logic configured to present the event production user interface comprises:
logic configured to receive an event production control command initiated via the event production user interface; and
logic configured to update the viewer user interface in response to the event production control command initiated.
14. The computer program of claim 12, wherein the event production user interface is further configured to selectively switch between a first view and a second view associated with the viewer user interface.
15. The computer program of claim 14, wherein the first view comprises displaying an interactive participant object identifying at least one of the speakers.
16. The computer program of claim 15, wherein the interactive participant object comprises at least two display portions for selectively displaying information associated with the corresponding participant.
17. The computer program of claim 12, wherein the event production user interface is further configured to enable the event producer to specify and automatically present media to the listen-only viewers in the viewer user interface during the online event.
18. The computer program of claim 12, wherein the event production user interface comprises a chat moderator component for enabling the event producer to view and manage chat messages received from the listen-only viewers via the viewer user interface.
19. The computer program of claim 12, wherein the viewer user interface comprises a question submission component for enabling the listen-only viewers to submit a question, the event production user interface comprises a question queue for displaying submitted questions, and wherein the question queue is configured to enable the event producer to select one of the submitted questions to be presented in the viewer user interface.
20. A computer system comprising:
a conferencing system for establishing an audio conference between a plurality of listen-only viewers, an event producer, and one or more speakers, each operating a corresponding computing device connected via a communication network;
a server configured to communicate with the conferencing system and the computing devices, the server comprising one or more processors and an event management/production module, which is stored in memory and executed by the processors, the event management/production module comprising:
logic configured to present the audio conference to the plurality of listen- only viewers via a viewer user interface; and
logic configured to present an event production user interface to the event producer, the event production user interface configured to enable the event producer to selectively control the viewer user interface during the online event by performing one or more of: specifying an active speaker and displaying an interactive participant object identifying the active speaker; moderating a chat involving the listen-only viewers; selecting content to be displayed in the viewer user interface during the online event; selecting a question submitted by at least one of the listen-only viewers to be displayed in the viewer user interface.
PCT/US2011/058459 2010-04-30 2011-10-28 Event management/production for an online event WO2013043207A1 (en)

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PCT/US2010/033084 WO2011136786A1 (en) 2010-04-30 2010-04-30 Systems, methods, and computer programs for providing a conference user interface
US13/078,099 US20110271211A1 (en) 2010-04-30 2011-04-01 Systems, methods, and computer programs for controlling presentation views in an online conference
PCT/US2011/034421 WO2011137277A2 (en) 2010-04-30 2011-04-29 Systems, methods, and computer programs for controlling presentation views in an online conference
USPCT/US11/34472 2011-04-29
USPCT/US11/34438 2011-04-29
PCT/US2011/034472 WO2011137299A2 (en) 2010-04-30 2011-04-29 Systems, methods, and computer programs for monitoring a conference and communicating with participants without joining as a participant
PCT/US2011/034438 WO2011137284A2 (en) 2010-04-30 2011-04-29 Managing multiple conferences via a conference user interface
USPCT/US11/34421 2011-04-29

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US13/822,379 US20140047025A1 (en) 2011-04-29 2011-10-28 Event Management/Production for an Online Event
US13/797,388 US20130227434A1 (en) 2010-04-30 2013-03-12 Audio/Text Question Submission and Control in a Produced Online Event
US13/797,228 US9003303B2 (en) 2010-04-30 2013-03-12 Production scripting in an online event
US13/797,021 US9026929B2 (en) 2010-04-30 2013-03-12 Event management/production of an online event using event analytics

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US13/797,021 Continuation-In-Part US9026929B2 (en) 2010-04-30 2013-03-12 Event management/production of an online event using event analytics
US13/797,228 Continuation-In-Part US9003303B2 (en) 2010-04-30 2013-03-12 Production scripting in an online event

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