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Title:
TEMPORARY VOICEMAIL GREETING FOR CELLULAR PHONES: INSTANT AWAY MESSAGING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/005924
Kind Code:
A3
Abstract:
A system which provides a cellular phone user with the ability ko instantly record a temporary voieemail greeting and transmit it to a vokemail server. The voicemaii server will automatically replace the user's primary voicemail greeting when the temporary voieemail greeting becomes active, but the primary voieemail greeting will still remained stored for future use. The temporary voicemail greeting will last for a period of time designated by the user, at which point the primary voicemail greeting will automatically replace the temporary. The user will also be able to record multiple temporary voicemail greetings, which will effectively replace each other as each individual greeting became active.

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Inventors:
PERLMAN, Benjamin (180 Shady Cove Road, North Kingston, RI, 02852, US)
Application Number:
US2007/072650
Publication Date:
April 10, 2008
Filing Date:
July 02, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PERLMAN, Benjamin (180 Shady Cove Road, North Kingston, RI, 02852, US)
International Classes:
H04M1/64
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PACHO, Jericho, B. (Wolf, Block Schorr and Solis-Cohen, LLP,1650 Arch Street, 22nd Floo, Philadelphia PA, 19103, US)
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Claims:

Claims

What is claimed is:

1. λ method of transmitting temporary voϊceraail greetings comprising the steps of; storing at least one temporary voicemail greeting on a communication device or a media server located remotely from the communication device; receiving data relating to a predetermined amount of time for the one temporary vøieemalt greeting, wherein a primary voicemail greeting is replaced with the one temporary voicemai! greeting for the predetermined amount of time; transmitting, for the predetermined amount of time, the one temporary voicemail greeting when a ealier calls the communication device, wherein the one temporary voicemail

greeting is automatically replaced with the primary voicemail greeting after the predetermined amount of time expires,

2. The method of claim I wherein the data relating to the predetermined amount of time comprises (i) editing the one temporary voicemai! greeting, (U) setting the time in which the one temporary voicemail greeting will activate, (Bi) setting the time in which the one temporary voicemai! greeting will terminate, (iv) a number of times the one temporary voicemail greeting will play, (v) displaying the active status of the one temporary vokemai! greeting or (vi) any combination thereof.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the communication device is a ceil phone, a personal digital assistant or a computer.

4. The method of claim L wherein the one temporary voicemail greeting comprises a voice message or a video message.

5. The method of claim I, wherein the media server is a voicemai! server or a computer .

6. The method according to claim ! , wherein the media server stores the one temporary voicemaii greeting until an active time, at which point the primary voicemail greeting is replaced with the one temporary voicemail greeting, and wherein the primary voicemail greeting is saved in a database for later use.

7. The method according to claim 1, wherein the remotely based media server designates a

first ID number to the one temporary voicemail greeting.

8. The method according to claim 7, wherein the first ID number is correlated to (i) a cellular phone number which is in communication with the media server arκ.1 (H) an sequential order of saved temporary voicemail greetings.

9. The method according to claim 6, wherein die active time is a period when the current date ant! current time equals a selected date and a selected time,

10. The method according to claim 9, wherein the one temporary voicemail greeting is

substituted in place of the primary voicemail greeting until a termination date and a termination time, at which point the primary voicemail greeting is substituted m place of the one temporary voicemail greeting.

11. The method according to claim I 5 wherein the at [east one temporary voicemail greeting comprises a first temporary voicemail greeting and a second temporary voicemail greeting, and wherein the second temporary voicemail greeting is created and saved in a database, wherein the first temporary voicemail greeting is substituted in place of the second temporary voicemail greeting when the second temporary voicemail greeting is active.

12. The method according to claim L wherein trie media server continuously queries a database of phone numbers for active temporary voicemail greetings in connection with the current time and the current date and the active time and the active date.

13, The method according to claim 12, wherein upon locating an active temporary voicemail greeting, the voicemai! server will set a temporary flag ~ I for a specific phone number and will store a temporary voicemail ID, expiration date and time in connection with the specific phone number.

14. The method according to claim 1 , wherein an unanswered phone call is correlated to a number in the remotely based media server database, the server will query to see whether a temporary Sag ::: 1 for thai specific phone number,

15. The method according to claim 14, wherein the event that ihe phone number has a temporary flag ::: 1, the voicemail server will load the temporary voicemai! message IB.

16, The method according to claim 15, wherein the remotely based media server will play the temporary voicem&il message to the caller,

17, The method according to claim 16, wherein the event that fee phone number has the temporary flag = 0. the voieemali server will revert back to and play the primary voicemail greeting to the caller,

18. A method tor creating and transmitting a temporary voicemail greeting comprising the steps of: tπaintahiiog a primary voicemail greeting on a communication device; recording a temporary voicemai! greeting on the communication device; storing fee temporary voicemail greeting on the communication device; transmitting the temporary voicemail greeting to a media server located remotely from the communication device and; storing the temporary voiceraaii greeting on the remotely located communication device for a predetermined amount of time; communicating the temporary voiceraai! greeting until the predetermined activity; and

44-

communicating the primary voicemail greeting after the predetermined activity.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the predetermined activity comprises manually canceling the temporary voicemail greeting or deleting the temporary voicemail greeting.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein the communication device is a cell phone or a personal digital assistant

21. The method of claim 18, wherein the communication device is a computer.

22. The method of claim 18, wherein the voicemail greeting comprises a voice message or a video message,

23. The method of claim 18, wherein the remotely based media server is a voicemaii server or a computer.

Description:

TEMPORARY VOϊCEMAIL GREETING FOR CELLULAR PHONES; INSTANT

AWAY MESSA(JING

Cross-Reference To Related Applications

|00011 The present application claims the benefit of United States Provisional Patent Application 60/818 J 14. filed June 30, 2006, the entirety of which, is hereby

incorporated by reference

TechMJgLIIllii

[8002] The present invention relates to wireless telecommunication systems and, more particularly, to voicemaif platforms incorporated into these systems that provide

voic email greetings.

Background Qf The Inveatioa fOW3] Over the last decade, voicemaϋ has remained one of the staples of wireless communication between parties. Generally, a voicemail system provides a caller the ability to leave a message to a business or person associated with a number (if sisch recipient is unavailable). Voice messaging systems may be based on a network, or supported through single or multiple telecommunication circuits. [0θD4J Typically, s user or recipient will create voicemail mailbox, which allows messages, to be stored. The messages can normally be deleted and/or modified within the voicemail mailbox at the discretion of the user or recipient. The user or recipient

also has the option of creating an outgoing greeting or voicemail greeting, which states, for example, that such user is unavailable and will return the callers phone call as soon as the user can. The voice message system often times can store more than one outgoing greeting, though only one greeting may be active to respond to a caller at a certain time. Accordingly, when a caller places a call to the user's number and is

forwarded to the voice mailbox (as the user is either not available or unavailable to speak), the voice message system typically plays the outgoing greeting. [OθOSj As staled above, conventional voice message systems typically provide users the ability to manage their greetings for the purpose of providing a personalized outgoing greeting to incoming callers, In today's society, however, individual consumer needs have began to vary greatly across the wireless industry, with certain customers demanding greater control over their wireless experience. In this regard, conventional voiceraail systems lack the flexibly and personalization that consumers have demanded from other aspects of their mobile phone.

(0006] While the ability to personalize one ' s voiceraaii greeting is very useful to many consumers, it remains exceedingly cumbersome change one's personal voicemail greeting quickly or in a short amount of time. Typically, after dialing into a wireless carrier's user voiesmail box. the user must enter a personal password before being directed to voicemaii box itself. Once the user has successfully dialed into his voicemai! box, the user must follow an extensive series of voicemail prompts and/or protocols before the user is able to record and save a new persona! greeting. This process is highly cumbersome for the consumer and can typically take up to 45 seconds for a user who is familiar with the intricacies of the voicemail box program, and possibly much longer for someone who is not. in addition, the user generally records over the prior greeting to replace it with a new greeting. Many times the user cannot

return to the prior greeting as it has been erased; thus, the user has to record a new- greeting simitar to the original greeting,

|IMMI7J Recently, some carriers have the ability to record a personal greeting to & specific caller or group of callers. This process is correlated with the caller line

identification (CLI), In this specific instance, the voicemaii system correlates or links a predetermined personal greeting to a specific CLi ' . In other words, the voicemaii system can play a personalized voicemaii greeting with respect to a specific caller ID. The user, however, must take the time to create individual voicemaii sreetinαs for each caller ID or group of caller IDs.

|θMWj An example of a voicemaii management service is Smart Call, utilized by Comverse Technology. After viewing the caller's name or number on their mobile handset or PC, users can choose to take the call; forward it to another number; redirect Ii to voicemai! for message screening; send a canned SMS response; or let the call ring

through to the wireline phone.

|0009| There still remains a need, however, for more personalization of voicemaii greeting, especially in situations where the user Is in a rush or does not have the time to

record multiple personalized greetings.

Sam mar pjjfø ;g . !»>' e ntion jθθiθj The present invention relates to a system and method which enables mobile users with the ability to create customizable, temporary voicemaii greetings and

transmit such greeting to a voicemaii server.

[§0111 According to one specific embodiment, the present invention provides a cellular phone with the ability to record a personal voicemaii greeting and store it within a memory database residing In the cellular phone. Multiple voicemaii greetings can he stored in this fashion, enabling a user to organize, edit and select a specific voicemaii greeting at will, and also to transmit it to and store it on. a voicemaii server. [00 ϊ 2] One defining characteristic of an embodiment of the present invention, involves the user's ability to select an individual voicemaii greeting to bε saved os a voicemaii

server for a predetermined or limited amount of time. This act of customization can. be described as creating a temporary voicemail greeting. The primary purpose for this option is to allow consumers to instant!)' customize their personal voieemai! greetings in order to communicate their status while they are away from their cellular phone or

otherwise unavailable or unwilling to take a call,

[0013] Tlύs idea is analogous to an "away message" while the user or recipient in unavailable. Furthermore, the function of a cellular phone contact list is almost identical to the function of an instant messaging '"buddy list." Its primary purpose is to facilitate communication by providing a list of names through which one user can contact another user. These similarities between people's interactions on instant messaging programs and their cellular phones present a very strong indication of user

adaptability and popularity.

Brief jDescTiption Of The Drawings

J00J.4J The invention is herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed thai the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invenύon. only, and are presented in order to provide what is believed to be a useful and readily understandable description of the invention.

[0015] FKJ, I is a flow chart illustrating the interaction between the celfuhr phone and the voicemail server, specifically relating to the temporary vofcεrnaii greeting edit, save and storage process. fO016] FiG, 2 shows the screen displays for the temporary voicemaϋ greeting edit page. [0017| FIG. 3 shows the screen display for the temporary vokemaii greeting homepage.

[00181 ^O. 4 is a flow chart illustrating how the voicεmaii server will query a database and process the temporary voicemail greetings.

[00191 ^G- 3 is a flow chart illustrating the interaction between an incoming call to a cellular phone with an active temporary voicemail greeting and the voicemail sewer.

[0(12HJ FIG, 6 is a flow chart illustrating the expiration process of temporary voiceraaU greetings from the voicemail server. fOC)2l| FIG. 7 is a diagram illustrating the away message indicator on the cellular phone home page.

Detailed Ijtescriptitm <tf the tinentiea

}Oθ22J The present invention provides an application to be used on the preexisting voiceniaii technology platform of a cellular service provider. By utilizing this present invention, users will be able to interact with their voicemail system hi a way which is currently unavailable to them. In one embodiment, the present invention, enables a. user or recipient to instantly record a temporary voieemail greeting on their cellular phone, customize it to such user or recipient's needs, optionally temporarily save the voicemail greeting on the user ' s cell phone database, and transmit and save it to a voieemail

server.

|Oθ23| While the idea of customizable greetings has already been developed, the application, of the disclosed embodiments differs greatly from the CLI based technology m many πiateπal respects. First, the act of recording the temporary voicemail greeting can he customizable to the user ' s preference and can have no correlation to the CLI of the calling party. The temporary voicemail greeting is a universal voicemai! greeting for a particular voieemail box until it becomes inactive or deactivated and is replaced by

another vokεmail greeting. Secondly, the act of recording the temporary voicemail greeting occurs before the calling process,

[θ0241 The operation of the temporary voicemail greeting system according to the present invention may be better understood with reference to the drawings and

accompanying descriptions.

|0025) Before explaining the present invention in detail, it is understood that the Invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and arrangement of parts illustrated in the accompanying drawings, since the invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also. Ii is

understood that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of

description and not of limitation.

[00261 Reference is now made to FIG. 1 which is a diagram illustrating the basic structure of the temporary voicemail greeting save and storage process. In one embodiment, trie user records one or several temporary voicemail greetings on the user's cell phone. The temporary voicemail greeting can be stored locally or on the eel! phone's temporary memory. Preferably, the user presses a single button on the user ' s

cellular phone, which instantly enables the user to record one temporary voicemail greeting. Before recording, the user can hear a message similar to. "Please record your away message after the beep, " Following the prompt, the user speaks into the cellular phone and records a temporary' voicemail greeting. After the user hits finished recording the temporary voicemail greeting, he has the option to either accept or reject lhe greeting. If the user decides to accept and save the temporary voicemail greeting, he will automatically be forwarded to an interface described herein as the temporary voicemail greeting edit page, from which he is able to edit the temporary voicemail

greeting more precisely. If the user decides to cancel and reject the temporary voicemail greeting, he will automatically be routed back and asked to record another temporary vokemaii greeting. Such a process can be repeated for several temporary voicemaii greetings.

|0027| Reference is now made to FIG. 2 which illustrates the temporary voicemaii

greeting edit page which the user will be forwarded to after accepting his temporary voicemail greeting. This edit page will provide the user with a number of different options to customize his temporary voicemail greeting. These options include but are not limited to choosing an applicable title to the temporary voiceraaif greeting; the time that the temporary voicemail greeting will commence; the time that ihe temporary voicemaii greeting will terminate; the frequency with which the temporary voicemail greeting will be played and the active status of the temporary voicemaii greeting. In

order to facilitate this process, each of these options will have the following default settings; ihe title set to blank; the commencement time set to the current time; the termination time set to one hour subsequent to the current time; the frequency set to once; and the active status set to on. It is understood, however, that it can also comprise any combination of the above or any additional desired options, [§028f When choosing the frequency of the temporary voicemaii greeting, the user can choose from a number or different options including, Once, Daily, Monday-Friday Calendar and the like. In the event thai UIQ user selects the Calendar option, an interactive calendar will appear. This function will allow the user to highlight and select a specific day, or group of days when the temporary voicemaii greeting -will be

active.

|θO29| Oneε the user has customized the temporary voicemaii greeting to his

specifications, the user can accept and save the temporary voicemaii greeting in the cell phone ' s local memory. Reference is now made back to FIG. 1 which illustrates the next step in the information flow, wherein the temporary voicerasi! greeting is saved and stored on the user's cellular phone and displayed on an interface described herein as the temporary voicemaii greeting homepage.

|8θ3θJ Barring a lapse in cellular service, the cellular phone will simultaneously transmit all of the information enclosed within the temporary voicemaii greeting to a voicemaii server. This information includes, but is not limited to, the temporary voicemaii greeting itself, a unique message ID 5 the starting time, the ending time, the frequency and/or other desired information. This process wilϊ only commence if the active status of the temporary voicemaii greeting is set to on. In the event that the

active status is set to off, the temporary voicemaii greeting will remained stored in the temporary voicemaii greeting homepage of the cellular phone until further use. [0031] Once the voicemaii server has received the temporary voicemaii greeting, a confirmation message will be sent back to the cellular phone and the temporary voicemaii greeting will be stored in the voicemaii database until further notice. The voice-mail box will store the temporary voicemaii greeting using a specific ID number

that is correlated to the specific user's cellular phone number and the order in which the temporary voicemai! greeting was stored on the user's cellular phone, A hypothetical example of an ID number would be 1 :4018626811 :02 where the first digit represents the user's country code, the middle ten digits represent the user's telephone number and the last tvrø digits represent the order in which the temporary voicemaii greeting was saved on that individual user's cellular phone.

|Oθ32) O.ncε the cellular phone has received confirmation, of the temporary voicemail greeting, an away message Indicator, referenced in FIG. 7 will be displayed on the cellular phone home page. The away message indicator will remain present on the cellular phone home page until the temporary voicetnail greeting has expired. This indicator can he in the form of a text or visual display, as chosen by ths user, [00331 Reference is now made to FIG. 3 which illustrates the temporary voicemail greeting homepage. In order to provide instant access to this homepage, in one preferred embodiment, the user is able Io press and hold the same button which he used to record his temporary voieemaii greeting. The temporary voice-mail greeting homepage will provide the user with an overview of all of his temporary voieemaii greetings. From this page, the user lias the ability to view the active status of his temporary voicemail greetings; organize his temporary voicemail greetings; edit the specifications of a selected temporary voicemail greeting, play a selected temporary voicemail greeting or re-record over a selected temporary voicemail greeting. Each of these options can be available through an option key located in this interface. This interface can be capable of automatically listing all of the previously saved temporary voicemail greetings by the date that they were last saved; but the user will have the option to organize his temporary voicemail greetings in a number of different ways including; date saved, title, date used and most used. Lastly, the user may be able to view the amount space utilized by his temporary voicemail greetings and view it as a function of the total amount of space allocated for temporary voieemaii greetings, which will inevitably vary from one cellular phone to the next. |0034] This interlace also allows the user to view the active time interval and the frequency of a specific temporary voicemail greeting by scrolling over a designated

greeting. If the user chooses to edit a specific temporary voicεmail greeting on the homepage, he can either select a scrolled upon greeting, or select the option key and edit a scrolled upon greeting. ' This can return him back to the temporary voicerøail greeting edit page.

|0035] Reference is now made to FIG. 4 which illustrates the first step wherein the

server processes a stored temporary voiceraail greeting, At the beginning of every minute, the server will query the temporary voicemail database, and determines whether or not there are any temporary voicemail greetings commencing. In the event that the server finds a temporary voicenia.il greeting commencing that minute, the sever will

attribute a temporary flag 1 for the correlated phone number associated with the temporary voicemai) greeting, the temporary voicemail greeting message I.D, the frequency of use and the expiration date and time. It is understood however, that the server query can be preformed in any desired time period including but not limited to every 60 seconds, ever}' 30 seconds, every 120 seconds, and the like. [0036] In the event that the frequency of the temporary voicemail greeting is greater than "once 5' , the server will create a new entry for the next pending message time, before deleting the original database entry. If the frequency of the temporary voicemail is set to "once" the server will automatically delete the original database entry once all of the necessary information is saved and flagged.

!®θ37] Reference is now made to FlG. 5 which illustrates the interaction between an incoming call to a cellular phone with an active temporary voicemail greeting and the voicεmai! server, In the event that an incoming call is not answered, the calling party will be forwarded Io a vokemai! server and the server will cheek an array of database entries for that specific phone number. If the phone number has been attributed a flag

- i , tne voicemau server wui ioaa ana piay me associated temporary voicemau greeung io the calling parly. If the phone number has not been attributed a flag ™ I and a primary voicemail greeting has previously been saved, the voicemail server will load and play the primary voicemaiS greeting to the calling party. |Oθ38] Reference is now made to FIG. 6 which illustrates the temporary voieemaϋ greeting expiration process by the voicemail server. The voicemail sewer will iterate through an array of temporary voicemail greetings looking for discrepancies in expiration dates, In this case, a discrepancy is defined as when the current time is greater than the expiration time attributed to a specific temporary voicemail greeting. If the voicemail sewer determines that a specific temporary voicemail greeting fulfills tills criterion, it will delete the array entry associated with the correlated phone number. This process ensures that expired temporary voicemaii greetings will not be played. [θθ39J The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof and, accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims, rather than to the foregoing specification * a.s indicating the scope of the invention.