(12) United States Patent
US006463145B1
(12) United States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
(45) Date of Patent:
O’Neal et al.
(54) COMPUTER-IMPLEMENTED CALL
Oct. 8,2002
Michele Shannon, “The Best Telephone System for Your
FORWARDING OPTIONS AND METHODS
THEREFOR IN A UNIFIED MESSAGING
SYSTEM
75
US 6,463,145 B1
Business May Not Look Like a ‘Phone System’ At All”,
Undated Advertisement, Technology Watch, AltiGen Com
munications, Inc.
International Search Report dated May 09, 2000.
Inventors: SteP hen C. O’Neal, San Francisco, CA
(US); John Jiang, Danville, CA (US)
* cited by examiner
(73) Assignee: Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA
(Us)
(*)
Notice:
Primary Examiner—Ahmad F. Matar
Assistant Examiner—Hector Agdeppa
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Senniger, Powers, Leavitt
U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
& Roedel
(57)
(21) Appl. No.: 09/239,584
(22) Filed:
ABSTRACT
A computer-implemented method for permitting a sub
Jan. 29, 1999
scriber of a call forwarding service to customiZe call for
(51)
(52)
Int. Cl.7 .......................... .. H04M 3/42; H04M 7/00
US. Cl. ........................... .. 379/211.02; 379/201.12;
warding parameters associated with the call forwarding
service. The call forwarding service being con?gured to
379/221.01
(58)
Field of Search ............................... .. 379/201, 210,
permit the subscriber to specify whether a call received at a
telephone number associated with a given account of the call
forwarding service be forwarded to a forwarding telephone
number. The call forwarding parameters includes a call
379/211, 212, 219, 220, 221; 709/229;
455/461
(56)
forwarding enable option and the forwarding telephone
number. The method includes providing a subscriber com
References Cited
munication pro?le database. The subscriber communication
pro?le database has therein the account pertaining to the
subscriber. The account includes the call forwarding param
eters for the subscriber. The method further includes visually
displaying the call forwarding parameters on a display
terminal coupled to a data-centric network, using a computer
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,837,798 A
4,850,008 A
*
6/1989 Cohen et a1. ............... .. 379/88
7/1989 Berg et a1. ...... ..
358/400
5,467,390 A
* 11/1995 Brankley et a1. .
379/229
5,608,786 A
*
3/1997
Gordon ............. ..
370/352
5,610,910 A
5,729,599 A
5,742,905 A
*
*
*
3/1997 Focsaneanu et a1. .
3/1998 Plomondon et al. .
4/1998 Pepe et a1. ......... ..
370/351
379/211
379/210
5,828,666 A
* 10/1998 Focsaneanu et a1. ...... .. 370/389
5,870,549 A
2/1999 Bobo, II .............. .. 395/20036
5,892,819 A
4/1999 Stumer
379/211
5,915,008 A *
6/1999 Dulman
379/201
5,958,016 A
9/1999 Chang et a1. ..
709/229
6,014,379 A
1/2000 White et a1.
370/389
6,185,288 B1 *
2/2001
*
server coupled to exchange data with the subscriber com
munication pro?le database, when the subscriber employs
the display terminal to access the account. There is also
included receiving from the subscriber via the display ter
minal a ?rst change to the call forwarding parameters. The
?rst change to the call forwarding parameters pertains to at
least one of the call forwarding enable option and the
forwarding telephone number. Further, there is included
Wong ....................... .. 379/219
updating the ?rst change to the account in the subscriber
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
communication pro?le database, wherein subsequent calls to
the given account are handled in accordance with parameters
Jfax.com —Fax, voice mail, email, downloaded from
present in the subscriber communication pro?le database
after the update.
www.jfax.com on Dec. 18, 1998.
General Magic/Portico —what it is, overview, features,
MagicTalk Technology, network operations, FAQs, down
35 Claims, 7 Drawing Sheets
loaded from www.genmagic.com on Dec. 18. 1998.
use
m
MUN? 15 w
HOUTE can
Mlxnnn Nil
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 1
U.S. Patent
0a. 8,2002
Sheet 1 0f 7
US 6,463,145 B1
im
N8:35\%X
52%;
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 2
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 3
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 4
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 5
U.S. Patent
0a. 8,2002
Sheet 5 0f 7
US 6,463,145 B1
(31E)
FIG. 5
V
SUBSCRIBER'S
ASSIGNED PHONE \
NUMBER IS DIALED
502
TELEPHONY sERvER \
OBTAINS DNIS
504
Y
TELEPHONY SERVER LOOKS
UP COMMUNICATION OPTION
506
\
SETTINGS IN DATABASE
sERvER
ROUTE CALL
ACCORDINGLY
50s \ A
HANDLE CALL IN
PIALOG'C BOARD
NO
LISTENS FOR FAX 0R
KEY D'G'T
YES
YES
FAX
516
ACCORDANCE WITH
C0|v|N|uN|CAT|DN OPTION
SETTINGS
COMMUNICATION
OPTION SETTINGS
KEYED DICIT
HANDLE KEYED DIGITS IN
/
’
ACCORDANCE WITH
510
HANDLE FAX ||\]
514
ACCORDANCE WITH
'
CD|v||v|uN|CAT|0N J
DPT|DN sETT|NCs
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 6
U.S. Patent
0a. 8,2002
SUBSCRIBER
AGGESSES UNIFIED
MESSAGING
x
SYSTEM WEB SITE
US 6,463,145 B1
Sheet 6 0f 7
614
602
SUBSCRIBER SAVES
THE MODIFIED
COMMUNICATION
OPTION SETTINGS
MB SERVER SEBvES \
UP LOGIN PAGE
604
V
SUBSCRIBER ID IS
ENTERED AT THE
LOGIN PAGE
I
WEB SERVER COMPARES
SUBSCRIBER ID WITH
SUBSCRIBER ACCOUNT
AUTHENTICATION DATA IN
THE DATABASE SERVER
SUBSCRIBER MODIFIES
COMMUNICATION
OPTION SETTINGS
606
610 \
ASSUMING
AUTHENTICATION IS
OK
\
T
GRAPHICAL MENU OF
COMMUNICATION OPTIONS
IS SERVED UP TO THE
SUBSCRIBER
608
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 7
U.S. Patent
Oct. 8,2002
Sheet 7 0f 7
US 6,463,145 B1
FIG. 7
START
\
HANDLE CALL IN \
ACCORDANCE WITH
I
HANDLE CALL IN
ACCORDANCE WITH
YES
COMMUNICATION
OPTION SETTINGS
OTHER COMMUNICATION
OPTIONS
(STEP 510, FIG. 5)
716 _/
f";
704
ARE
OTHER
15 CALL
FORWARDING
OPTION
718
/
+< COMMUNICATION
OPTIONS
CALL TO FORWARDED
NUMBER
‘
—
NO
I
IT'EEEXTENSUSTESSFNFE;
ROUTE CALL
ACCORDINGLY
TELEPHONY SERVER
INFORMS CALLER OF
FAILURE
I
__V
CALLER SENT TO
VOICE MAIL
708
IS
OUTGOING CALL
SUCCESSFU LLY
CONNECTED?
TELEPHONY SERVER
CONNECTS THE
\~ 710
INCOMING CALL WITH
THE SUCCESSFUL
OUTGOING CALL TO
COMPLETE END-TO-END
CONNECTION
v
712
CALL
FORWARDED
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 8
US 6,463,145 B1
1
2
COMPUTER-IMPLEMENTED CALL
FORWARDING OPTIONS AND METHODS
THEREFOR IN A UNIFIED MESSAGING
SYSTEM
World use the data-centric netWork to retrieve information,
communicate and conduct business globally, and access a
vast array of services and resources on-line. In a similar
manner, the telephony-centric netWork (Whether Wired or
Wireless) may also be thought of as another global netWork
that connects the millions of telephony devices (such as
voice-oriented telephones, pagers, facsimile machines,
voice mail boxes, and the like) together in such a Way that
RELATED APPLICATIONS
The following commonly-oWned, co-pending patent
applications are related and are incorporated herein by
reference.
app. Ser. No. 09/239,560, ?led Jan. 29, 1999, entitled
a user at one of the telephony devices can readily transmit
10
“INTEGRATED MESSAGE STORAGE AND
RETRIEVAL SYSTEM DISTRIBUTED OVER A
LARGE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA”;
app. Ser. No. 09/240,367, ?led Jan. 29, 1999, entitled “A
In the past, these tWo netWorks existed as separate
15
BROWSER”;
20
25
“INTERACTIVE BILLING SYSTEM UTILIZING A
THIN WEB CLIENT INTERFACE”;
app. Ser. No. 09/240,368, ?led Jan. 29, 1999, entitled “A
30
pager service provider. A voice mail box is essentially a
service that alloWs one person to temporarily store telephone
messages for retrieval by another. E-mail services alloW
40
app. Ser. No. 09/239,589, ?led Jan. 29, 1999, entitled
45
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to communication services
available via a data-centric netWork (i.e., a netWork that
50
for that alloW a subscriber of various communication ser
55
noWadays, people are constantly on the move from one
location to another. It is not uncommon for people to Work
at multiple sites such as the home and the office. Even When
may Wish to forWard voice calls made to his home or office
telephone numbers to his cellular telephone or hotel tele
To accomplish the above in the current art, the person in
Both the data-centric netWork (e.g., a distributed com
60
that connects millions of computer terminals all over the
World in such a Way that digitiZed information can be
exchanged irrespective of the different hardWare and soft
be elaborated further for the sake of brevity.
Generally speaking, most of these devices and services
have many options associated With hoW they function. These
options alloW a user specialiZed functionality. One particular
option is call forWarding. Call forWarding refers to the
ability to reroute calls originally destined for one telephone
to a different telephone. Call forWarding is desired since
phone.
puter network) and the telephony-centric netWork (e.g.,
public telephone netWork) have existed for some time.
Broadly speaking, the data-centric netWork (such as the
Internet) may be thought of as a global computer netWork
e-mail users to transmit and receive data from computer
terminals connected to the data-centric netWork. All these
devices and services are Well knoWn in the art and Will not
people are mobile, it is important that they remain in the
communication loop. For example, a person Who travels
invention relates to a centraliZed facility and methods there
vices to revieW and customiZe his communication options,
in an interactive and simpli?ed manner, via either the
data-centric netWork or the telephony-centric netWork.
facsimile machines, electronic mail (e-mail), pagers, voice
mail, and the like. Generally speaking, a telephone is a
receive data, and in some cases transmit limited data to a
PENDENT MESSAGING NOTIFICATION”;
app. Ser. No. 09/240,436, ?led Jan. 29, 1999, entitled
carries digital data) and a telephony-centric netWork (i.e., a
netWork that carries telephony information such as voice,
fax, pager, and the like). More particularly, the present
munication devices that currently exist.
By Way of example, there exist many different commu
nication device to transmit and receive graphical data. A
pager is a highly portable device that alloWs its user to
“APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR DEVICE INDE
“VOICE ACCESS THROUGH A DATA-CENTRIC
NETWORK TO AN INTEGRATED MESSAGE
STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM”.
in the various different communication services and com
speech and other sounds. A facsimile machine is a commu
INDEPENDENT INITIATION OF TELEPHONY”;
app. Ser. No. 09/240,435, ?led Jan. 29, 1999, entitled
MESSAGING”;
more of the services traditionally offered through the
telephony-centric netWork are being offered in a digital
format by the data-centric netWork, the distinction betWeen
the data-centric netWork and the telephony-centric netWork
begins to blur. Irrespective of Whether these tWo netWorks
exist as separate netWorks physically or conceptually going
forWard, the legacies of their separate existence can be seen
communication device employed to transmit and receive
“METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR NETWORK
“APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CHANNEL
TRANSPARENT MULTIMEDIA BROADCAST
analog teltphony-centric netWork, starting With the telegraph
nication devices and services available today to alloW a
person to communicate to another person, e.g., telephones,
SYSTEM AND METHOD TO MANAGE PHONE
SOURCED MESSAGES”;
app. Ser. No. 09/240,434, ?led Jan. 29, 1999, entitled
only netWork that has been available to the masses is the
netWork of the nineteenth century. HoWever, as more and
US. Pat. No. 6,263,064, issued Jul. 17, 2001, entitled
SYSTEM AND METHODS THEREFOR”;
app. Ser. No. 09/240,893, ?led Jan. 29, 1999, entitled
graphic boundaries.
domains. This is because the Widely accessible data-centric
netWork is a fairly recent phenomenon. For decades, the
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING UNI
FIED MESSAGING TO A USER WITH ATHIN WEB
“CENTRALIZED COMMUNICATION CONTROL CEN
TER FOR VISUALLY AND AUDIBLY UPDATING COM
MUNICATION OPTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH COM
MUNICATION SERVICES OF A UNIFIED MESSAGING
information to other telephony devices irrespective of geo
65
the above example Would, for example, enter a code (e.g.,
*72) at the telephone from Which the forWarding is done,
folloWed by the forWarded number. When an incoming call
is made to the telephone number associated With the tele
phone from Which the forWarding is done, it is routed to the
outgoing number entered after the code. To undo the call
forWarding, the user typically needs to be at the telephone
Ware platforms that may be utiliZed to gain access to the
from Which the forWarding Was done to enter another code
data-centric netWork. People and businesses around the
to cancel the call forWarding (e.g., *75). To change the
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 9
US 6,463,145 B1
3
4
forwarded number to another forwarded number, the user
forwarding parameters on a display terminal coupled to a
also typically needs to be at the telephone from which the
forwarding is done in order to cancel the forwarding as
data-centric network when the subscriber employs the dis
play terminal to access the computer-implemented control
center. The computer server also is con?gured to receive
from the subscriber via the display terminal a ?rst change to
above, and re-enter the code for call forwarding (e.g., *72),
plus enter the new forwarding telephone number.
The requirement that the user be present at the telephone
from which forwarding is done in order to initiate, cancel, or
the call forwarding parameters and to update the ?rst change
to the account in the subscriber communication pro?le
database, wherein subsequent calls to the given account are
handled in accordance with parameters present in the sub
change the call forwarding options has its disadvantages. By
way of example, the user oftentimes may wish to perform
the initiation, cancellation, or changing of the call forward
ing option from the road but may be unable to do so due to
the geographic distance from the telephone set from which
10
The invention relates, in another embodiment, to a
computer-implemented method for permitting a subscriber
of a call forwarding service to customiZe call forwarding
parameters associated with the call forwarding service. The
forwarding originates. Furthermore, the user may sometimes
not be able to access any telephone at all (due to the lack of
a telephony-centric network, for example). In this case, it
scriber communication pro?le database after the update.
15
has not been possible for the user to edit the call forwarding
call forwarding service being con?gured to permit the
subscriber to specify whether a call received at a telephone
number associated with a given account of the call forward
options.
ing service be forwarded to a forwarding telephone number.
The call forwarding parameters includes a call forwarding
Another disadvantage with current call forwarding is that
if the forwarded call may not connect, the call is lost. This
is especially unwelcome when the forwarded party has an
enable option and the forwarding telephone number. The
answering machine or voicemail set-up and the forwarding
method includes providing a subscriber communication pro
party does not.
Another disadvantage is that the user has to memoriZe
?le database. The subscriber communication pro?le data
base has therein the account pertaining to the subscriber. The
account includes the call forwarding parameters for the
and/or keep track of the codes used for doing call forward
ing. A busy user might not bother to learn or memoriZe all
25
the codes and would rather suffer the possibility of missing
subscriber. The method further includes visually displaying
the call forwarding parameters on a display terminal coupled
out on some messages than keep track of the codes and
current forwarded numbers. In this case, the communication
services that he owns are not employed to their fullest
to a data-centric network, using a computer server coupled
potential.
to access the account. There is also included receiving from
the subscriber via the display terminal a ?rst change to the
to eXchange data with the subscriber communication pro?le
database, when the subscriber employs the display terminal
Also, another disadvantage is that the user cannot set
non-fax call forwarding on without also turning faX
forwarding on. This is because current call forwarding
schemes do not distinguish between a faX call and any other
calls (e.g., voice calls) for the purpose of forwarding. This
is particularly problematic when the forwarding number has
call forwarding parameters. The ?rst change to the call
forwarding parameters pertains to at least one of the call
forwarding enable option and the forwarding telephone
35
to the account in the subscriber communication pro?le
database, wherein subsequent calls to the given account are
handled in accordance with parameters present in the sub
no faX receiving capability while the forwarded number has.
Yet another disadvantage is that every time the number
scriber communication pro?le database after the update.
code is used, the telephone company (telco) charges the user.
These and other features of the present invention will be
described in more detail below in the detailed description of
For eXample, if the user selects *72 ?ve times in one day, the
telephone company will charge the user ?ve times.
In view of the forgoing there are desired improved tech
niques for allowing a user of communication services to
review and customiZe the call forwarding options associated
number. Further, there is included updating the ?rst change
the invention and in conjunction with the following ?gures.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
45
with these services in a simpli?ed, convenient and cost
The present invention is illustrated by way of eXample,
and not by way of limitation, in the ?gures of the accom
panying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer
effective manner.
to similar elements and in which:
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates, in one embodiment, to a computer
implemented control center for permitting a subscriber of a
uni?ed messaging system to customiZe call forwarding
parameters associated with a call forwarding service. The
call forwarding service is con?gured to permit the subscriber
to specify whether a call received at a telephone number
55
the computer-implemented control center, representing the
visual display panel for displaying the communication
associated with a given account of the uni?ed messaging
system be forwarded to a forwarding telephone number. The
call forwarding parameters includes a call forwarding enable
options pertaining to a particular subscriber on a computer
display screen.
option and the forwarding telephone number. The computer
FIG. 4 shows the communication options in greater detail,
implemented control center includes a subscriber commu
in accordance with one embodiment of the present inven
tion.
FIG. 5 is a How diagram depicting, in one embodiment,
the relevant steps of a computer-implemented process for
nication pro?le database. The subscriber communication
pro?le database has therein the account pertaining to the
subscriber. The account includes the call forwarding param
eters for the subscriber. The computer-implemented control
center includes a computer server coupled to eXchange data
with the subscriber communication pro?le database. The
computer server is con?gured to visually display the call
FIG. 1 depicts, in one embodiment, the general overview
of the uni?ed message system.
FIG. 2 illustrates, in one embodiment, how the 48 tele
phone lines provided per T1 link may be divided among the
sub-servers of the telephony server.
FIG. 3, in one embodiment, the user interface portion of
65
handling access to the uni?ed messaging system through the
telephony-centric network by a subscribing or a non
subscribing caller.
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 10
US 6,463,145 B1
5
6
FIG. 6 is a How diagram depicting, in one embodiment,
the relevant steps of a computer implemented process for
handling access to the uni?ed messaging system through a
computer netWork by a subscriber.
FIG. 7 is a How diagram depicting, in one embodiment,
the relevant steps of a computer-implemented process for
handling the routing of call forWarding in a uni?ed messag
ing. By Way of example, a user is able to check Whether it
is enabled, verify the forWarding number, select a number
from a preprogrammed list, add a neW number to a prepro
grammed list, or enter a temporary number. As mentioned,
this option can be revieWed or modi?ed by a properly
authenticated subscriber of the uni?ed messaging service
through any suitable computer or telephone irrespective of
the geographic location from Which the accessing and/or
ing system.
modi?cations are made.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED
EMBODIMENTS
10
In the aforementioned co-pending patent applications
entitled “INTEGRATED MESSAGE STORAGE AND
RETRIEVAL SYSTEM DISTRIBUTED OVER A LARGE
The present invention Will noW be described in detail With
reference to a feW preferred embodiments thereof and as
illustrated in the accompanying draWings. In the folloWing
description, numerous speci?c details are set forth in order
GEOGRAPHICAL AREA” (app. Ser. No. 09/239,560, ?led
Jan. 29, 1999), and “A SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR
15
PROVIDING UNIFIED MESSAGING TO A USER WITH
20
ATHIN WEB BROWSER (app. Ser. No. 09/240,367, ?led
Jan. 29, 1999), Which are all incorporated herein by
reference, some inventive uni?ed messaging services and
their various features are disclosed. Although the present
invention may be implemented on any uni?ed messaging
to provide a thorough understanding of the present inven
tion. It Will be obvious, hoWever, to one skilled in the art,
that the present invention may be practiced Without some or
all of these speci?c details. In other instances, Well knoWn
process steps have not been described in detail in order not
to unnecessarily obscure the present invention.
In accordance With one aspect of the present invention,
there is provided a computer-implemented control center
Which is coupled to the data-centric netWork and the
system, reference may be made to the above-mentioned
co-pending patent applications for details pertaining to pref
25
telephony-centric netWork, and Which alloWs a user to
access, using either a telephone or a computer, the commu
nication options associated With the various communication
services of a uni?ed messaging service. Unlike the prior art
approach Which requires the user to contact individual
erable uni?ed messaging systems on Which the present
invention may be implemented.
In general terms, a uni?ed messaging system bene?ts a
user by integrating various communication services, Which
up to noW have existed as separate services. The integration
facilitates simpli?ed management, billing, and more impor
tantly the routing of messages among the various services.
30
service providers/accounts and/or to access individual com
munication devices to revieW and change the communica
With a uni?ed messaging service, a user may, for example,
specify that an incoming facsimile be forWarded to a com
puter for vieWing or to a printer for printing, listen to e-mail
tion options associated thereWith, the computer
messages through a telephone, receive pager noti?cation
implemented control center alloWs the communication
options associated With the various communication services
to be accessed substantially all at once. That is, the
computer-implemented control center provides a single cen
When a facsimile is received, or the like. Within limits, a
35
uni?ed messaging system alloWs messages to be received,
stored, retrieved, and/or forWarded (in the original format or
in a different/abbreviated format) Without regard to the
communication devices and/or netWorks (i.e., data-centric
vs. telephony-centric) employed for the transmission of the
40
messages.
A uni?ed messaging system implemented on a data
tral facility through Which the communication option set
tings associated With the different communication services
may be revieWed and/or modi?ed.
In accordance With one aspect of the present invention,
the communication options, Which include the options asso
centric netWork takes the uni?ed messaging system concept
a step further by internally storing and manipulating the
messages in a digital format irrespective of Whether the
ciated With individual communication services as Well as
routings among the different individual communication
services, are accessible using either a computer netWork
interface (e.g., a Web page) or a telephone netWork interface
45
analog format. As is Well knoWn, digital formatting
(e.g., via a telephone). The communication option settings
themselves do not reside With individual communication
devices or require access through a particular communica
tion device (such as With the assigned facsimile machines or
increases the ?exibility With Which information contained in
the messages can be analyZed, stored, manipulated, and/or
routed among the various communication devices. More
50
telephones discussed earlier). Rather, the communication
importantly, the implementation of the uni?ed messaging
system on a data-centric netWork permits the subscriber to
access his account through any computer or telephone
option settings are centraliZed Within the universally acces
sible computer-implemented control center and can be uti
liZed to properly control the communication options asso
ciated With the various services and to facilitate control of
message Was received and/or Will be sent in the digital or
irrespective of the geographic location from Which the
55
the routings therebetWeen. More importantly, they can be
revieWed and modi?ed by a properly authenticated sub
scriber of the uni?ed messaging service through any suitable
computer or telephone irrespective of the geographic loca
tion from Which the accessing and/or modi?cations are
made.
In accordance With yet another aspect of the present
invention, the communication options Which are revieWable
and editable through any suitable computer or telephone
60
include a call forWarding option. The call forWarding option
65
accessing and/or modi?cations are made.
To facilitate discussion, FIG. 1 depicts, in accordance
With one embodiment of the present invention, the general
overvieW of a uni?ed message system 101. With reference
to FIG. 1, there is shoWn a user computer 100, representing
a computer that may be employed to access and/or modify
the communication options associated With the communi
cation services offered by the uni?ed messaging system.
Although user computer 100 is shoWn to be a desktop
personal computer (such as an Intel-based personal
computer), user computer 100 may in fact represent any
enables a user to reroute calls from one telephone to another.
computing device capable of accessing the data-centric
netWork (represented by reference 102 in FIG. 1). By Way of
A user is able to revieW or modify features of call forWard
example, user computer 100 may represent a laptop
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 11
US 6,463,145 B1
7
8
computer, which may access the data-centric network either
authentication data may be stored in the database server.
through wired connections or in a wireless manner. As
Subscriber authentication may be accomplished using sev
eral techniques. For example, a numeric password, an alpha
numeric password, a hidden code wherein the password is
randomly hidden in a string (i.e., xxxppppxx, xppppxxxx,
another example, user computer 100 may represent a per
sonal digital assistant (PDA) or a palm-top computer, or a
thin-client type computer.
etc.) and biometrics (e.g., retina scans, hand prints, palm
Data-centric network 102 may represent any computer
network which couples together users from geographically
dispersed locations. In a preferred embodiment, data-centric
prints, ?nger prints, voice recognition, etc.).
A web server 122 is employed to facilitate interaction
between uni?ed messaging system 101 and data-centric
network 102 represents the Internet, although data-centric
network 102 may also represent a Wide Area Network
(WAN), a Local Area Network (LAN), a Virtual Private
10
with the user’s computer via the data-centric network) and
is employed, for example, to present to user computer 100
Network (VPN) or any similarly suitable networking
arrangement that allows users to log in from a remote
terminal.
With reference to FIG. 1, there is shown data link 104,
15
word procedure or another suitable authentication
procedure), web server 122 then communicates with data
base server 120 to obtain the current communication option
settings for that subscriber and to display the current com
munication option settings and an individualiZed web page
to the subscriber for review.
In one preferred embodiment, web server 122 is
employed to store all messages pertaining to a particular
data-centric network 102. In a preferred embodiment, data
link 104 is implemented by high speed T1 data lines,
although other types of data lines such as ?ber optics may
also be employed. A network interface system 105 couples
data link 104 to the remainder of uni?ed messaging system
Network interface system 105 represents the interface
system that ensures data is properly transmitted and received
between uni?ed messaging system 101 and data-centric
25 subscriber. The messages are stored as ?les in web server
122. These messages may represent, for example, voice
?les, facsimiles, e-mail messages, voice mail messages, or
the like. Pointers in database server 120 facilitate access to
network 102. Of course network interface system 105 may
the stored messages in web server 122. However, it is
contemplated that the messages may be stored in any of the
servers discussed herein and/or in a separate storage device
accessible by the servers.
An e-mail server 124 is employed to process incoming
vary depending on the implementations of the data-centric
network and/or the portion of uni?ed messaging system 101
to which network interface system 105 is coupled.
In the case of the Internet, one current preferred imple
mentation of network interface system 105 may include a
router 106, a hub 108, a DNS (Domain Name System)
facility 110, and a ?rewall 112. Typically, the router 106 is
the log-in screen when a subscriber employs user computer
100 to access the uni?ed messaging service. Once that
subscriber is properly authenticated (e.g., through a pass
representing the high speed data lines for transmitting and
receiving data between uni?ed messaging system 101 and
101, which is shown to include four servers as shown (the
servers are discussed later herein).
network 102. Web server 122 represents one of the system
side servers (i.e., a server that handles the exchange of data
and outgoing e-mail messages. By way of example, e-mail
35
a piece of hardware or software that examines the IP address
server 124 may be employed to format/translate the e-mail
messages so that they can be properly transmitted to other
e-mail systems and understood thereat. For incoming
of data packets and determines the routing of the data
messages, e-mail server 124 may be employed to format/
packets based on the IP address.
Router 106 acts cooperatively with hub 108 and DNS
translate the information transmitted via the incoming e-mail
and to prepare them for use by other data consumers.
facility 110 to permit properly addressed data packets to be
received through ?rewall 112. Router 106, hub 108, DNS
A telephony server 126 is shown coupled between tele
phone link 128 and the remainder of the uni?ed messaging
facility 110, and ?rewall 112 are conventional and will not
be belabored here for the sake of brevity.
system and may include any number of sub-servers, such as
nected to ?rewall 112 and the public telephone network.
mation with the user via the telephony-centric network) and
Typically, a server represents a computer that processes data
is employed to facilitate interaction between uni?ed mes
for use by other data-consumer devices (such as other
servers, computers or any of the communication devices
through a proper interface circuit). There is shown a data
base server 120, which is employed to, among other tasks,
saging system 101 and telephony-centric network 129. Tele
phony server 126 may be employed to, for example, trans
late the telephone signals (such as the dialed digits) into a
digital format for the purpose of authenticating and allowing
organiZe and maintain the subscriber communication pro?le
database. The subscriber communication pro?le database
subscriber access. Telephony server 126 may also be
are shown in FIG. 2. In a manner analogous to web server
At the heart of the uni?ed message system are a set of 45 122, telephony server 126 represents a system-side server
servers which are coupled to exchange data and are con
(i.e., a telephony server that handles the exchange of infor
employed to translate such dialed digits and/or other tele
itself may reside with database server 120 and represents a 55 phone signals (such as a facsimile tones or verbal
data store of subscriber accounts and communication option
settings associated therewith. Incoming messages to a par
ticular subscriber or outgoing messages from that subscriber
are formatted and routed in accordance with the communi
commands) into digital data, which may then be employed
to facilitate handling of messages and/or the communication
option settings. In one embodiment, Dialogic board models
D 240 SC-T1, D 480 SC-1, CP-4/SC, CP-6/SC, and/or
cation option settings stored in the subscriber communica
tion pro?le database. Properly authoriZed changes to the
communication option settings will be re?ected in the com
munication option settings stored in the subscriber commu
nication pro?le database and employed to handle subsequent
messages (whether incoming or outgoing).
CP-12/SC (available from Dialogic Corporation of
Parsippany, N]
the digital data to decide how to handle the message using
65
Subscriber authentication data may be employed to access
to a subscriber communication pro?le database. Subscriber
are employed to facilitate the translation
between telephone signals and digital data. Once translation
is performed, software within telephony server 126 employs
the communication option settings obtained from the sub
scriber communication pro?le database. If the subscriber,
through prede?ned dialing sequences, indicates that he
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 12
US 6,463,145 B1
10
Wishes to review and/or modify the communication option
settings, software Within telephony server 126 operates
handled by an outgoing facsimile server 204. Another tele
phone line may be apportioned for the outgoing paging
cooperatively With database server 120 to affect the change
to the communication option settings. Once the communi
cation option settings are re?ected in the subscriber com
munication pro?le database stored in database server 120,
the neW communication option settings are consulted each
time a message needs to be handled by the uni?ed messaging
system.
Telephony-centric netWork 129 represents any telephone
netWork Which couples together telephony-type communi
cation devices (e.g., facsimile machines, pagers, telephones)
from geographically dispersed locations. By Way of
service, Which is handled by an outgoing pager server 206.
Outgoing voice-mail messages are handled by voice mail
server 208, Which is coupled to another one of the 48
telephone lines of the T1 link as shoWn.
To elaborate, outgoing voicemails are voice messages
sent to a voicemail phone number Which may be created via
the Web or the telephone. Outgoing voicemails may be neW
10
voicemail. For example, When forWarding a voicemail via
the Web, the voicemail may be treated as an attachment to a
speech synthesiZed text message With the recipient address
example, telephony-centric netWork 129 may represent a
plain old telephone system (POTS), a Wired telephone
netWork popularly knoWn as Public Service Telephone Net
as a telephone number. Outgoing voicemail servers may be
15
destination voicemail phone number may be assigned to
send the voicemail via either a circuit-sWitched call or
packet-sWitched call.
Outgoing facsimiles are facsimile messages sent to a
facsimile telephone number Which may be created via the
Web or the telephone. Outgoing facsimiles may be neW
facsimiles, replies to other messages, forWarded as a fac
simile or call-forWarded as a facsimile in Which the system
25
Telephone link 128 represents the telephone communica
tion channels for transmitting and receiving telephone sig
number. Like outgoing voicemail servers, outgoing fac
simile servers may also be geographically distributed. Out
going facsimile servers may communicate With each other
via internet in such a Way that the server nearest to the
employed. Note that there is no requirement that the data
transmitted on telephone link 128 be analog. In fact, With the
destination facsimile telephone number may be assigned to
35
Outgoing pages are paging messages sent to a pager
number Which may be created via the telephone either by the
caller or by the system When sending noti?cation. Like
outgoing voicemail servers, outgoing page servers may also
be geographically distributed. Outgoing page servers may
it is expected that as data netWorks and telephone netWorks
converge, the relevant functionality represented by the serv
ers herein may still apply, albeit With the proper modi?cation
to handle an all-digital combined data/telephone netWork.
FIG. 2 illustrates, in accordance With one embodiment of
45
per TI link may be divided among the subservers of tele
phony server 126. As shoWn in FIG. 2, 45 of the telephone
lines may be employed by a main message server 202 to
handle the incoming/outgoing voice calls, the incoming
voice mail messages, and the incoming facsimiles. Of the 45
telephone lines, 32 may be provisioned for the subscribing
or non-subscribing users to dial into the uni?ed messaging
system, and the other 13 telephone lines may be employed
to alloW outgoing calls to be made from Within the uni?ed
messaging system. The outgoing calls may, for example, be
55
calls destined for the uni?ed messaging system but are
rerouted out of the uni?ed messaging system in accordance
With a subscriber’s communication option setting or they
communicate With each other via the internet in such a Way
that the server nearest to the destination pager telephone
number may be assigned to send the page via either a
circuit-sWitched call or packet-sWitched call.
There may also be outgoing emails and their servers that
do not involve circuit sWitched calls. Some pagers may be
alphanumerical type and can receive messages as an email.
In this case, the outgoing pager server may delegate these
requests to the outgoing email servers.
In one embodiment, messages sent to the uni?ed messag
ing system may be stored in Web server 122 With pointers to
these messages being held in database server 120. The above
mentioned set of sub-servers (outgoing facsimile server,
outgoing pager server and outgoing voice mail server) are
arranged to make requests to the database server for outgo
ing messages stored on the Web server. If an outgoing
message is detected by a sub-server, softWare Within the
sub-servers decides hoW to handle the outgoing message
may be originated by the subscriber, Who dials into the
uni?ed messaging system (using a toll-free access number,
for example) and requests an outgoing call be made there
from to some destination number (for example by punching
in the “#” key after authentication, folloWed by the desti
nation number), thus employing the uni?ed messaging sys
tem as a type of calling card service.
send the facsimile via either a circuit-sWitched call or
packet-sWitched call.
instead of analog telephony signals). As a noteWorthy point,
the present invention, hoW the 48 telephone lines provided
stores the incoming facsimile and then forWards the fac
simile to the subscriber’s facsimile-forWard number. For
example, When forWarding a facsimile via the Web, the
facsimile may be treated as an attachment to Tiff conversion
of a text message With the recipient address as a phone
nals betWeen uni?ed messaging system 101 and telephony
centric netWork 129. In a preferred embodiment, telephone
link 128 represents high bandWidth T1 telephone links,
although other types of telephone links may also be
upcoming convergence of data netWorks and telephone
netWorks, the telephony information that traverses telephone
link 128 may Well be digital (in Which case, telephony server
116 Will be adapted to handle digital telephony signals
geographically distributed and communicate With each other
via internet in such a Way that the server nearest the
Work (PSTN) or a cellular netWork or a combination thereof.
Telephony-centric netWork 129 is Well knoWn and Will not
be discussed in great detail here for the sake of brevity.
A telephone 130 is shoWn coupled to telephony-centric
netWork 129. In reality, it should be understood that a Wide
variety of telephony devices (Which are not shoWn to
simplify the illustration) are connected to telephony-centric
netWork 129. Some of these exemplary communication
devices are, as mentioned, facsimile machines, pagers, cel
lular telephone sets, Wired telephone sets, and the like.
voicemails, replies to other messages or forWarded as a
according to the communication option settings obtained
from the subscriber communication pro?le database. Again,
a Dialogic board may be employed, in one embodiment, to
facilitate the translation betWeen the stored data and the
65
outgoing telephone signal.
One of the 48 telephone lines of the T1 link may be
All types of outgoing message requests (voicemail,
reserved for outgoing facsimile transmission, Which is
facsimile, email, pages) are queued in the database server.
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US 6,463,145 B1
11
12
These requests can also be associated With a delivery time
telephone numbers Where he may likely be found. On the
(e.g., the default time is “noW”). Each type of request may
Weekend, the subscriber may enable the folloW me service
be stored in a separate queue. An outgoing server of a
option and select the secondary set, for example. From the
particular type of message periodically checks its queue
caller’s perspective, the folloW me service is preferably an
from the database server to see if any request’s time is up for
on-demand service. That is, the caller is preferably given the
delivery.
It should be noted that FIG. 2 shoWs only one exemplary
Way to divide the T1 telephone lines among the various
sub-servers of telephony server 126. Depending on the
traf?c pattern generated by subscribing and non-subscribing
users of the uni?ed messaging system, these lines and
10
chosen by the caller, telephony server 126 Will try to place
outgoing calls to the numbers designated in the selected set
sub-servers may be scaled as necessary.
FIG. 3 illustrates, in accordance With one embodiment of
starting With the ?rst number in the set. To ensure that the
the present invention, the user-interface for an exemplary
computer-implemented control center, representing the
visual display panel for displaying the communication
option to decide Whether to employ the folloW me service by
pressing a prede?ned key in response to instructions or to
simply alloW the call to be passed to voice mail if unan
sWered.
If the folloW me service is enabled by the subscriber and
15
options pertaining to a particular subscriber on a computer
call is not inadvertently completed vis-a-vis by a bystander
Who happens to be near the destination telephone and picks
up the telephone When it rings, telephony server 126 may
alloW the caller to record his name. Telephony server 126
then announces the name to the person picking up the
display screen. Through computer-implemented control cen
ter 302, the user may quickly and conveniently revieW the
communication option settings associated With the various
services and make changes thereto. That is, the computer
implemented control center 302 serves as the centraliZed
destination telephone prior to giving that person a choice of
Whether to accept the call. If the person Who picks up the call
is indeed the person for Whom the call is intended, the entry
control panel for revieWing and/or customiZing the commu
nication options associated With the various communication
services. FIG. 4 illustrates aspects of computer-implemented
server 126) on the destination telephone keypad Will alloW
telephony server 126 to complete the end-to-end connection.
control center 302 in greater detail.
of a prede?ned key press (on instructions by telephony
25
In the exemplary implementation of FIG. 3, six represen
tative communication options are shoWn. The call forWard
ing service 304, if it is enabled, alloWs incoming calls
In this manner, the folloW me service may be employed as
a call screening mechanism if desired. Telephony server 126
may try all the numbers in the set in sequence until the
subscriber is found. If not, the call may be alloWed to pass
provided forWarding number 306. The call forWarding
into the subscriber’s voice mail box.
In one embodiment, the folloW-me service may not
option setting may also be seen in the detailed computer
implemented control center vieW of FIG. 4, Which shoWs the
the subscriber has set up several numbers as his possible
communication options in greater detail.
locations (e.g., Weekday routine or Weekend and evening
through telephony-centric netWork 129 to be routed to a
ForWarding number 306 can be a neWly input number or
alWays use the same sequence to callout a subscriber When
35
one chosen from a drop doWn menu. The drop doWn menu
numbers may be preprogrammed or added by a subscriber at
any time. The preprogrammed numbers are stored along
With all the other communication options in the databas
To accomplish the forWarding, telephony server 126
consults, after a call is made to a subscriber’s telephone
number, the subscriber communication pro?le database in
database server 120. If the call forWarding option is enabled,
that call is then forWarded to the forWarding number speci
?ed by telephony server 126 via an outgoing telephone line.
If the forWarding number does not pick up, the call may be
rerouted, for example, to the subscriber’s voice mail box. If
the call forWarding option is not enabled and the caller does
(or someone Who may appropriately handle the incoming
call) at a number designated in advance (314). FIG. 4 shoWs
the communication options associated With the alternate
45
number service in greater detail. The alternate number
option is similar to call forWarding With the exception that
the alternate number option is an on-demand service. That is,
the caller is preferably given the option to decide Whether to
employ the alternate number service by pressing a pre
de?ned key in response to instructions or to simply alloW the
call to be passed to voice-mail if unansWered. In all other
respects, the alternate number service may function in the
not choose other methods discussed beloW to try to contact
the subscriber, the call may then be forWarded to the
subscriber’s voice mail box as Well.
The “folloW me” service 308 gives the subscriber the
ability to designate a set of telephone numbers Where he may
likely be found and gives the caller the option to try to ?nd
the subscriber (or someone Who may appropriately handle
routine). The folloW-me service may use the number Where
the subscriber is last located (stored in memory) as the ?rst
number to dial in the sequence provided the time for the last
location happened Within a certain interval (e.g., an hour).
An alternate number service 312 gives the subscriber the
ability to designate a telephone number as an alternate
number Where the caller can attempt to locate the subscriber
same Way as the call forWarding service. An alternate
number may also be used to set a personal operator number
55
(e.g., your secretary).
the incoming call) at those numbers. By Way of example,
Amessage alert option 316 gives the subscriber the ability
during a Work day, a given subscriber may be contacted
either at his main of?ce telephone, his secondary office
telephone, or his cellular telephone in his car. On the
to select Whether to be alerted When a message is received.
Weekend, that same subscriber may be found at home or at
scriber communication option settings. In the example of
FIG. 3, the ?ltering criteria is “urgent” (318) although any
type of ?ltering may be applied. For example, the ?ltering
The message that triggers the alert may be speci?ed using
any number of ?ltering criteria stored as part of the sub
a cellular telephone in his boat. The of?ce/car set of tele
phone numbers may be designated a primary set 310 and the
home/boat set of telephone numbers may be designated a
second set. FIG. 4 shoWs the communication options asso
ciated With the folloW me service in greater detail.
On a Week day, the subscriber may enable the folloW me
service option and select primary set 310 as the set of
criteria could be the message’s sender, subject or content.
The sender could be identi?ed by his email address or phone
65
number (e.g., caller ID).
FIG. 4 shoWs, in one embodiment, the communication
option settings associated With the uni?ed messaging service
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1117, Page 14
US 6,463,145 B1
13
14
in greater detail. With respect to the message alert service,
the alerting itself may be accomplished using any of the
analyZing the tone). When the call forWarding option is
enabled, it enables only non-fax call forWard. To enable fax
call forWarding, the user needs to enable the fax forWarding
option. In case of fax forWarding, the fax is intercepted and
received by the telephony server. After the fax is received,
communication devices controlled by the uni?ed messaging
system (e.g., pager, telephone at a designated number, voice
mail in a designated voice mail box, facsimile at a desig
nated facsimile number, e-mail at a designated e-mail
a copy is then sent to the forWarding number if it has the
address, and the like). In accordance With one particularly
fax-receiving capability. In addition to alloWing the sub
advantageous embodiment, the message alert is sent to a
pager via outgoing pager sub-server 206 since it is the device
scriber to forWard fax and non fax calls separately, this
approach further alloWs the user to access the fax from
most likely to be near the subscriber. In one embodiment, the
server that sends the alert (e.g., the Web server if the
incoming message is an e-mail, the telephony server if the
incoming message is a facsimile or telephone call) may send
out a prede?ned alphanumeric code that identi?es the type
of incoming message. The alphanumeric code itself may be
prede?ned either by the uni?ed messaging system or by the
10
Voice mail messages that are stored may be listened to
using either the computer (through an appropriate softWare/
sound card) by clicking on voice mail link 330 (FIG. 3) or
a telephone coupled to the telephony-centric netWork.
15
subscriber if customiZation is desired. Preferably, the alert is
sent to the subscriber’s oWn number to alert the subscriber
E-mails that are sent to the subscriber using the subscriber’s
e-mail address may be read on-line by, for example, clicking
on e-mail link 332 (FIG. 3). In one embodiment, telephone
server 126 may be equipped With a text-to-speech facility to
alloW the subscriber to listen to the content of the e-mail
message through a telephone. FIG. 3 also shoWs an outgoing
e-mail link 334, Which links the subscriber to an e-mail
application program to alloW the subscriber to compose and
that an incoming message ?tting the ?ltering criteria has
been received at the uni?ed messaging system.
A facsimile receiving service 319 alloWs the user to
receive facsimile at the uni?ed messaging system if some
one sends a facsimile to the subscriber’s telephone number.
FIG. 4 shoWs the communication options associated With the
facsimile receiving service in greater detail. If the facsimile
anyWhere via telephone or Web.
send out e-mail messages. In the case of replying an email
via phone, a voice recording may be taken and sent as an
25
receiving option is enabled, telephony server 126 Will moni
tor for the facsimile tone and process the incoming message
as a facsimile if the facsimile tone is detected. In one
email attachment.
As can be appreciated from the above examples,
computer-implemented control center 302 provides a central
visual interface that alloWs a subscriber to ef?ciently revieW
embodiment, the incoming facsimile is stored as a GIF or
and/or modify the communication option settings associated
TIFF ?le that may be vieWed by the subscriber through a
Web page by clicking on facsimile mail link 320. If the
facsimile forWard option 406 is also enabled, the facsimile
Will also be forWarded by the outgoing facsimile server 204
to another facsimile machine at speci?ed facsimile number
408, additionally or alternatively to storing a copy of the
received facsimile at the uni?ed messaging service. If the
facsimile option is not enabled but the call forWarding
option is enabled, the call is forWarded on and may be picked
up by the forWarded device (if it is a functioning facsimile
With the various communication services offered. This is in
sharp contrast With time-consuming and burdensome prior
35
art approaches Whereby the person is required to contact
different entities and deal With different accounts to change
the communication options associated With different com
munication services.
In one embodiment, the computer-implemented control
center has tWo vieWs: the minimiZed vieW and the full vieW.
In the minimiZed vieW (e.g., FIG. 3 in one embodiment), the
computer-implemented control center may simply shoW the
machine). If not, the incoming facsimile Will not be
simpli?ed routing details and the on-off settings associated
received.
A paging service 321 alloWs a message sent to the
subscriber to be rerouted to a pager designated by the
subscriber. Paging service 321 is preferably an on-demand
service and alloWs the caller, if desired, to send a short
message to a pager designated by the subscriber. The pager
With the communication options. Although the user may
make changes to the on-off settings, fuller edit capabilities
are preferably provided in the full vieW. In the full vieW
(e.g., FIG. 4 in one embodiment), the computer
45
implemented control center additionally add explanations
number designated by the subscriber may be designated at
and detailed routing choices. If desired, an authentication
procedure may be implemented With either the minimiZed
location 404a (the paging service number) and, if required,
vieW or the full vieW to ensure that the person making
using location 404b (the PIN number for the pager). If the
editing changes to the communication options is properly
paging service is enabled, a caller to the subscriber’s tele
phone number Will be given an option to send a short
authoriZed.
It should be appreciated that the communication services
and options discussed in connection With FIGS. 3 and 4 are
message to the pager subscriber pager (for example, by
pressing a prede?ned key to send the short message). As
noted before, the caller may also choose any of the other
services folloW me service 308 and/or alternate number 312
if enabled. In this manner, a single telephone number may
only illustrative of the capabilities of the inventive
computer-implemented control center. It should be apparent
55
to those skilled in the art that the same control panel may be
presented to the subscriber through the telephony server and
the telephone interface if the subscriber Wishes to revieW
serve as the access point to receive a page, a voice message,
a facsimile, etc.
and/or change the communication options using a telephone
For alphanumeric pagers With an email address, the
connected to the telephony-centric netWork. The communi
cation options may be presented in a sound format and the
outgoing page server may use text to describe the alert
message (e.g., “you have a urgent voicemail from caller ID
4152222222 With return number 4153333333”) instead of
subscriber may be offered an option menu to revieW and/or
change any communication option setting. Further, it should
codes as in the case of numeric pagers. The outgoing pager
server can then delegate the alert messages to the outgoing
email server.
also be apparent to those skilled in the art that communica
tion services options other than the preferred and discussed
65
In one embodiment, the telephony server distinguishes
betWeen a fax call and non-fax call (by, for example,
communication services and options can readily be con
trolled by the inventive computer-implemented control cen
ter. Irrespective of the services and options involved, a
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US 6,463,145 B1
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16
Telephony server 126 may then obtain the authentication
subscriber can access the centralized computer-implemented
control center through either a computer connected to the
data-centric netWork or a telephone connected to the
data from the caller (e. g., the passWord) and compare it With
the subscriber account authentication data, Which it obtains
from the subscriber communication pro?le database in the
database server. Authentication may be done via keyed digit
entry or, in one embodiment, by voice commands, Which
telephony-centric netWork to revieW and/or change the com
munication options.
FIG. 5 is a How diagram depicting, in one embodiment,
the relevant steps of a computer-implemented process for
may then be translated to keyed digits by appropriate
softWare. If authenticated, the subscriber may then be pre
handling access to the uni?ed messaging system through the
telephony-centric netWork by a subscribing or a non
subscribing caller. The subscriber may Wish to access the
sented With a menu that alloWs the subscriber to revieW
10
and/or change the communication options via key press or
voice commands. Once the subscriber saves the changes, the
uni?ed messaging system to, for example, listen to stored
voice mail messages or e-mail messages, to use the uni?ed
changed communication option settings Will be employed to
messaging system as a calling card service, or to revieW
handle future messages transmitted and/or received through
and/or modify the communication options. A non
subscribing caller may access the uni?ed messaging system
15
to, for example, send a facsimile, a page, or to call the
subscriber. The ?rst step 502 involves accessing the uni?ed
message system through a telephone using the subscriber’s
assigned telephone number. A set of tWo numbers may be
either the telephony-centric netWork or the data-centric
netWork.
As one of the options, the subscriber may be given a
choice (With proper authentication) to use the uni?ed mes
saging system to originate an outgoing call. The choice may
be made via, for example, a prede?ned key press or voice
command. This is useful in situations Wherein the subscriber
assigned to a user, a local telephone number and a toll-free
telephone number, both of Which may be associated With a
accesses his account at the uni?ed messaging system
single user account.
through his toll-free number (e.g., from the airport or from
The dialed digits reaches telephony server 126 via tele
phone link 128. Telephony server 126 then obtains the DNIS
someone else’s telephone) and instructs the telephony server
to connect his incoming call to an outgoing call to a provided
destination telephone number and charges the cost to his
account. In this manner, the uni?ed messaging system may
be employed as a convenient calling card.
A keyed digit may also represent an on-demand service
selection chosen by the caller. In this case, the caller simply
(direct number information service) by digitiZing the dialed
digits (step 504) and employs the dialed digits to obtain the
25
communication option settings associated With the account
represented by the dialed telephone number (step 506). As
mentioned earlier, these communication option settings
reside in the subscriber communication pro?le database,
presses an appropriate key When prompted and employs one
of the on-demand services is then employed to handle his
Which may be managed by database server 120, in one
embodiment. During this time, telephone server 126,
through an appropriate interface board such as the afore
mentioned Dialogic board, monitors the incoming line for a
facsimile tone or telephone key digit tone.
If no such facsimile tone or telephone key digit tone is
detected (step 508), the call is assumed to be a normal call
to the subscriber and Will be handled (in steps 510 and 512)
in accordance With the communication option settings in the
manner discussed earlier (e.g., forWarded if call forWarding
call. Various on-demand services have been discussed in
connection With FIGS. 3 and 4 and Will not be repeated here
35
for the sake of brevity.
FIG. 6 is a How diagram depicting, in one embodiment,
the relevant steps of a computer implemented process for
handling access to the uni?ed messaging system by a
subscriber through a data-centric netWork (such as the
Internet in the example of FIG. 6). The subscriber may Wish
to access the uni?ed messaging system to, for example,
listen to stored voice mail messages, vieW stored e-mail
messages or facsimiles, send e-mail messages or facsimiles,
or to revieW and/or modify the communication options. The
is on, routed to an alternate number if the caller selects that
option and alternate service is enabled, and the like).
On the other hand, if a facsimile tone is detected by
telephony server 126, the call Will be handled as an incom 45 ?rst step 602 involves accessing the uni?ed messaging
system Web site, using a uni?ed messaging system Web
address (e.g., “uni?edmessagingsystem.com”), With user
ing facsimile in accordance With the communication option
settings (step 514). By Way of example, if the facsimile
computer 100 through a data-centric netWork 102.
receiving service is enabled, a copy of the facsimile Will be
stored for later retrieval by the subscriber. If the facsimile
forWarding option is enabled, a copy of the facsimile is
alternatively or additionally sent to the forWarded facsimile
number.
On the other hand, if a keyed digit tone is detected by
telephony server 126, softWare Within telephony server Will
handle the options chosen by the caller (step 516). By Way
The Web site request connects to the Web server 122 via
data link 104 and netWork interface system 105. FolloWing
connection to the Web site, the uni?ed messaging system
Web server 122 serves up a login page using, for example,
ASP-active server pages (step 604). The next step (step 606)
includes entering authentication data such as a subscriber
55
of example, one option may represent the subscriber Wishing
to access the computer-implemented control center (via an
appropriate key press) to revieW and/or change the commu
nication options. In this case, telephony server 126 prefer
ably serves up the account statistics, e.g., hoW many voice
mail messages, facsimiles, e-mail messages, etc. are Waiting
graphical menu of the communication options (step 610)
that alloWs the subscriber to retrieve his email/voicemail/fax
messages, or revieW and/or modify the communication
and asks the caller for authentication as a subscriber. If there
are none, the subscriber may Wish to quickly hang up and not
options via user computer 100 (step 612).
go through the authentication procedure (and extending the
cost of the call). This, hoWever, is an option and may be
eliminated if privacy is a concern (that is, authentication
may take place before the presentation of account statistics).
identi?er (ID), e.g., usemrname and passWord, at the login
page. The Web server 122, after obtaining the authentication
data, compares it With the subscriber account authentication
data (step 608), Which it obtains from the subscriber com
munication pro?le database from the database server. If
authenticated, the subscriber may then be presented With a
65
In one embodiment, a call is forWarded as long as the
forWarding number is picked up. Avariation of the approach
is to forWard the call only When the forWarding number is
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US 6,463,145 B1
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18
picked up by a person. In this case, if the forwarding number
is picked up by an ansWer machine or fax machine, the
and simpli?ed manner, via either the data-centric netWork or
the telephony-centric netWork.
The uni?ed messaging system bene?ts a subscriber by
telephony server can analyze the tone and elect not to
forward the call and simply provide the caller With other
options including, for example, leaving a voice mail.
Once the subscriber saves the changes (step 614), the
integrating various communication services Which up to
noW have existed as separate services. This is in sharp
contrast to the prior art Where the dual existence of the
data-centric netWork and the telephony-centric netWork has
forced the service providers to manage communication
options as separate accounts.
modi?ed communication option settings Will be employed
to handle future messages transmitted and/or received
through either the telephony-centric netWork or the data
centric netWork.
FIG. 7 is a How diagram depicting the relevant steps of a
This integration simpli?es management, billing, and more
importantly the routing of messages among the various
services. The uni?ed messaging system gives the subscriber
computer implementer process for handling the routing of
the call, if the call forWarding option of the uni?ed messag
ing system is enabled. FIG. 7 is one technique for perform
ing step 510 of FIG. 5. As mentioned in step 510, When the
15
call is assumed to be a normal call to the subscriber, the call
Will be handled in accordance With the communication
more control With regards to hoW the World communicates
to the subscriber. For example, a subscriber may specify that
an incoming facsimile be forWarded to a computer for
vieWing or to a printer for printing, listen to e-mail messages
through a telephone, receive pager noti?cation When a
facsimile is received, etc. The uni?ed messaging system
alloWs messages to be received, stored, retrieved, and/or
forWarded Without regard to the communication devices
option settings. The ?rst step 702 includes determining
Whether the call forWarding option is enabled. Preferably,
the telephony server queries the database server for the
communication option settings. If the call forWarding option
and/or netWorks employed for the transmission of the mes
is not enabled, the uni?ed messaging system Will determine
if any other communication options are enabled (step 704).
During this time, the uni?ed messaging system Will continue
to monitor for facsimile and keyed digit tones (step 508).
sages. In fact, the uni?ed messaging system even gives
non-subscribers choices With its on-demand services asso
ciated With some of the communication options.
25
Step 508 is a parallel process as the telephony server is
arranged to check for facsimile and keyed digit tones
throughout the call.
On the other hand, if the call forWarding option is enabled
the telephony server receives the forWarding number from
the database server and initiates an outgoing call (step 706)
to the forWarding number on another port (e.g., one of the
outgoing lines as seen in FIG. 2). In one embodiment,
softWare Within the telephony server directs the Dialogic
board to call the forWarding number and furnishes the
forWarding number to the Dialogic board.
If the outgoing call is successfully connected to the
telephony server (step 708), the telephony server then con
nects the port of the incoming call With the port of the
The uni?ed messaging system advantageously removes
the burden of managing different physical devices and
different accounts. The subscriber no longer has to access
multiple accounts to modify options. As mentioned
previously, a person Who travels may Wish to forWard calls
made from his home and of?ce telephone numbers to his
cellular telephone or hotel telephone. LikeWise, he may Wish
to divert facsimiles sent to an office facsimile machine to a
35
facsimile machine that is more local. While in a meeting,
hoWever, one may Wish to temporarily divert the voice calls
to a voice mail box or forWards it to another person for
handling. To stay in touch, these communication options
may need to be changed many times during the course of the
day and/or each time one arrives at a neW location.
Using the present invention, a person need only access the
outgoing call (step 710) to complete the end-to-end connec
tion (step 712). By Way of example, the softWare of the
uni?ed messaging system either With a telephone or a
telephony server may, in one embodiment, directs the Dia
?ed as needed With a feW key strokes. The subscriber has the
logic board to connect the tWo ports together. Preferably, the
call forWarding is deemed successful When the call is
accepted, e.g., When the line is picked up at the forWarded
number. Accepting the call can be in the form of keyed digit
options requested by the telephony server or simply the
computer. The communication options may then be modi
45
memory or contact each service provider.
Furthermore, the present invention advantageously alloWs
remote access to the uni?ed messaging system from any
location that is connected to the data-centric netWork or the
telephony-centric netWork. The subscriber no longer has to
connection itself.
On the other hand, if the outgoing call is not successfully
connected, the telephony server may inform the caller of the
be physically present at the forWarding origin to modify the
forWarding option. This advantage leads to yet another
advantage in that the uni?ed messaging system may be used
failed connection (step 714) and may determine if any other
communication options are enabled (step 704). In one
embodiment, if other options are enabled, the call may be
handled in accordance With these other communication
ability to revieW communication options at a single facility
and no longer has to recall communication options from
as a calling card. The subscriber if located at the airport, for
55
options (step 716). At this time, the telephony server may
offer other options to the caller such as on-demand services
and When selected Will route the call accordingly (818). On
the other hand, if no options are enabled, the call ay be sent
to voice mail (step 720).
Accordingly, the present invention provides a single cen
traliZed facility that gives a subscriber of various commu
example, contacts his uni?ed messaging system toll-free
telephone number. The system then alloWs the subscriber the
option of rerouting this call to another location.
Also, the present invention advantageously alloWs the
subscriber the convenience of one telephone number (or
tWo, including a toll-free 800 number). Multiple number
confusion is avoided by connecting multiple numbers
through the one number of the uni?ed messaging system.
nication services (e.g., telephone, facsimile, pager, e-mail)
Yet another advantage of the present invention is a
the ability to revieW and modify his communication options
(e.g., call forWarding, folloW me service, alternate number,
message alert, facsimile receiving, paging, routings and the
computer-implemented call forWarding option. That is, the
like). This revieW and modi?cation is done in an interactive
65
call forWarding parameters may be revieWed and edited
through any computer that is coupled to the data-centric
netWork, even When the telephone sets themselves are
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US 6,463,145 B1
19
20
implemented on the telephony-centric network. Of course,
associated With the given account of said uni?ed mes
the use of the centralized control center also alloWs the
saging system, said computer server obtains digital data
corresponding to a telephone signal associated With
subscriber to revieW and edit the call forwarding option
parameters from any telephone set coupled to the telephony
said received call, and said computer server automati
cally determines Whether said received call is a voice
centric netWork as Well (as Well as any computer that is
con?gured to function as a phone set, i.e., a computer
call made to said associated telephone number or a
facsimile call made to said associated telephone num
equipped With a speaker, microphone, and appropriate soft
Ware to enable digital/Internet telephony).
ber on the basis of said obtained digital data, and
automatically forWards said voice call, but not said
Further, the call forwarding option presented substantially
reduces the use of codes. The subscriber of the uni?ed
messaging system no longer has to remember or keep track
of codes used for implementing and canceling call forWard
10
ing options. The call forWarding option also reduces the
confusion associated With keeping track of Which number a
call is being forWarded since these parameters may be
revieWed quickly and edited ef?ciently through the central
iZed control facility. Also, the call forWarding option offers
15
facsimile call, to said forWarding telephone number.
2. The computer-implemented control center of claim 1
Wherein said subsequent calls are made through a telephony
centric netWork different from said data-centric netWork.
3. The computer-implemented control center of claim 1
Wherein said ?rst change represents one of a disabling and
an enabling of said call forWarding enable option.
4. The computer-implemented control center of claim 1
a preprogrammed menu that stores a multiplicity of forWard
Wherein said ?rst change represents an edit of said forWard
ing numbers. This greatly enhances the usability of the call
ing telephone number.
forWarding option.
While this invention has been described in terms of
several preferred embodiments, there are alterations,
permutations, and equivalents Which fall Within the scope of
this invention. By Way of eXample, although some of the
discussion has centered on voice call forWarding, it should
be recogniZed that facsimile forWarding may be imple
25
mented in an analogous manner. It should also be noted that
there are many alternative Ways of implementing the meth
ods and apparatuses of the present invention. It is therefore
intended that the folloWing appended claims be interpreted
as including all such alterations, permutations, and equiva
lents as fall Within the true spirit and scope of the present
invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A computer-implemented control center for permitting
5. The computer-implemented control center of claim 1
further comprising a telephony server coupled to eXchange
data With said communication pro?le database, said tele
phony server being con?gured to audibly represent said call
forWarding parameters to a telephone set When said sub
scriber employs said telephone set to access said computer
implemented control center, said telephony server also being
con?gured to receive from said subscriber via said telephone
set a second change to said call forWarding parameters and
to update said second change to said account in said sub
scriber communication pro?le database.
6. The computer-implemented control center of claim 5
Wherein said telephony server includes an outgoing port and
an incoming port, said incoming port representing a port
through Which said call is received, said outgoing port
35
a subscriber of a uni?ed messaging system to customiZe call
forWarding parameters associated With a call forWarding
represents a port employed by said telephony server to
initiate an outgoing call to said forWarding telephone
service, said call forWarding service being con?gured to
number, Wherein said forWarding is accomplished by cou
pling said incoming port to said outgoing port.
permit said subscriber to specify Whether a call received at
a telephone number associated With a given account of said
uni?ed messaging system be forWarded to a forWarding
Wherein said incoming port is coupled to said outgoing port
only if said outgoing call is successful.
7. The computer-implemented control center of claim 6
telephone number, said call forWarding parameters includ
ing a call forWarding enable option and said forWarding
telephone number, said computer-implemented control cen
ter comprising:
8. The computer-implemented control center of claim 1
Wherein the computer server comprises:
a database server coupled to eXchange data With the
45
a subscriber communication pro?le database, said sub
subscriber communication pro?le database; and
a telephony server con?gured to receive the received call
and to obtain said digital data corresponding to a
scriber communication pro?le database having therein
said account pertaining to said subscriber, said account
telephone signal associated With said received call, said
telephony server also being con?gured to communicate
including said call forWarding parameters for said
subscriber;
With said database server.
a computer server coupled to exchange data With said
subscriber communication pro?le database, said com
9. The computer-implemented control center of claim 8
Wherein the telephony server determines if the telephone
signal associated With the received call comprises an analog
signal in Which case said telephony server converts said
puter server being con?gured to visually display said
call forWarding parameters on a display terminal
coupled to a data-centric netWork When said subscriber
employs said display terminal to access said computer
implemented control center, said computer server also
being con?gured to receive from said subscriber via
said display terminal a ?rst change to said call forWard
55
telephone signal to the digital data.
10. The computer-implemented control center of claim 1
Wherein the server automatically determines Whether said
received call is a voice call made to said associated tele
phone number or a facsimile call made to said associated
telephone number on the presence of facsimile tone data
ing parameters and to update said ?rst change to said
account in said subscriber communication pro?le
database, Wherein subsequent calls to said given
identi?ed in said obtained digital data.
11. Acomputer-implemented control center for permitting
account are handled in accordance With parameters
a subscriber of a uni?ed messaging system to customiZe
present in said subscriber communication pro?le data
base after said update; and
Wherein When said call forWarding enable option is
facsimile forWarding parameters associated With a facsimile
enabled and a call is received at the telephone number
65
forWarding service, said facsimile forWarding service being
con?gured to permit said subscriber to specify Whether a
facsimile received at a telephone number associated With a
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US 6,463,145 B1
21
22
given account of said uni?ed messaging system be for
initiate an outgoing facsimile to said forWarding telephone
number, Wherein said forWarding is accomplished by cou
Warded to a forwarding telephone number associated With
another facsimile receiver, said facsimile forWarding param
eters including a facsimile forWarding enable option and
pling said incoming port to said outgoing port.
said forWarding telephone number, said computer
implemented control center comprising:
Wherein said incoming port is coupled to said outgoing port
only if said outgoing facsimile is successful.
a subscriber communication pro?le database, said sub
19. The computer-implemented control center of claim 11
further comprising a telephony server coupled to exchange
data With said communication pro?le database, said tele
phony server including an outgoing port and an incoming
18. The computer-implemented control center of claim 17
scriber communication pro?le database having therein
said account pertaining to said subscriber, said account
including said facsimile forWarding parameters for said
10
subscriber;
going call to said forWarding telephone number, Wherein
puter server being con?gured to visually display said
facsimile forWarding parameters on a display terminal
coupled to a data-centric netWork When said subscriber
employs said display terminal to access said computer
implemented control center, said computer server also
being con?gured to receive from said subscriber via
said display terminal a ?rst change to said facsimile
15
said forWarding is accomplished by coupling said incoming
port to said outgoing port.
20. The computer-implemented control center of claim 19
Wherein said incoming port is coupled to said outgoing port
only if said outgoing call is successful.
21. The computer-implemented control center of claim 11
Wherein the computer server comprises:
a database server coupled to exchange data With the
forWarding parameters and to update said ?rst change
to said account in said subscriber communication pro
subscriber communication pro?le database; and
?le database, Wherein subsequent facsimiles to said
given account are handled in accordance With param
eters present in said subscriber communication pro?le
database after said update; and
Wherein When said facsimile forWarding enable option is
port, said incoming port representing a port through Which
said facsimile is received, said outgoing port represents a
port employed by said telephony server to initiate an out
a computer server coupled to exchange data With said
subscriber communication pro?le database, said com
25
a telephony server con?gured to receive the received call
and to obtain said digital data corresponding to a
telephone signal associated With said received call, said
telephony server also being con?gured to communicate
With said database server.
enabled and a call is received at the telephone number
associated With the given account of said uni?ed mes
22. The computer-implemented control center of claim 21
Wherein the telephony server determines if the telephone
signal associated With the received call comprises an analog
signal in Which case said telephony server converts said
saging system, said computer server obtains digital data
corresponding to a telephone signal associated With
said received call, and said computer server automati
cally determines Whether said received call is a voice
telephone signal to the digital data.
23. The computer-implemented control center of claim 11
call made to said associated telephone number or a
facsimile call made to said associated telephone num 35 Wherein the server automatically determines Whether said
received call is a voice call made to said associated tele
ber on the basis of said obtained digital data, and
phone number or a facsimile call made to said associated
automatically forWards said facsimile call, but not said
telephone number on the presence of facsimile tone data
voice call, to said forWarding telephone number.
12. The computer-implemented control center of claim 11
Wherein said subsequent facsimiles are made through a
telephony-centric netWork different from said data-centric
netWork.
13. The computer-implemented control center of claim 11
Wherein said subsequent facsimiles are made through said
data-centric netWork.
14. The computer-implemented control center of claim 11
Wherein said ?rst change represents one of a disabling and
identi?ed in said obtained digital data.
24. A computer-implemented method for permitting a
subscriber of a call forWarding service to customiZe call
forWarding parameters associated With said call forWarding
service, said call forWarding service being con?gured to
45
phone number, said call forWarding parameters including a
call forWarding enable option and said forWarding telephone
number, the method comprising:
providing a subscriber communication pro?le database,
said subscriber communication pro?le database having
an enabling of said facsimile forWarding enable option.
15. The computer-implemented control center of claim 11
Wherein said ?rst change represents an edit of said forWard
ing telephone number.
therein said account pertaining to said subscriber, said
16. The computer-implemented control center of claim 11
further comprising a telephony server coupled to exchange
data With said communication pro?le database, said tele
phony server being con?gured to audibly represent said
account including said call forWarding parameters for
said subscriber;
55
facsimile forWarding parameters to a telephone set When
said subscriber employs said telephone set to access said
computer-implemented control center, said telephony server
also being con?gured to receive from said subscriber via
said telephone set a second change to said facsimile for
Warding parameters and to update said second change to said
account in said subscriber communication pro?le database.
17. The computer-implemented control center of claim 16
Wherein said telephony server includes an outgoing port and
an incoming port, said incoming port representing a port
through Which said facsimile is received, said outgoing port
represents a port employed by said telephony server to
permit said subscriber to specify Whether a call received at
a telephone number associated With a given account of said
call forWarding service be forWarded to a forWarding tele
visually displaying said call forWarding parameters on a
display terminal coupled to a data-centric netWork,
using a computer server coupled to exchange data With
said subscriber communication pro?le database, When
said subscriber employs said display terminal to access
said account;
receiving from said subscriber via said display terminal a
?rst change to said call forWarding parameters, said
?rst change to said call forWarding parameters pertains
to at least one of said call forWarding enable option and
65
said forWarding telephone number;
updating said ?rst change to said account in said sub
scriber communication pro?le database, Wherein sub
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US 6,463,145 B1
24
23
an incoming port, said incoming port representing a port
through Which said call is received, said outgoing port
represents a port employed by said telephony server to
initiate an outgoing call to said forWarding telephone
number, Wherein said forWarding is accomplished by cou
sequent calls to said given account are handled in
accordance With parameters present in said subscriber
communication pro?le database after said update;
receiving a call made to said associated telephone num
ber;
associated With said received call made to said associ
pling said incoming port to said outgoing port.
30. Acomputer-implemented method for handling routing
ated telephone number;
of a telephone call, the method comprising:
obtaining digital data corresponding to a telephone signal
ascertaining Whether the call made to said associated
telephone number represents a facsimile call or a voice
10
call on the basis of said obtained digital data; and
forWarding the call made to said associated telephone
number to the forWarding telephone number only if the
call made to said associated telephone number is a
associated With the received telephone calls
determining Whether the received telephone call is a
facsimile call or a non-facsimile call on the basis of the
15
voice call and said call forWarding option is enabled.
25. The computer-implemented method of claim 24
Wherein obtaining digital data corresponding to said tele
phone signal associated With said received call comprises
ing telephone number only if the received telephone
call is a non-facsimile call and a non-facsimile for
Warding option is enabled.
25
31. The method of claim 30 Wherein obtaining digital data
corresponding to the telephone signal associated With the
received telephone call comprises determining Whether the
telephone signal comprises an analog signal in Which case
the telephone signal is converted to digital data correspond
ing to the telephone signal.
32. The method of claim 30 further comprising forWard
ing the received telephone call to a second forWarding
telephone number if the received telephone call is a fac
simile call and a facsimile forWarding option is enabled.
33. The method of claim 30, further comprising receiving
ther comprising
providing a telephony server coupled to eXchange data
With said communication pro?le database, said tele
phony server being con?gured to audibly represent said
call forwarding parameters to a telephone set When said
subscriber employs said telephone set to access said
computer-implemented control center, said telephony
obtained digital data; and
forWarding the received telephone call to a ?rst forWard
determining Whether the telephone signal comprises an
analog signal in Which case the telephone signal is converted
to digital data corresponding to the telephone signal.
26. The computer-implemented method of claim 24
Wherein said subsequent calls are made through a telephony
centric netWork different from said data-centric netWork.
27. The computer-implemented method of claim 26
Wherein said data-centric netWork represents the Internet.
28. The computer-implemented method of claim 24 fur
receiving a telephone call;
obtaining digital data corresponding to a telephone signal
35
a facsimile message associated With the received telephone
call if the received telephone call is a facsimile call.
34. The method of claim 33 further comprising forWard
ing the received facsimile message to a second forWarding
server also being con?gured to receive from said sub
scriber via said telephone set a second change to said
telephone number having facsimile receiving capability if
call forWarding parameters and to update said second
forWarding option is enabled.
change to said account in said subscriber communica
tion pro?le database.
the received telephone call is a facsimile call and a facsimile
35. The method of claim 30 Wherein the method is
implemented in a uni?ed messaging system.
29. The computer-implemented control center of claim 28
Wherein said telephony server includes an outgoing port and
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