United States Patent
United States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
US 6,445,694 B1
(45) Date of Patent:
Sep. 3, 2002
6,052,372 A
6,131,095 A
* 10/2000 Low et a1. .................. .. 707/10
Robert Swartz, 1066 center?eld CL,
6,199,076 B1 *
4/2000 Gittins et al. ............. .. 370/396
... ... ... .
Highland Park, IL (US) 60035
* Cited by examiner
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
P1’imary Examiner—D01lg1a5 Olms
Assistant ExaminerQhirin Sam
U_S_C_ 154(k)) by 0 days_
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Charles G. Call
. . . ..
3/2001 Logan et a1. .......... .. 707/501.1
(21) Appl. No.: 09/033,287
An Internet controlled telephony system employing a host
Mar- 2’ 1998
services processor connected to a subscriber via the Internet
_ _ Related_
and further connected to the public sWitched telephone
Apphcatlon Data
system (PSTN). The subscriber employs a Web interface to
(60) ligg‘élslonal apphcanon NO‘ 6O/O4O’O46’ ?led on Mar‘ 7’
populate a database With preference data Which is used by
the host services processor to handle incoming calls and
Int. Cl.7 .............................................. .. H04L 12/ 66
establish outgoing telephone connections in accordance With
370/352; 379/85; 379/88.01
the preference data provided by the subscriber. Incoming
Field of Search ............................... .. 370/352, 218,
Calls to a telephone number assigned to the Subscriber may
370/235, 252, 253, 254, 255, 260, 264,
299, 321, 326, 327, 336, 353, 354, 355,
356, 357, 359, 360, 396, 398, 400, 401,
be automatically forWarded to any telephone number speci
?ed by the preference data. The subscriber may also use the
Web interface to specify Whether call Waiting is to be
402, 404, 405, 420, 421, 422; 379/68, 69,
activated, to screen or reroute calls from designated
70, 71, 85, 8801, 8804, 8827
numbers, for recording voice mail messages in designated
voice mailboxes, for selectively playing back voice mail
References Cited
messages via the Web interface or for forWarding voice mail
as an email attachment, for handling incoming faX trans
missions using character recognition and email attachment
5,737,395 A *
5,742,596 A *
4/1998 Irribarren ............... .. 379/88.13
4/1998 Baratz et a1, __
functions, and for automatically Paging the Subscriberwhen
incoming voice mail, fax or email messages are received, all
5,761,294 A * 6/1998 Shaffer etal.
in accordance With the preference data supplied by the
5,764,639 A *
6/1998 Staples et a1- -
subscriber using the Web interface. Outgoing connections
5,764,910 A *
6/1998 Shachar .......... ..
and Conference Calls may be initiated using the Web
5’838’682 A : 11/1998 Dek‘f’lbaum et a1‘ """ " 370/401
interface, and the subscriber may block the operation of
2 *
giiggg?hlg'jtsl' "" "
5’914’951 A * 6/1999 Bentley et a1‘
caller identi?cation functions. Call progress information
may be visually displayed to the subscriber during calls by
5:940j598 A * 8/1999 Strauss et aL
transmitting Web pages from the host services computer to
5,991,292 A
* 11/1999 Focsaneanu et a1. .
the subscriber’s Web browser
5,999,965 A
* 12/1999 Kelly ................ ..
6,044,107 A
3/2000 Gatherer et al. .......... .. 375/222
13 Claims, 11 Drawing Sheets
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1105, Page 1
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Bright House Networks - Ex. 1105, Page 11
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1105, Page 12
US 6,445,694 B1
to provide an illustrative hardWare infrastructure for imple
menting the invention. The arrangement seen in FIG. 1
provides the facilities needed for controlling a variety of
communications services, including telephone, email, fax
and paging services provided by a host services computer
operating under the control of either or both (1) a World
Wide Web interface and (2) a telephone interface.
A typical subscriber location seen at 30 includes, by Way
of example, a personal computer 31, a monitor 32 for
This application claims the bene?t of the prior ?led
copending US. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No.
60/040,046 ?led on Mar. 7, 1997.
displaying text and images, a keyboard 33 for entering data
and commands from the user, a printer 34, a digital scanner
35, a modem 36 and a microphone and headset/speaker
This invention relates to computer controlled telephone
systems and more particularly to a telephone system Which
represented in FIG. 1 by the handset 37.
may be controlled using commands transmitted from a
The modem 36 is used to establish a dialup telephone
subscriber location over the Internet to a host computer 15 connection via the conventional telephone netWork 40 to a
Which provides telephone services.
remote computer 50 Which operates as an Internet Service
Provider (ISP). The ISP computer 50 provides the connected
FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram shoWing an illustrative
arrangement of hardWare components Which provide the
infrastructure for implementing a preferred embodiment of
computer 31 With access to the Internet, enabling the sub
scriber computer 31 to exchange data via the Internet seen
at 70 in FIG. 1 With other computers, such as the computer
41 at the host services location 40 and a computer 60 Which
is representative of a selected one of the millions of remote
the invention;
computers connected to the Internet. The dialup connection
betWeen computers 31 and 50 seen in FIG. 1 is merely
FIG. 2 shoWs the screen display of a main menu giving
options available to the subscriber;
FIG. 3 illustrates a screen displayed to enable the sub
scriber to place a call and request a conference call;
FIG. 4 depicts an illustrative screen display Which enables
the subscriber to control a call in progress;
FIG. 5 is a screen display presented to enable the sub
scriber to revieW and select particular persons or ?rms listed
25 illustrative of one common method for connecting a sub
scriber location to the Internet. Alternatively, the conven
tional modem 36 may be replaced by a cable modem,
satellite connection, local area netWork gateWay, proxy
server or a connected router. All such communications
are conventional.
in a phone book database;
FIG. 6 shoWs a screen displayed When a form is presented
The host services computer 41 is connected to the Internet
70 and employs a multi-port input/output (I/O) unit 43 to
permit a number of outside callers to be concurrently
to enable the subscriber to add or edit information in a phone
book entry and to take place calls and the like to the person
facsimile machine 39, both of Which are provided With
separate assigned lines and telephone numbers for use at the
FIG. 8 illustrates a further screen display Which enables
subscriber location 30. In addition, the telephone system 40
may also interconnect any other connected telephone or
facsimile machine, as illustrated at 81 and 83 respectively, as
message forWarding options;
FIG. 9 is a screen display Which enables the subscriber to
Well as other services, such as a remote radio transmission
create and specify features of a voice mailbox;
FIG. 10 is a screen display Which is alloWs the subscriber
to vieW and control the playback of voice messages left in
a voice mailbox; and
facility 85 used to provide communication to a pager 87
Which is assigned to and used by the subscriber. Similarly,
the subscriber may utiliZe a cellular phone (not shoWn) When
FIG. 11 is a screen display Which enables the user to select
various options and control the operation of an automatic
paging system implemented by the disclosed embodiment of
connected via the dialup telephone system 40. The dialup
telephone system 40 also provides conventional connections
to a conventional telephone stationset 38 and a conventional
FIG. 7 illustrates a screen Which is displayed to enable
call forWarding and “folloW me” calling;
the subscriber to select and change a variety of call and
facilities and the components for providing Internet access
the invention.
traveling to remote locations. As discussed beloW, the sub
scriber controls and uses the host service computer using
these conventional instrumentalities. Importantly, conven
tional Web broWser softWare running on the computer 31
may be employed, along With voice commands and DTMF
(dialtone) signaling via the conventional telephone hookup,
to control the state and function of the host services com
The infrastructure used to implement the present inven
tion may consist entirely of conventional and readily avail
puter 41.
The host services computer may alternatively take the
able hardWare and softWare components. As Will be seen
form of an Intranet server Which is connected to a plurality
from the discussion that folloWs, the hardWare and softWare
used at the subscriber (client) location is already present and
of client (subscriber) computers by means of a local area
netWork and/or a Wide area netWork. In addition, the host
services computer may be connected via a multiport I/O
device to serve a number of telephone stationsets. In this
arrangement, the host services computer operates as both a
shared computer resource for the connected client computers
and provides PBX services to the connected subscriber
in use in many Well equipped home and small of?ce com
puter installations. Similarly, the principal hardWare and
softWare components needed by the host services computer
(server) are similarly readily available, as are the softWare
development tools needed to prepare the limited amount of
special purpose programs required for execution at the
telephone stationsets. Internet connections are provided via
FIG. 1 of the draWings shoWs the manner in Which various
conventional hardWare components may be interconnected
an Internet gateWay on the LAN/WAN such that both the
host services computer and the connected subscriber com
puters have Internet access.
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1105, Page 13
US 6,445,694 B1
named “TAPI” Which is fully documented in the Microsoft
Note further that, With the host services computer oper
Win32 SoftWare Development Kit (SDK) Which includes
documentation, tools, and sample code to assist application
programmers in adapting programs to be compatible With
TAPI. TWo documents, the Microsoft Telephony Program
mer’s Reference and the Microsoft Telephony Service Pro
vider Interface (TSP1) for Telephony, are also available from
Microsoft Corp. to provide additional development guid
ating as a PBS, a direct telephone voice line connection may
be established betWeen host services computer and indi
vidual telephone subscriber stationsets. In this Way, incom
ing calls may be directly connected to the called subscriber
stationset Without forwarding the incoming call through the
dialup telephone facility. Amultiplexed telephone line, such
as a leased T1 carrier line, may be used to connect a plurality
of subscriber phones to the host services computer, enabling
the servicing of branch offices. By concentrating traf?c in a
ance. The programmer’s reference is intended to document
shared Wideband leased line, branch locations can be served
through a central PBX provided by the host services com
puter at less cost by eliminating individual lines.
The host services computer 41 may employ conventional
server operating system softWare, such as the SCO OpenS
erver operating system sold by The Santa CruZ Operation,
Inc. (SCO), Santa CruZ, Calif. 95061. This client/server
the functionality that an application using TAPI Will need.
The service provider documentation assists developers and
telephone equipment vendors in Writing their oWn TAPI
Telephone services are integrated into WindoWs using the
WindoWs Open Systems Architecture (“WOSA”). WOSA
uses a WindoWs dynamic-link library (DLL) that alloWs
softWare components to be linked at runtime. In this Way,
applications are able to connect to services dynamically. An
UNIX operating system for Intel processor-based platforms
includes graphical system administration and softWare man
agement facilities for managing both local and remote
application needs to knoW only the de?nition of the
interface, not its implementation. Telephony services under
systems. The program’s Motif GUI provides the look and
WindoWs folloW the WOSA model. This means that there
exists a Telephony API, Which is the application program
mers access to telephony services, a Telephony SPI (Service
feel of Microsoft WindoWs and includes TCP/IP communi
cation gateWay services for local and netWork access exter
nal information services. The computer 41 may advanta
geously equipped With an enhanced audio input/output
facilities, such as the Dialogic D/240SC 24 channel digital
Provider Interface) Which is implemented by telephony
system. Applications are presented With a uniform set of
interface board Which provides a voice channel interface
devices accessed uniformly via the API Without needing to
betWeen the computer 41 and incoming audio channels from
knoW Which service provider actually ends up controlling
Which device. Similarly, service providers just execute
the connected telephone lines as Well as call management
functions. The D/240SC is marketed by Dialogic Corp. of
Parsippany, N]. 07054. As discussed beloW, it is the prin
requests on behalf of the WindoWs Telephony DLL; they are
unaWare that these requests are the result of multiple appli
cations using the API. The SPI de?nition re?ects this single
user model at the service provider level. All this multiplex
cipal function of the host services computer 41 to receive
and respond to data and commands received from the
subscriber location 30, either in the form of HTML form
submissions or in the form of voice and/or dialtone
service vendors, and a Telephony Dynamic Link Library
(the TAPI DDL) Which is part of the WindoWs operating
ing demultiplexing of requests and replies is con?ned to the
Telephony DLL. In an environment With multiple PCs on a
commands, and to perform requested functions in response
to those commands.
local area netWork, it is possible to develop applications
Web Interface
AWide variety of available interface mechanisms can be
utiliZed to facilitate communications and control betWeen
the subscriber and the host services computer. As described
in more detail beloW, a highly effective interface may be
and/or service providers that are distributed in nature. With
a distributed service provider, a service provider instance on
one client PC is able to communicate With its peers on other
client PCs, providing potentially a more poWerful model as
it can combine knoWledge about multiple client PCs that
may be involved With the same call. The services provided
by the line and phone abstractions of the Telephony SPI can
readily implemented using a conventional HTML Web pages
Which are sent to the subscriber computer from the host
services computer, including HTML forms Which are trans 45 be partitioned into three classes:
(1) Basic Services are a minimal subset of core services.
mitted to request and accept speci?c information from the
subscriber using as “?ll-in-the-blanks” input boxes, memo
They must be provided by all service providers. The
boxes, check boxes, and radio buttons. Javascript may be
advantageously included in the HTML pages to provide
validity checking of entered data by the subscriber com
puter. Alternatively, these and other interface functions and
“client-side” operations may be implemented special pur
function contained in basic telephony roughly corre
pose “plug-in” programs Which Work With a conventional
broWser program, or by Java and/or Active-X applets Which
are transmitted from the host services computer for execu
tion on the subscriber computer using facilities provided by
the broWser. If desired, special-purpose client application
programs may be used to directly communicate With the host
services computer Without using a general purpose broWser.
In one particularly useful form, the functions performed at
the subscriber location as contemplated by the present
invention can advantageously be implemented by routines
stored as dynamic link libraries Which make telephone
subscriber functions available through an open application
program interface (API). By Way of example, the Widely
used Microsoft WindoWs 95 operating system provides
speci?cations for a robust computer/telephone interface
spond to that of POTS. Phone device services are not
part of basic telephony.
(2) Supplementary Services are the collection of all the
services de?ned by the SPI, but not included in the
basic telephony subset. It includes all so-called supple
mentary features found on modern PBXs including
hold, transfer, conference, park, etc. All supplementary
features are optional. This means that a service provider
decides Which of these services it does or does not
provide. The TAPI DLL can query a line or phone
device for the set of supplementary services it provides.
Note that a single supplementary service may consist of
multiple function calls and messages. It is important to
point out that the Telephony SPI de?nes the meaning
(i.e., behavior) for each of these supplementary fea
(3) Extended Services (or Device Speci?c Services)
include all service provider de?ned extensions to the
SPI. A mechanism is de?ned in the SPI, and re?ected
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1105, Page 14
US 6,445,694 B1
in the API, that allows service provider vendors to
sions. Since the SPI only de?nes the extension
mechanism, de?nition of the extended service behavior
Locator). The home page, When displayed, identi?es and
makes available descriptive information about the system,
inviting members of the public to subscribe to the offered
services by displaying, completing and submitting a sub
must be completely speci?ed by the service provider.
scription form.
The extension mechanism alloWs a service provider to
de?ne neW values to enumeration types and bit ?ags, as
Well as to add ?elds to data structures. The interpreta
The HTML subscription form shoWn enables user to
establish an account With the operator of the host services
extend the Telephony SPI using device-speci?c exten
computer. When the subscription form is submitted, the host
services computer stores the descriptive information entered
tion of extensions is keyed off of the service provider’s
on the submitted form in persistent storage (typically a
database on a local magnetic disk drive) accessible to the
manufacturer ID. Special function and callbacks are
provided in the SPI that alloW an application to directly
communicate With a service provider. Many of the
host computer. As is conventional, the subscription process
may advantageously employ conventional secure encrypted
communications protocols for obtaining the subscriber’s
control functions contemplated by the present inven
tion Which are controlled through the TAPI interface by
the SPI DLL are in fact executed, as Will be described,
by the host services computer in Ways that are invisible
credit card number and authoriZation to facilitate billing. As
Will be understood, the subscriber may be billed for services
to the user or the application program Which is execut
based on monthly fees or measured use of the system at rates
ing on the subscriber computer.
Which, because of economies achieved by the system, may
communicate With the host computer over the Internet or an
be signi?cantly loWer than the costs associated With such
services When provided by conventional means. When the
subscription form is received and accepted, the neW sub
scriber may be sent a user ID and passWord (Which may be
equivalent data pathWay. With the remote host services
done by conventional mail at the same time user manuals or
As an alternative to the TAPI implementation noted
above, the host services computer may present an API to
programs Which execute on the subscriber computers and
other information is supplied to the subscriber).
computer providing an API Which makes available a set of
telephony functions, application programmers may imple
ment a rich and expandable set collection of special purpose
In accordance With an important feature of the invention,
implement the features and functions such as those
the subscriber can access his or her personaliZed phone
services and database from any computer having access to
the Internet, and need not be limited to a particular computer
described beloW in the example HTML/CGI implementation
on Which special programs or data are stored. At the same
of the invention. When these application programs take the
form of Java applets or Active-X applets that are doWn
loadable from the host services computer to the subscriber
time, the passWord protection afforded by the system assures
programs Which execute on the subscriber computer to
the security of the information stored for access by the
subscriber. The host services may be advantageously pro
vided by an existing services provider, such as an Internet
computer, the necessity for resident special purpose softWare
at the subscriber location is eliminated and the cost savings
associated With “thin client” netWork computer architectures
are preserved.
HTTP/CGI Control
While such special purpose programs of the type noted
Services Provider (ISP), a cable modem company, a tele
phone access provider, an telephone ansWering service, a
paging services company, or the like.
At the same time the neW subscription account is
established, the host service assigns a telephone number to
above provide a high degree of interoperability With other
application programs, they must be specially loaded for
execution into each subscriber computer. By using the
capabilities found in existing Web broWser softWare, it is
the neW subscriber service and informs the subscriber of that
possible to provide the desired functionality With no neW
softWare of any kind being required at the subscriber loca
number Will be referred to hereafter as the “assigned sub
tion. Thus, in perhaps its simplest form, the present inven
assigned number (Which may conveniently be an 800 or 888
number, eliminating the need for the subscriber to indepen
dently obtain 800 or 888 number service). This telephone
tion can be readily implemented by using a conventional
Web broWser program (e.g. Netscape Navigator or Microsoft
Explorer) Which executes on the subscriber computer 31
seen in FIG. 1, and conventional Web server softWare (e.g.
BSD Unix 2.2, Apache 1.1.1) or an SQL server Which
interoperates With a relational database (such as the Sybase
SQL Server V.11). On the server side, Web page requests or
form submission from the subscriber computer’s Web
broWser are sent to the host services computer 41 using the
HTTP protocol. At the host services computer 41, the
scriber number”. Any call to the assigned subscriber number
is ansWered by and handled by the host services computer 41
in the manner determined in part by preference data pro
vided by the subscriber using HTML forms as described in
more detail beloW, or by transmitting voice or DTMF
commands over the conventional telephone system.
Using the Web broWser softWare running on the subscriber
computer 31, the subscriber accesses a predetermined (and
typically bookmarked) Web page at a predetermined URL.
The host services computer responds With a request to the
subscriber to enter his or her assigned user ID and passWord,
and if that step is performed satisfactorily, the host services
received transmissions from the subscriber location may be
computer transmits a main menu Webpage of the type
handled by Common GateWay Interface (CGI) programs
illustrated in by FIG. 2.
Which typically process information from the subscriber and
The main menu page seen in FIG. 2 provides hypertext
links to six different Web pages, each of Which is also
illustrated in the draWings as shoWn by the table beloW:
return HTML pages for display on the subscriber’s Web
broWser. The HTTP/CGI interface infrastructure is conven
tional and is described, for example, in Developing CGI
Applications with PERL, by John Deep and Peter Holfelder,
John Wiley & Sons (1966), ISBN 0-471-14158-5.
To establish a Working relationship betWeen the host
services computer and the subscriber, the host services
computer makes available to the public at large a “home
page” at a predetermined URL (Universal Resource
Menu Anchor Text
Place Outgoing Call
FIG. 3
Phone Book
FIG. 5
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1105, Page 15
US 6,445,694 B1
available under the name CLASS (Custom Local Area
Signaling Services). These services allow increased cus
tomer control of phone calls. Existing customer lines can be
Menu Anchor Text
used provide call management and security services. Akey
“Follow Me” Calling
Mail, Message & Fax
FIG. 7
FIG. 8
feature of CLASS resides in the ability of the terminating
of?ce to obtain the identity of the calling party. Special
terminating treatment based on the identity of the calling
Voice Mail
FIG. 9
Paging Services
FIG. 11
Place Outgoing Call
When the subscriber “clicks on” the anchor text “Place
Outgoing Call” at 201 on the main menu webpage seen in
FIG. 2, the browser sends a request for a further webpage
speci?ed by a URL associated with the anchor text in the
HTML text which created the main menu.
Note that, in general, the value of a URL sent when a
hyperlink is activated is the ?le location of web page or a
features ?exible message formatting, high speed data trans
mission (56/64 kbps) and digital technology. CCS is de?ned
as a private network for transporting signaling messages. In
With SS7, signaling and voice have been separated. Signal
ing (SS7) is over a high-speed data link which carries
signaling for more than one trunk. In the context of the
the server for execution by that script. Note that, in general,
present invention, the SS7 protocol provides a more direct
and effective way for the host services computer to control
because the hypertext links (URL’s) that are sent to the
server are formed from text on pages written by the server,
the functions of the connected dialup telephone system than
the conventional DTMF signaling mechanisms which are set
forth here for simplicity.
If the subscriber wishes to prevent the called parties caller
ID system from displaying the subscribers number on the
next call, the box at 209 is checked and the host services
computer requests the central of?ce to perform per call
data being sent to the server.
The selection by the subscriber of the main menu option
represented by the hypertext anchor text “Place Outgoing
blocking by sending the dialtone sequence “*67” to the
central office. If the telephone company has been requested
to block caller ID display on all outgoing calls, the line
Call” causes the HTML for displaying the form seen in FIG.
3 to be displayed by the browser. This form allows the user
to enter a phone number to be called in the input line form
control at 203. In addition, by clicking on the checkbox at
205 and entering one or more numbers in the input line
boxes arrayed in a table at 207, the subscriber may specify
the telephone numbers of additional parties to be included in
a conference call. The conference call may be implemented
the existing voice and signaling network, signaling and
voice use the same path but cannot use it at the same time.
predetermined CGI script, along with parameters passed to
the URL may contain state information, either in the form of
a ?le designation or in the form of CGI parameters, which
identify the subscriber as well as the context in which the
subscriber is making a request, and the speci?c request or
party can then be provided. The CLASS features are depen
dent upon an SS/CCS (Signaling System 7/Common Chan
nel Signaling) network and use the SS7 Call Management
Mode of operation. SS7 is an advanced signaling system that
associated with checkbox 209 would instead read “Unblock
display of your number by caller ID for next call only” and
directly by the host services computer 41 which places all
calls to all of the numbers speci?ed in the form seen in FIG.
3, or the conference call may be requested from the dial up
the host services computer would instead sends the sequence
“*82” to remove perform line blocking for the next call only.
The host services computer can interrogate the central office
to determine whether or not line blocking has been requested
by dialing a predetermined number which will provide an
announcement indicating line blocking status for the calling
telephone system.
Control of Telephone Central Of?ce Services
Most public telephone services offer a variety of service
functions which can be advantageously implemented using
The functions noted above may be performed by the
telephone central of?ce in response to command codes sent
from the host services computer to the central of?ce. Call
waiting is activated when the checkbox at 211 is checked by
the user interface features of the present invention. To use
many of these functions, the user must normally know and
key-in control key sequences on the telephone keypad. In
sending the key sequence “*70” to the central office, and is
functions may be advantageously automated by the host
deactivated by the sending same code when the box on line
211 is unchecked.
If only one additional party is to be conferenced in, the
services computer in response to easily understood menu
commonly available “three way calling” service offered by
selections made by the subscriber using the webpage inter
telephone system may be used. When the user enters the
telephone number of the third party to be added to an
existing call at 207 and checks at 205, the host services ?rst
accordance with a feature of the present invention, these
face or voice command interface. The conventional tele
phone system functions which can be advantageously imple
dials the number entered in input line 203 and, when that
connection is established, the computer ?ashes the line (i.e.,
mented in this way include those shown in the following
illustrative examples, described using the control dialtone
key sequence command codes employed by the Bell Atlantic
telephone service. These functions include the activation
and deactivation of call waiting services under the control of
the HTML checkbox form control seen at 211 in FIG. 3, the
blocking and unblocking of caller ID displays in response to
the checkbox entry at 209 in FIG. 3, and the activation of call
As an alternative to the use of DTMF key sequences to
control telephone central offices, the SS7 call management
protocol may be used. AT&T developed and made available
a set of 1A ESS features called LASS (Local Area Signaling
places the line on-hook momentarily), waits for three beeps
and a dial tone from the central of?ce, dials the number
previously entered at 207, and when the added party
answers, again ?ashes the line to bring all three parties
together for the desired conferenced call. If the third party
line does not answer or is busy, the subscriber is noti?ed of
that condition and the line is ?ashed twice to reconnect the
?rst call.
When the button 213 on the form seen in FIG. 3 is
pressed, a command is sent to the host services computer
65 request a trace of the last incoming call. In response, the host
Services). As expanded by customized software enhance
services computer returns a form (dialog box) advising the
ments originating with Paci?c Bell, these functions are also
subscriber of a service charge will be incurred and request
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US 6,445,694 B1
ing con?rmation that the requested function should none
ing the outgoing call speci?cation form seen in FIG. 3. The
subscriber may terminate a call by simply placing the
handset on hook in the usual fashion, or by pressing the
“Hang up” button 234 Which has the same effect.
It is frequently desired to send a predetermined DTMF
theless be performed. If con?rmed by the subscriber, the
host services computer transmits the dialtone key sequence
“*57” to the central of?ce, Which thereafter provides
announcements to the subscriber indicating that the call Was
traced and providing further instructions.
After the information in the input line 203 identifying the
number to be entered is completed, and optionally the
key sequence after a connection is established in order to
conferenced-in numbers are entered at 207, the user presses
by the party With Whom a connection has been established.
To send a DTMF key sequence, it may be entered in teXt in
on the input line at 242 and then sent by pressing the form
button 246 labeled “Send.” Similarly, the ?lename or other
designation of an audio ?le recorded at the server computer
the button labeled “Place Call” at 217. In response, the
perform specialiZed functions. In addition, it may be desir
able to play a predetermined audio ?le so that it can be heard
server dials the call to establish a voice connection With the
called party or parties, and displays the call-in-progress form
seen in FIG. 4.
As the call progresses, the normal audible signals (busy
signals, ringing signals, etc.) are sent to the subscriber over
41, or the URL of an audio ?le available on the Internet, may
be entered in the input line at 252. The designated audio ?le
the telephone voice connection, and may be supplemented
is sent over the voice telephone connection under the control
by additional voice status announcements. Typically, such
noti?cations to the subscriber may be sent by sent by both
of the buttons at 257 labeled “Play,” “Pause,” “Stop” and
voice announcement and audible signals over the voice
For the convenience of the subscriber, notes on the call in
connection or by sending status displays in the form of
progress may be entered in the memo boX seen at 262 in
revised HTML pages for display on the subscriber’s moni
tor. In accordance With the invention, noti?cation messages
displayed on the monitor are frequently less disruptive;
accordingly, by checking the checkboX seen at 223 on the
FIG. 2. Pressing the “Save” form button at 264 causes the
form of FIG. 4, the subscriber may disable the supplemental
entered notes to be saved as a ?le at the server at a location
accessible by accessing the phone book entry for the party
as discussed in connection With FIG. 6. Alternatively, by
voice announcements.
pressing the “Save As” button, the subscriber is presented
With a form that enables the notes to be saved at a named
The full identi?cation of the incoming party is displayed
on the call-in-progress form as indicated at 224. To provide
this complete display, the host services computer matches
the telephone number of the calling telephone, provided by
the telephone system’s automatic number identi?cation
(ANI) service, against a “phone book” database (to be
discussed later) of frequently used phone numbers to obtain,
in addition to the ANI information, other descriptive infor
mation about the calling party. The name or number of the
calling party may form the anchor teXt for a hyperlink to
even more detailed phonebook information about the party
of the type to be discussed later in connection With FIGS. 5
and 6.
When the subscriber places a call to a busy line, or if there
is no ansWer before a time out period expires, the host
services computer presents a dialog boX form to the sub
Phone Book
Frequently called numbers may be accessed and dialed
using a phone book database of information. By clicking on
the hyperlink anchor teXt “Phone Book” seen at 270 on the
main menu of FIG. 2, a phone book listing page illustrated
in FIG. 5 may be displayed. This listing displays an alpha
betical list of persons and ?rms previously stored by the
scriber shoWing the status (“No AnsWer” or “Busy”) and
displaying a request prompt “Continue automatic redial
ing?” [Yes, No]. If redialing is requested, it may be per
location on persistent storage accessible to the host services
computer. Note that such information is saved at the host
services computer 41 and not at the subscriber computer 31
so that the information saved is available to the subscriber
regardless of the particular client computer used to access
the system. It is an important feature of this aspect of the
invention that subscriber may access his or her personal
information from any location using any Web broWser and/or
telephone subscriber station, such as a public telephone at an
subscriber. Using the page designating navigation bar listing
seen at 272 in FIG. 5, the subscriber may go to any desired
formed by the host services computer or, in the alternative,
the central of?ce may be requested to perform repeat dialing
subsection of the phone book to ?nd an eXisting listing. By
by sending the key sequence “*66”. Repeat dialing by the
containing more detailed information is presented as shoWn
in FIG. 6. If the person of interest is not found on the listing
of FIG. 5, the hyperlink anchor teXt “Add NeW” at 274 at the
right side of the navigation bar 272 may be clicked on to
display a blank for of the type shoWn in FIG. 5 to enable a
clicking on the name of the person or ?rm of interest, a form
central of?ce may be deactivated on the request of the
subscriber by notifying the host services computer Which, in
turn, transmits the dialtone sequence “*68” to deactivate
central of?ce repeat dialing.
Other call in progress controls Which are provided by the
call-in-progress form of FIG. 4. The button 225 labeled
“Record” may be pressed to create a recording of the
neW entry to be created.
conversation, preferably by ?rst generating a con?rming
dialog boX and, if desired, informing the called party by
The form seen at FIG. 6 accepts and, When submitted,
stores information about frequently called numbers and is
the source of database information displayable at 224 in the
call-in-progress form. Notes saved during previous conver
voice announcement or signal, as appropriate, that the
sations With the person identi?ed on the form may be vieWed
conversation is being recorded. By pressing the “Hold”
by pressing the button labeled “See Notes” at 276 in FIG. 6.
Note that this button Will only be present When notes have
been previously recorded for that person or ?rm; otherWise,
the CGI script Which generates the form in response to the
activation of the associate hyperlink on the form of FIG. 5
Will not include the button on the generated form. The phone
book data itself may be advantageously stored using a
button 227, the call in progress may be placed on hold in the
normal Way so that, for eXample, a incoming call signaled by
the “call Waiting” function can be handled. So that more
important calls or data connections are not interrupted, call
Waiting may be deactivated by checking the checkboX at
229. By pressing the button 232 labeled “Conference,” the
subscriber may request to have additional parties included in
a conference call, Which is accomplished by again display
conventional SQL server Which interoperates With a rela
tional database (such as the Sybase SQL Server V.11).
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US 6,445,694 B1
The database for each called number potentially includes
not only the phone number for that party, but also fax and
pager numbers and email addresses. Phone calls, fax
transmissions, paging transmissions and email messages
may be initiated immediately from the form seen in FIG. 6
by pressing the appropriate one of the activation buttons
seen at 280. In addition, by checking the checkbox at 282,
calls originating from this caller may be screened and
blocked altogether, or may be routed to voice mail according
to the instructions provided by the subscriber selectable
radio button options indicated at 286. The drop-doWn list
box at 289 permits the subscriber to designate the voice
is directed to forWard calls to the number entered in the input
box at 305 in FIG. 7 except When a time period speci?ed by
the four leftmost columns in the table at 310 is satis?ed, in
Which case incoming calls are instead forWarded to the
number in the associated right hand column.
The host services computer activates call forWarding by
taking the line carrying the incoming call off-hook, sending
vated; otherWise, if there is no ansWer or a busy signal, a
mailbox to Which voice mail from this caller is directed.
Similarly, the drop-doWn list boxes at 293 and 294 respec
tively alloW the subscriber to designate the mailbox loca
tions for fax transmission ?les and email messages received
from this caller. When the form is completed to the sub
scriber’s satisfaction, the information it contains is saved for
future use in the database maintained by the host services
dialog box (not shoWn in the draWings) is displayed on the
subscriber’s monitor (if active), asking the subscriber if the
attempt to activate call forWarding should be attempted by
redialing until canceled.
Message Routing
The subscriber may control the manner in Which Email,
voicemail and fax transmissions are handled using the form
seen in FIG. 8. To effect email handling, the host services
computer When the subscriber presses the “Save as ShoWn”
button 299 at the bottom of the form of FIG. 6.
computer operates as a POP mailbox and SMTP server for
Call ForWarding
When hypertext option 300 is clicked on the main menu
form seen in FIG. 2, the form seen in FIG. 7 is displayed on
the subscriber’s monitor. This form alloWs the subscriber to
specify the manner in Which incoming calls are forWarded
the key sequence “#72” to the central of?ce and, When dial
tone is received from the central of?ce, dialing the forWard
ing number previously entered by the subscriber on line 2.
When the called number ansWers, call forWarding is acti
receiving and sending email respectively. In order to coor
dinate email, voicemail and fax transmission, the host ser
vices computer may advantageously employ a set of con
ventional format conversion functions including: voice to
text speech recognition for converting voice mail into text
and implements “FolloW me” call forWarding to enable calls
to be automatically forWarded to one of plurality of different
numbers in accordance With a predetermined time schedule.
First, at the times When the subscriber is using a particular
form suitable for transmission via email as Well as by voice
computer, he or she may place a checkbox at 302 to instruct
the host services computer to attempt to establish a voice
email. The information provided on the form of FIG. 8,
Which is self explanatory, alloWs email, fax and voice mail
messages to be forWarded, stored, and redirected in a variety
of Ways in response to option selections made by the
?le MIME attachments to email; optical character recogni
tion for translating fax transmissions into text form for email
transmission as Well as by MIME fax ?le attachments to
connection via the Internet using IP telephony to the IP
(Internet Protocol) address being used (during this session)
by the subscriber computer. IP telephony uses the Internet to
35 subscriber as shoWn.
Similarly, the form seen in FIG. 9 provides a mechanism
send audio betWeen tWo or more computer users in real time,
so the users can converse, and offers the ability to combine
voice and data on one netWork. IP telephony also offers
for establishing voice mail mailboxes and governing special
functions performed by each. As seen at 286 in FIG. 6,
incoming calls from persons or ?rms identi?ed in the phone
book database may be automatically routed to voice mail
boxes designated using the form of FIG. 9. This form alloWs
the subscriber to set a passWord or pin number (set and reset
loW-cost long distance “telephone” service (assuming the
user already has a multimedia PC and a ?xed-rate Internet
service provider [ISP] account). IP gateWays bridge the
traditional circuit-sWitched telephony World With the Inter
net and offer the advantages of IP telephony to the most
common, cheapest, most mobile, and easiest-to-use terminal
in the World: the standard telephone. The gateWay takes the
by pressing the button at 321), to automatically save and/or
standard telephone signal, digitiZes it (if it is not already
digital), signi?cantly compresses it, packetiZes it for the
forWard voice mail routed to this mailbox to speci?c direc
tories or recipients, and to.
The voice mailbox form seen in FIG. 9 further displays a
listing of all undeleted voicemail received by this mailbox,
operation for packets coming in from the netWork and going
out the phone. Both operations (coming from and going to
along With the date and time recorded and the identi?cation
of the caller. By pressing the hypertext link “Review” seen
at 333 in FIG. 9, the host services computer sends the HTML
page seen in FIG. 10 Which displays the voice recogniZed
the phone netWork) take place at the same time, alloWing a
text of the selected message at 340 and enables the sub
full-duplex (tWo-Way) conversation. GateWay products
scriber to control the audio playback of the message using
Internet using Internet Protocol (IP), and routes it to a
destination over the Internet. The gateWay reverses the
Which may be used at the host services computer 41 are
conventional and may be obtained from Dialogic and other
vendors, and are compatible With client (subscriber) soft
the HTML buttons seen at 342. In addition, the form seen in
FIG. 10 enables the subscriber to save the voice mail
message as an audio ?le or send it to as a voice ?le MIME
Ware Which enables the connected subscriber computer to
receive and send voice signals over the IP connection. When
attachment to email. Similarly, the voice recogniZed text
may be edited by the user using the memo form at 340, and
IP telephony is used, the subscriber uses the handset 37 for
voice communications With the handset 37 being connected
to the soundcard of the subscriber PC; otherWise, the handset
is connected to the telephone subscriber line (Which may be
shared With the modem 36 for data).
If the checkbox 302 is not checked, the host services
computer uses the Internet connection for control functions,
saved or sent as an email attachment.
but establishes a voice connection via the conventional
dialup telephone line. Normally, the host services computer
Paging Services
The subscriber may select the hypertext link option 400
seen on the main menu of FIG. 2 to display a form as seen
in FIG. 11 to control paging services. The subscriber enters
the phone
FIG. 1) in
and radio
number of his or her paging service (see 85 in
the input line box at 422. Using the checkboxes
buttons provided on the form of FIG. 11, the
may designate the conditions under Which auto
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US 6,445,694 B1
matic paging is to occur When incoming voice, faX and email
application of the principles of the invention. Numerous
messages are received. The form of FIG. 11 also displays a
modi?cations may be made by those skilled in the art
Without departing from the true spirit and scope of the
What is claimed is:
1. The method of processing telephone calls on behalf of
a subscriber Which comprises, in combination, the steps of:
history list of prior automatically generated paging messages
for revieW by the subscriber using the Web connection.
Voice and DTMF Controls
In order to control the host services computer using
nothing but a conventional telephone stationset, such as the
telephone 38 or 81 seen in FIG. 1, conventional voice
command interpreters and dialtone control mechanisms may
be employed. These techniques, noW in common use in
connecting a Web broWser accessible to said subscriber to
the Internet,
connecting a Web server to the Internet at a location
remote from said Web broWser,
employing said Web broWser to submit preference data to
said Web server via the Internet, said preference data
voicemail systems, may be implemented using voice com
mand interpretation and speech recognition softWare com
ponents available from Pure Speech Corp. One Widely used
voice controlled telephone systems Which has enjoyed con
siderable success is the Wild?re System offered by Wild?re
de?ning the manner in Which said subscriber desires to
have telephone calls processed,
storing said preference data as submitted in a database,
In addition to the hardWare interface products offered by
Dialogic, the Generations TSP system marketed by Voicetek
Corp., 19 Alpha Rd., Chelmsford, Mass. provides a tele
phony server platform that bridges telecommunications and
miXed-media information processing networks, linking dif
ferent communications tools including telephones,
employing call processing apparatus coupled to said data
base and to the public sWitched telephone netWork for
employing said call processing apparatus to forWard said
computers, faXes, speech recognition and speech synthesis
incoming telephone calls to one or more telephone
components, and providing services for telephony
sequencing, physical interfacing activities and telephony
Speech synthesis programs Which may be employed to
speci?ed by said preference data.
convert teXt to speech for replay over the telephone voice
2. The method set forth in claim 1 Wherein the step of
connection include: ProVoice (V.2.1)/PrimoVoX marketed
Pioneer Ave. Torrance, Calif. 90503, Which enables pro
grammers to add synthesiZed speech to applications, ana
speech synthesis product Which may be employed is VoX
Fonts (V.1.0) sold by Voice Information Systems, Inc., 2118
Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 973, Santa Monica, Calif. 90403, Which
provides a teXt-to-speech synthesis library of programs that
translates ASCII teXt into digital audio ?le, supporting
selectively recording voice mail messages includes the step
of recording voice mail messages from the originators of
incoming calls from selected ones of a set of telephone
numbers speci?ed by said preference data.
lyZes and translates teXt into sound descriptors, phonetic
language With pitch, duration and amplitude codes needed to
produce stress patterns in phrases and sentences. A second
numbers designated by said preference data via said
public sWitched telephone netWork, and
selectively recording voice mail messages from persons
originating said incoming telephone calls in a manner
by First Byte (subsidiary of CUC International, Inc.), 19840
receiving incoming telephone calls directed to said
subscriber from said public sWitched telephone
3. The method set forth in claim 1 further including the
step of transmitting a listing of said voice mail messages to
a remote user from said Web server, employing said Web
server to accept a selection of one of said voice mail
messages from said remote user, and thereafter transmitting
to said remote user an audio ?le containing the voice mail
message designated by said selection.
Dialogic and other industry standard formats and uses
concatenated human speech for natural sound, and alloWs
4. The method set forth in claim 1 further including the
step of employing voice recognition means for translating a
the user to add translation rules or specify pronunciations for
dif?cult or foreign Words.
selected one of said voice mail messages into a ?le of teXt
data and for transmitting said ?le of teXt data to a destination
SoftWare components for handling FaX-To-Voice transla
tion are available from Malibu SoftWare Group, Inc., 23852
in a manner speci?ed by said preference data.
5. AThe method set forth in claim 4 Wherein said ?le of
Paci?c Coast HWy., Ste. 909, Malibu, Calif., Which faXed
teXt data is transmitted in an email message to an email
document to be converted into spoken Words. This faX to
voice system provides the ability to receive and store faX
documents in user’s mailboX similar to regular voice mail
messages, and incorporates mechanisms for providing secu
address speci?ed in said preference data.
6. The method set forth in claim 1 Wherein at least some
and Wherein the step of employing said call processing
apparatus to forWard said incoming telephone calls includes
rity and control of information. Can be integrated With other
voice mail systems.
In general, using conventional speech and command
recognition, DTMF tone signaling detection, and speech
synthesis techniques for sending voice prompts and infor
of said incoming telephone calls are facsimile transmissions
the step of converting said content into a MIME ?le attach
ment transmitted by email to an email address speci?ed by
said preference data.
7. The method set forth in claim 1 Wherein at least some
mation to the user, all of the control functions discussed in
of said incoming telephone calls are facsimile transmissions
detail above using the HTML/CGI interface may be repli
and Wherein the step of employing said call processing
apparatus to forWard said incoming telephone calls further
cated using voice controls via the telephone line, permitting
the host services computer to be controlled using either the
Website or the voice interface. Nonetheless, because voice
system for storing messages recorded by the originators of
prompts must be presented sequentially and voice response
interpretation is similarly cumbersome in many cases, the
Web interface contemplated by the present invention pro
vides a preferred control mechanism for many functions.
It is to be understood that the embodiment of the invention
Which has been described is merely illustrative on one
includes the steps of establishing a voice mailboX storage
said incoming calls, employing faX-to-voice means for con
verting the content of speci?ed ones of said faX messages
into voice data, and storing said voice data in said voice
mailboX storage system.
8. The method set forth in claim 1 Wherein at least some
of said incoming telephone calls are facsimile transmissions
Bright House Networks - Ex. 1105, Page 19
US 6,445,694 B1
and wherein the step of employing said call processing
apparatus to forward said incoming telephone calls further
includes the steps of employing character recognition means
forWarding at least some of said incoming calls to a desig
messages into teXt data and transmitting said teXt data to a
nated computer in a manner speci?ed by said preference
12. The method set forth in claim 11 further including the
step of ?rst attempting to forWard at least given ones of said
designated destination in a manner designated by said pref
incoming calls via an Internet connection to a designated
erence data.
cornputer accessible to said subscriber and, When said Inter
net connection is unavailable, forWarding said given ones of
for converting the content of speci?ed ones of said faX
9. The method set forth in claim 8 Wherein said step of
said incoming calls via the public sWitched telephone net
transmitting said teXt data comprises transmitting said teXt
data in the content of an email message to an email address
Work to one or more telephone numbers as speci?ed by said
speci?ed by said preference data.
preference data.
10. The method set forth in claim 1 further comprising the
step of transmitting a paging message to said subscriber
upon the receipt of selected incoming calls in a manner
forWarding said incoming calls further comprises the step of
altering the forWarding destination for said incoming calls at
speci?ed by said preference data.
13. The method set forth in claim 1 Wherein said step of
11. The method set forth in claim 1 further including the
step of establishing a voice connection via the Internet for
chronological tirnes speci?ed by said preference data.
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