O`\“- 106
US 20080045236A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2008/0045236 A1
(43) Pub. Date:
Nahon et al.
(54)
Feb. 21, 2008
METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR
(52)
GATHERING AND DELIVERING
CONTEXTUAL MESSAGES IN A MOBILE
COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
(57)
ABSTRACT
Methods and apparatus for delivering personalized (e.g.,
Us. or. .................................................. .. 455/4561
contextual) messages to a user that meets certain geographic,
(76) Inventors:
Georges Nahon, San Francisco,
af?liation/metadata, timing, and/or or other criteria. These
messages are geographically and logically persistent, and
CA (US); Gabriel Sidhom, Mill
Valley, CA (U S)
can be left by members of the user’s social or “buddy”
network, individuals, institutions, the user’s service provider
Correspondence Address:
(s), or even advertisers or others seeking a commercial
GAZDZINSKI & ASSOCIATES
11440 WEST BERNARDO COURT, SUITE 375
opportunity. These messages can be rendered in the form of
voice, video, audio (e.g., MP3), text and graphics delivered
SAN DIEGO, CA 92127
to mobile phones, PDA’s or other devices with network
(21) Appl. No.:
11/506,690
(22) Filed:
Aug. 18, 2006
connectivity. Exemplary embodiments of the invention
incorporate existing geo-localiZation technologies such as
GPS embedded in these mobile platforms, or triangulation
via signals from the cellular/PCS networks, IP addressing,
presence in ad hoc networks, cell ID, E9ll/Ell2, Time of
Arrival (TOA), Time Di?‘erence of Arrival (TDOA),
Observed Time Di?‘erence (OTD) and Angle of Arrival
Publication Classi?cation
(51)
Int. Cl.
H04Q 7/20
(AOA).
(2006.01)
O'\“- 106
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Patent Application Publication
Feb. 21, 2008 Sheet 1 0f 9
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START
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US 2008/0045236 A1
I\
300
V
I
STORE A CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE AND ASSOC.
LOCATION AND AFFILIATION INFORMATION
304
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RECEIVE POSITION LOCATION INFORMATION AND
306
AFFILIATION INFORMATION FOR AN MCD
MATCH A CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE WITH THE
307
LOCATION AND AFFILIATION OF THE MCD
RECEIVE A REQUEST TO RECEIVE CONTEXTUAL
MESSAGES ‘FROM THE MCD.
308
TRANSMIT THE MATCHED CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE
TO THE MCD
310
RECEIVE A CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE FOR
STORAGE IN A CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE, DATABASE
312
STORE A CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE IN THE
CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE DATABASE
END
314
'
Fig. 3
Patent Application Publication
Feb. 21, 2008 Sheet 6 0f 9
US 2008/0045236 A1
START I
322
INDEX METADATA DATABASE(S) FOR UPDATES
324
\
,
APPLY RANKING ALGORITHM
326 \
UPDATE ACCESS PRIVILEGES AND SECURITY
328
REQUIREMENTS
MANAGE AND UPDATE PREFERENCES
330
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MANAGE AND UPDATE ACCESS RIGHTS
332
\
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UPATE RECORDS? INCLUDE LOCATION
INFORMATION (E.G., GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES)
334
X
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EVALUATE LOCATION INFORMATION SOURCES
V
CONTINUE I
Fig. 3a
Patent Application Publication
Feb. 21, 2008 Sheet 7 0f 9
I
START
402
US 2008/0045236 A1
'\
400
x
'
TRANSMITTING A SET OF AFFILIATIONS FOR THE
'
MCD
404
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TRACKING THE LOCATION OF THE MCD
406
TRANSMITTING LOCATION TO A CENTRAL SERVER
407
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REQUEST CONTEXTUAL MESSAGES
408
RECEIVING A CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE
410
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DISPLAYING SAID CONTEXTUAL MESSAGE
412
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TRANSMITTING A TEXTUAL MESSAGE INCLUDING
AN ASSOCIATED LOCATION AND AFFILIATION
v
END
414
Fig. 4
Patent Application Publication
Feb. 21, 2008 Sheet 8 0f 9
US 2008/0045236 A1
sTART
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CACHE TAG/METADATA (E.G., ON MCD)
s04
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506
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NETWORK)
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512 \\
UPDATE METADATA lF REQUIRED
CONTINUE
Fig. 5a
Patent Application Publication
Feb. 21, 2008 Sheet 9 0f 9
US 2008/0045236 A1
START
520
CREATE MESSAGE
522
1
CREATE OR OBTAIN METADATA
524
FORM ASSOCIATIONS‘ AUTHENTiCATE
526
UPLOAD MESSAGE CONTENT AND METADATA TO
SERVER
l CONTINUE l
Fig. 5b
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR
GATHERING AND DELIVERING
CONTEXTUAL MESSAGES IN A MOBILE
COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
RELATED APPLICATIONS
[0001] This application is related to co-pending US.
patent application Ser. No. 11/317,473 ?led Dec. 22, 2005
entitled “Methods And Apparatus For Organizing And Pre
senting Contact Information In A Mobile Communication
System”, and also co-pending US. patent application Ser.
No. 11/026,421 ?led Jan. 31, 2004 entitled “Method for
interacting With automated information agents using con
versational queries”, both of Which are incorporated herein
by reference in their entirety.
COPYRIGHT
geographical location. The current location is typically
determined via the Global Positioning System (GPS) and its
associated satellite constellation, the construction and use of
Which is Well knoWn in the art. The location information
may be used for reporting the user’s location during emer
gency calls, or it may be used for providing services such as
navigation. For example, the FindMe service offered by
NextelTM provides maps and other directional services based
on the current location of the user as reported by the mobile
communication device.
[0009] Other approaches to position location may also be
employed, such as Where existing infrastructure of the bearer
netWork (e.g., base stations distributed throughout a cellular
netWork or RAN) is used to geo-locate a speci?c subscriber
based on their forWard or reverse channel communications.
[0010]
An internet service or theme that has become
highly popular in recent times is so-called “social netWork
[0002] A portion of the disclosure of this patent document
contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The
ing.” Social netWorking sites include e.g., MySpaceTM,
LinkedInTM, FriendsterTM, GetmylookTM, and aSmall
copyright oWner has no objection to the facsimile reproduc
tion by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclo
WorldTM. These social netWorking sites alloW people to
exchange information and messages With one another, and
sure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Of?ce patent
may be organiZed around the interests or attributes of their
users. For example, LinkedIn is focused on business inter
?les or records, but otherWise reserves all copyright rights
Whatsoever.
ests and connections. MySpace is more general, but has
some focus on music. Getmylook has a fashion focus and
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
[0003] 1. Field of Invention
[0004] The present invention is related to the ?eld of
mobile communications. More particularly, the present
invention is directed to a method and apparatus for gathering
and delivering contextual messages in a mobile communi
cations network; e.g., cellular telephone netWork.
[0005] 2. Description of Related Technology
[0006]
Mobile communications devices (MCDs) such as
cellular telephones, smartphones and personal information
managers (PIMs) such as the BlackberryTM device manu
factured by RIM typically exchange messages With one or
more other users. These messages are typically text mes
aSmallWorld is an exclusive invitation-only netWork
designed for socialites and other “Jet Set” people. These
social netWorking sites have become highly popular and are
used to exchange all sorts of information that is of interest
to their members.
[0011]
Another popular Internet service is “tag” based
information storage. The most Well knoW of these tag-based
storage sites is Flickr. Flickr is a tag-based digital photo
graph site that alloWs people to store their photos With test
tags that describe some attribute of the picture and can be
searched on by other users. That is, a tag in this context
comprises a Word or other identi?er that may be searched on
by other users to ?nd material of interest (e.g., metadata).
sages, but may also be images, video, audio or any combi
[0012]
nation thereof. MCD users typically receive messages via a
Wireless interface and vieW or hear the messages via one or
more output devices such as a display screen or speaker.
Users may generate “text” messages for transmission to
prior art. For example, the service provided by Dodgeball.
others via a keyboard, keypad or other input device (e.g.,
roller Wheel, stick, mouse, etc.) the use of Which is Well
knoWn in the art. These text messages may also include
pictures, sounds or other media either embedded therein or
attached thereto.
“Friend contact” services are also knoWn in the
com (Google Inc.) alloWs users to contact their friend via
text messaging; users enter their friend or “buddy” lists, and
then send a communication to the server indicating their
present location. The service then sends out messages to the
persons listed on the user’s list, thereby notifying them of
the user’s present location. This service, hoWever, suffers
from several disabilities including the inability of a user to
knoW the locations of his/her friends, family, buddies, etc.
Rather, the Dodgeball approach merely broadcasts informa
[0007] As noted above, the messages exchanged via
mobile communication devices are typically exchanged
tion based on the initiating user’s location, and the user
using a Wireless interface. Communication is typically con
ducted over the Wireless interface using radio frequency
no information as to the status or location of the persons on
regarding Which the information Was broadcast is provided
(WiFi), IEEE 801.15, IEEE 802.16, or BluetoothTM, the use
of Which is Well knoWn in the art, although any Wireless
interface may be employed. Other Wireless interfaces such
his/her list that are receiving the messages. It also suffers
from requiring too much user manual entry, Which can
become very tedious, especially in the case of larger contact
lists.
[0013] With the adoption of 3G and other mobile com
munication services (such as WAP), MCDs have mobile
access to the Internet and all the services associated there
as millimeter Wave, infrared, optical or laser may also be
With, including social netWorking, tag-based database, and
employed.
friend contact services. Additionally, as mentioned above,
MCDs noW typically include position location services as
Well as messaging services.
(RF) electromagnetic signals. The RF signals are often
processed in accordance With one or more knoW communi
cations standards such as Without limitation GSM, IS-95,
TDMA, AMPS, CDMA2000, W-CDMA, IEEE 802.11
[0008]
Many modem MCDs also include position location
capability. That is, the MCD can determine its current
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
[0014]
Given the need for ever-more useful services in the
mobile communications sector, it Would be highly desirable
to provide social networking, tag-based, and friend contact
functionality that take greater advantage of the existing
capabilities of MCDs, including their inherent mobility and
position location and messaging functionality.
mation is received by the server from a proxy of the mobile
communication device. In another variant, the mobile com
munication device location and mobile communication
device af?liation information is received from the mobile
communication device by Way of a Wireless netWork.
[0023]
In another variant, the method further comprises:
receiving a neW contextual message from an external source,
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
[0015]
The present invention satis?es the foregoing needs
by providing, inter alia, methods and apparatus for gathering
and delivering contextual messages in a mobile communi
cations network.
[0016] In accordance With one aspect of the invention, a
method for operating a mobile communications netWork is
provided. In one embodiment, the netWork includes a con
textual message server and a mobile communications device
(MCD) communicating With the contextual message server
via at least a Wireless link, and the method of operating the
mobile communications netWork comprises: detecting a
location and an af?liation of the mobile communication
the neW contextual message having associated location and
affiliation information; and storing the neW contextual mes
sage for comparison With future mobile communication
device location and affiliation information. The external
source might comprise a second mobile communication
device, a social netWorking service, restaurant revieW or
guide service, etc. The contextual messages include meta
data, the metadata comprising at least one of: (i) provenance
information, and (ii) time of creation information.
[0024] In another variant, the act of evaluating comprises
matching at least portions of the message location and
affiliation With the mobile communication device location
and mobile communication device affiliation. The matching
device; identifying contextual messages in the contextual
is performed by determining if the location of the MCD is
message server having location and affiliation parameters
Within at least one of: (i) a prescribed distance of, and (ii) a
that match the detected location and affiliation, thereby
designated irregularly shaped area of the location associated
generating a set of identi?ed contextual messages; transmit
ting the set of identi?ed contextual messages from the
contextual message server to the mobile communication
device.
With the contextual message.
[0025] In yet another variant, the method further com
prises transmitting a request from the MCD to the contextual
message server, the request including an affiliation, and the
request indicating that the contextual message server should
send any other or subsequent contextual messages to the
MCD that have the same location and af?liation.
[0026] In a third aspect of the invention, a method for
operating a mobile communications device (MCD) is dis
closed. In one embodiment, the method comprises: deter
mining a location associated With the mobile communica
tions device; transmitting the location via a Wireless
[0017]
In one variant, the af?liation includes membership
in a social netWork, a subscription to a restaurant revieW
service, or selection of a historical information tour, and is
determined based at least in part on a metadata tag.
[0018] In another variant, the contextual message server
stores the af?liations of a plurality of mobile communication
devices associated With respective ones of different users.
[0019] In yet another variant, the identi?cation is per
formed by determining if the location of the MCD is Within
a prescribed distance of the location associated With the
contextual message. The prescribed distance can be speci
?ed by the user via input into the MCD, or via another
source or mechanism. Alternatively, the identi?cation is
performed by determining if the location of the MCD is
Within a prescribed geographic area of the location associ
ated With the contextual message, the geographic area
optionally being irregular in shape.
[0020] In still another variant, the method further com
prises transmitting a request from the MCD to the contextual
message server, the request including an affiliation, and the
request indicating that the contextual message server should
send any contextual messages to the MCD that have the
same location and af?liation.
[0021]
In a second aspect of the invention, a method for
interface to a message server; and receiving a message from
the server based at least in part on the location and an
affiliation of the mobile communication device. In one
variant, the mobile communications device stores the a?ili
ation and transmits the affiliation to the message server, and
the location comprises a proximity to a reference point. The
reference point can be ?xed or substantially mobile.
[0027] In a fourth aspect of the invention, a communica
tions netWork for delivering contextual messages is dis
closed. In one embodiment, the netWork comprises: contex
tual message server apparatus adapted to: store contextual
messages and location and af?liation information associated
thereWith; receive mobile communication device (MCD)
location information; match contextual messages to the
MCD location information; and transmit matched contextual
messages; and at least one MCD adapted to: interface With
operating a contextual message server in a netWork that
includes a Wireless link to a mobile communication device
the contextual message server via a Wireless link; determine
is disclosed. In one embodiment, the method comprises:
storing a contextual message, and an associated message
information to the contextual message server apparatus; and
receive the matched contextual messages from the server
location and af?liation for the contextual message; receiving
apparatus.
the MCD location information; transmit the MCD location
mobile communication device location and mobile commu
[0028]
nication device af?liation information; evaluating the mes
sage location and affiliation With the mobile communication
device location and mobile communication device af?lia
tion; and transmitting the contextual message to the mobile
communication device via the Wireless link.
[0022] In one variant, the mobile communication device
location and mobile communication device a?iliation infor
munications device adapted for at least receiving contextual
In a ?fth aspect of the invention, a mobile com
messages is disclosed. In one embodiment, the mobile
communication device comprises: Wireless interface appa
ratus adapted to communicate data With at least one other
device; location apparatus adapted to determine location
information; a memory for storing softWare instructions; a
microprocessor in data communication With the memory and
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
adapted to execute the software instructions, and control the
wireless interface apparatus; wherein the software instruc
tions cause the device to: transmit the location information
to a message server, and receive messages having at least
location information that matches that of the transmitted
location information.
[0029] In another embodiment, the mobile communica
tions device (MCD) comprises: wireless interface apparatus
adapted to communicate data with at least one other device,
the at least one other device being adapted to determine the
location of the MCD based on the communication of data;
a memory for storing software instructions; a microproces
sor in data communication with the memory and adapted to
execute the software instructions, and control the wireless
interface apparatus; wherein the software instructions cause
the device to receive messages having at least location
information that matches that of the of the location deter
mined by the at least one other device.
[0030]
In one variant, the at least one other device com
prises a wireless network node, and the determination of the
[0039] FIG. 3 is a logical ?ow chart illustrating an exem
plary server-side process utiliZed in accordance with one
embodiment of the invention.
[0040] FIG. 3a is a logical ?ow chart illustrating an
exemplary method of operating a server according to the
present invention.
[0041]
FIG. 4 is a logical ?ow chart illustrating an exem
plary client-side process performed in accordance with one
embodiment of the invention.
[0042] FIG. 5a is a logical ?ow chart illustrating an
exemplary embodiment of existing tag (metadata) process
ing according to the invention.
[0043]
FIG. 5b is a logical ?ow chart illustrating an
exemplary embodiment of tag processing according to the
invention when no existing tags are present.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
INVENTION
[0044] Reference is now made to the drawings wherein
like numerals refer to like parts throughout.
location of the MCD comprises determining membership in
[0045]
an ad hoc wireless network.
network” refer generally to any type of telecommunications
or data network including, without limitation, wireless and
[0031] In another variant, the at least one other device
comprises a cellular network base station or mobile switch
ing center (MSC).
[0032] In a sixth aspect of the invention, a contextual
message server for storing contextual messages is disclosed.
In one embodiment, the contextual message server com
prises: memory con?gured to store software instructions; a
microprocessor in communication with the memory and
con?gured to execute the software instructions, wherein the
software instructions cause the microprocessor to: maintain
a database of contextual messages and associated locations
As used herein, the terms “networ ” and “bearer
Radio Area (RAN) networks, hybrid ?ber coax (HFC)
networks, satellite networks, telco networks, and data net
works (including MANs, WANs, LANs, WLANs, internets,
and intranets). Such networks or portions thereof may utiliZe
any one or more different topologies (e.g., ring, bus, star,
loop, etc.), transmission media (e.g., wired/RF cable, RF
wireless, millimeter wave, optical, etc.) and/or communica
tions or networking protocols (e.g., SONET, DOCSIS, IEEE
Std. 802.3, ATM, X.25, Frame Relay, 3GPP, 3GPP2, WAP,
SIP, UDP, FTP, RTP/RTCP, H.323, etc.).
and af?liations; receive mobile communication device loca
[0046]
tion information; determine an af?liation for at least one
“RAN” refer generally to any wireless network including,
mobile communication device for which the location infor
mation has been received; identify at least one message from
the database based at least in part on the af?liation and the
location information; and transmit at least a portion of the at
without limitation, those complying with the 3GPP, 3GPP2,
GSM, IS-95, IS-54/136, IEEE Std. 802.11, Bluetooth,
WiMAX, IrdA, or PAN (e.g., IEEE Std. 802.15) standards.
least one matching message to the at least one mobile
including without limitation DSSS/CDMA, TDMA, FHSS,
communication device.
[0033] In one variant, the af?liation comprises a search
term, and the identi?cation of the at least one message
comprises identifying the at least one message via the search
term matching metadata associated therewith.
[0034] These and other features of the invention will
OFDM, FDMA, or any combinations or variations thereof.
become apparent from the following description of the
invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying
drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0035] FIG. 1 is a plan view of an exemplary mobile
communications device useful with the present invention.
[0036] FIG. 1a is a functional block diagram of a mobile
communications device con?gured in accordance with one
embodiment of the invention.
[0037] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an exemplary mobile
communications network con?gured according to one
embodiment of the invention.
[0038] FIG. 2a is a functional block diagram ofa contex
tual information server con?gured in accordance with one
embodiment of the invention.
As used herein, the terms “radio area network” or
Such radio networks may utiliZe literally any air interface,
[0047]
As used herein, the terms “Internet” and “internet”
are used interchangeably to refer to inter-networks includ
ing, without limitation, the Internet.
[0048] As used herein, the terms “mobile client device”
and “MCD” include, but are not limited to, personal digital
assistants (PDAs), handheld computers, personal communi
cators, J2ME equipped devices, cellular telephones, “SIP”
phones, personal computers (PCs) and minicomputers,
whether desktop, laptop, or otherwise, or literally any other
device capable of receiving video, audio or data over a
network.
[0049] As used herein, the term “network agent” refers to
any network entity (whether software, ?rmware, and/or
hardware based) adapted to perform one or more speci?c
purposes. For example, a network agent may comprise a
computer program running in server belonging to a network
operator, which is in communication with one or more
processes on a client device or other device.
[0050]
As used herein, the term “application” refers gen
erally to a unit of executable software that implements a
certain functionality or theme. The themes of applications
vary broadly across any number of disciplines and functions
(such as communications, instant messaging, content man
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
agement, e-commerce transactions, brokerage transactions,
home entertainment, calculator etc.), and one application
may have more than one theme. The unit of executable
softWare generally runs in a predetermined environment; for
example, the unit could comprise a doWnloadable Java
XletTM that runs Within the J avaTM environment.
[0051]
As used herein, the term “computer program” or
“software” is meant to include any sequence or human or
machine cogniZable steps Which perform a function. Such
program may be rendered in virtually any programming
language or environment including, for example, C/C++,
For‘tran, COBOL, PASCAL, assembly language, markup
languages (e.g., HTML, SGML, XML, VOXML), and the
[0059] As used herein, the term “image” refers to both still
images and video or other types of graphical representations
of visual imagery. For example, an image might comprise a
J PEG ?le, MPEG or AVC-encoded video, or rendering in yet
another format.
[0060] As used herein, the term “cellular” includes any
form of cell-based mobile communications system including
cellular telephones, “Walkie-talkie” devices (such as those
marketed by Nextel and Motorola Corporations, and so
called PTx (“push-to-anything”) devices such as the exem
plary PTT (push-to-talk over cellular) devices Which estab
lish and tear doWn SIP or other communications sessions as
like, as Well as object-oriented environments such as the
part of their protocol.
[0061] As used herein, the terms “position” and “coordi
Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA),
JavaTM (including J2ME, Java Beans, etc.) and the like.
nate(s)” refers to any method of determining, estimating or
predicting the position of a device, user, or object/location.
[0052]
For example, coordinates for a position determination or
As used herein, the term “server” refers to any
computerized component, system or entity regardless of
form Which is adapted to provide data, ?les, applications,
content, or other services to one or more other devices or
entities on a computer netWork.
[0053] As used herein, the term “speech recognition”
“?x” may comprise a set of Global Positioning System
(GPS) or Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordi
nates, latitude/longitude, polar coordinates, or a triangula
tion via cellular base stations or Wireless access points
“beacons”, celestial reference, or even a LORAN or similar
navigation device ?x. Coordinates for a position estimation
(“EP”) may come from other devices such as passive inertial
refers to any methodology or technique by Which human or
other speech can be interpreted and converted to an elec
tronic or data format or signals related thereto, including
navigation systems (e.g., Electrostatically Supported Gyro
Without limitation, MFCC (Mel Frequency Cepstral Coef
?cients) or cochlea modeling, phoneme/Word recognition,
HMM (hidden Markov modeling), DTW (Dynamic Time
Warping) or NNs (Neural Networks).
ous ?x based on speed, direction, etc. Similarly, location
prediction can be accomplished according to any number of
methods, such as extrapolation based on a set of input
[0054] As used herein, the terms “microprocessor” and
“digital processor” are meant generally to include all types
scopic Navigator or ESGN), or extrapolation from a previ
parameters (e.g., speed, direction, etc.) or “personal” track
ing approaches, such as Without limitation that described in
United States Patent Publication No. 20050143909 to
of digital processing devices including, Without limitation,
OrWant published Jun. 30, 2005 entitled “Technique for
digital signal processors (DSPs), reduced instruction set
collecting and using information about the geographic posi
computers (RISC), general-purpose (CISC) processors,
tion of a mobile object on the earth’s surface”, Which is
microprocessors, gate arrays (e.g., FPGAs), PLDs, recon
?gurable compute fabrics (RCFs), array processors, and
incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. As described
in greater detail subsequently herein, the term “location”
application-speci?c integrated circuits (ASlCs). Such digital
processors may be contained on a single unitary lC die, or
may include coordinates or position, but is also much
broader and may include Without limitation actual or physi
distributed across multiple components.
cal proximity, psychographic proximity, and so forth.
[0055] As used herein, the term “integrated circuit (IC)”
refers to any type of device having any level of integration
(including Without limitation ULSI, VLSI, and LSl) and
OvervieW
irrespective of process or base materials (including, Without
limitation Si, SiGe, CMOS and GaAs). lCs may include, for
example, memory devices (e.g., DRAM, SRAM, DDRAM,
EEPROM/Flash, ROM), digital processors, SoC devices,
FPGAs, ASlCs, ADCs, DACs, transceivers, memory con
trollers, and other devices, as Well as any combinations
thereof.
[0062]
In one exemplary aspect, the present invention
comprises apparatus and methods for delivering personal
iZed contextual messages to a user once they meet certain
geographic or other criteria; e.g., at the moment that they
enter the sensing range of a particular location Which has
associated With it one or more messages relevant to that
location. These messages are “left” by members of the user’ s
social or “buddy” netWork, individuals, institutions, the
[0056] As used herein, the term “memory” includes any
type of integrated circuit or other storage device adapted for
user’s service provider(s), or even advertisers or others
storing digital data including, Without limitation, ROM.
PROM, EEPROM, DRAM, SDRAM, DDR/2 SDRAM,
EDO/FPMS, RLDRAM, SRAM, “?ash” memory (e.g.,
rendered in the form of voice, video, audio (e.g., MP3), text
NAND/NOR), and PSRAM.
[0057]
As used herein, the term “display” means any type
of device adapted to display information, including Without
limitation CRTs, LCDs, TFTs, plasma displays, LEDs, and
?uorescent devices.
[0058] As used herein, the term “database” refers gener
ally to one or more tangible or virtual data storage locations,
Which may or may not be physically co-located With each
other or other system components.
seeking a commercial opportunity. These messages can be
and graphics delivered to mobile phones, PDA’s or other
devices With netWork connectivity.
[0063] Exemplary embodiments of the invention incorpo
rate existing geo-localiZation technologies such as GPS
embedded in these mobile platforms, or triangulation via
signals from the cellular/PCS netWorks, to e?fect part of the
invention’s functionality. The service’s relevance and use
fulness is to some degree related to the precision of its
geo-location calculation, and hence the comparatively high
degree of precision of these techniques (or others available)
is advantageously leveraged for this purpose.
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
[0064]
To provide timely and accurate positional informa
preferably performed by softWare running on a micropro
tion regarding the user and other contacts in (or outside) the
cessor, although other implementations including ?rmWare,
network, a multi-source approach may be used, as Well as
algorithms speci?cally adapted to evaluate the information
hardWare, and even human performed steps, are also con
sistent With the invention.
from each source (and the relevance of the source at any
given time or context) to arrive at an optimiZed value.
generally in the context of a netWork providing service to a
[0071]
It Will further be appreciated that While described
Myriad different data sources can be used by the system,
customer or consumer end user domain, the present inven
including e.g., GPS/Assisted GPS, cellular base station
triangulation/ranging, IP addressing and presence in ad hoc
tion may be readily adapted to other types of environments
networks, Cell ID, Enhanced 911 (in the US), E112 (in
Europe), Time of Arrival (TOA), Time Di?ference of Arrival
(TDOA), Observed Time Di?ference (OTD) and Angle of
Arrival (AOA).
[0065] In one aspect, the aforementioned messages “left”
for a user or entity are geographically and logically persis
tent, in effect “hanging over” a given location to be retrieved
by target users (e.g., interested users, those meeting a
demographic or other such ?ltering criteria, or those to
Which the message is particularly directed) upon being
apprised by their mobile client device that there are one or
more messages associated With the location. The messages
can be identi?ed by their provenanceie.g., their social
netWork or another source4depending on the preferences
and opt-in choices set by users of the service/netWork.
[0066] In another aspect, the present invention alloWs for
“communal posting” of information, and retrieval and
updating of information associated With geographical or
other locations. This information also includes information
about the relative distance of social netWork members from
a given tagged location.
[0067] The principles of the present invention can also be
extended to: (i) non-?xed locations (e.g., those determined
ad hoc or otherWise yet Which can be de?nitively associated
With a geographic or other point of reference as a function
of time or other parameter), and (ii) “logically proximate”
locations (e.g., a user-centric or logical/psychographic frame
of reference Which can then be converted to a geographic or
other frame of reference, such as When a target user comes
Within proximity to a second user’s mobile phone, a second
user’s friend’s mobile phone, a mobile WiFi or Bluetooth
node, etc.).
[0068]
The present invention is also advantageously ?ex
ible in its deployment; many if not all of the functions can
be performed at a centraliZed server, at a third party site or
provider, or even on the user’s mobile device itself. It can
also be readily layered on existing systems, and even
adapted to make use of indigenous protocols of the netWork
and mobile device (e.g., WAP, SIP, etc.).
Detailed Description of Exemplary Embodiments
[0069]
Exemplary embodiments of the apparatus and
methods of the present invention are noW described in detail.
While various functions are ascribed herein to various
systems and components located throughout a netWork, it
should be understood that the con?guration shoWn is only
including, e.g., enterprise (e.g., corporate), public service
(non-pro?t), and govemment/military applications. Myriad
other applications are possible.
[0072] Lastly, While certain embodiments are described in
the context of Well-knoWn Jabber client/server protocols,
Internet Protocol (described in, inter alia, RFC 791 and
2460), the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), or Session
Initiation Protocol (SIP), it Will be appreciated that the
present invention may utiliZe other types of transport mecha
nisms, protocols (and in fact bearer netWorks to include
other intemets and intranets) to implement the described
functionality.
Mobile Communications Device and NetWork
[0073] FIG. 1 is a simpli?ed block diagram of a mobile
communications device con?gured in accordance With one
embodiment of the invention. The mobile communications
device (MCD) 100 is a computeriZed device that includes a
keypad 104 (or other input device such touch screen or
pen-based input, or speech recognition capability) for the
input of information such as telephone numbers, messages
and contacts names. Other input system such as scroll Wheel,
miniature “joystick”, or jog dial (not shoWn), may also be
used, the construction and use of Which is Well knoWn in the
art.
[0074]
A display 102 is also provided on the MCD 100 for
vieWing information, Which may include, for example, text,
graphics, iconic representations, video, etc. The display
device may be, for example, LCD, thin-?lm transistor
(TFT), plasma, or even a cathode ray tube (CRT) of the type
Well knoWn in the art. The display may also comprise soft
function keys (SFKs) With touch-screen capability generated
by the MCD for implementing various functions such as
entering various operating modes, shortcuts, etc. MCD also
include digital camera 106 that is used to capture digital
images for storage on the phone or transmission to others.
Camera 106 may also be used to take video for streaming or
video clips that may be stored and exchanged later.
[0075] An audio card or module With speaker(s), earpiece,
headset jack, etc. may also be provided as part of the MCD
100, such as for listening to music, the audio portion of
video, text-to-speech (TTS) messages, and so forth.
[0076] The MCD 100 comprises, in the exemplary
embodiment, a cellular telephone or “smartphone”, but any
other type of mobile or nomadic client device may be
employed as desired. For example, a laptop computer,
one embodiment of the invention, and performing the same
hand-held computer or PDA With a Wireless interface con
nection such as an IEEE Std. 802.11 “WiFi” or 3G (i.e.,
or similar functions at other nodes or location in the netWork
UMTS, 3GPP, 3GPP2, etc.) enabled computer card may
may be utiliZed consistent With other embodiments of the
invention.
comprise the MCD 100. A substantially ?xed communica
tions device (e.g., a desktop PC or the like) may also be
[0070] Also, the various systems that make up the inven
tion are typically implemented using softWare running on
semiconductor microprocessors (integrated circuits) or other
employed consistent With the invention; hoWever the bene?t
provided by the invention Will be someWhat reduced due to
computer systems the use of Which is Well knoWn in the art.
Similarly, the various processes described here are also
the lack of mobility of such a substantially ?xed commu
nication device. “Fixed” devices located on substantially
mobile platforms (e.g., cars, trucks, etc.) may also be
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
utilized. For example, the MCD 100 may comprise an
random access memory (DRAM, SRAM), read-only
integrated circuit or dashboard-mounted device in a vehicle.
memory (ROM) as Well as sloWer access memory systems
[0077] The input devices on MCD 100 such as keypad 104
may be used to enter text messages, and append or integrate
any other content to be transmitted as Well (e.g., ?le attach
also electronically couples the keypad system 162, display
ments, audio clips, graphics, etc.). These text messages may
then be transmitted to other users by Way of a one or more
interfaces in the MCD including the Wireless interface; e.g.,
cellular channel. The recipients of these messages may be
other MCDs or may be computer systems such as desktop or
laptop personal computers, Whether “in netWor ” or in
another netWork. Audio and/or visual “messages” may also
be generated by the camera or the microphone inputs for
transmission to other systems.
[0078] MCD 100 may also receive text messages from
including ?ash memory and disk drive storage. The bus 150
system 164, position location unit 164 and Wireless system
166 to the other components of the system, as is Well knoWn
in the art.
[0083]
During operation, softWare instructions stored in
the memory unit 160 are applied to the microprocessor 152
(Which also may contain its oWn internal program/data/
cache memory), Which in turn controls the other components
such as the keypad system 162, display system 164 and
Wireless system 166. The softWare causes the systems to
perform the various functions described throughout this
other users via one or more of its interfaces including the
application. Separate dedicated ICs or ASICs may also be
Wireless interfaces. These text messages may then be vieWed
on display 102. The messages may also be stored for later
vieWing. Audio or visual messages may also be heard via a
used for one or more of these functions, such as Where a
speaker (or earphone, headset, etc.) or vieWed on the display
[0084] FIG. 2 is a highly simpli?ed block diagram of a
mobile netWork con?gured in accordance With one embodi
102. Messages may be stored for later revieW.
[0079] The MCD 100 preferably interfaces With a base
station or other access point via radio frequency electro
magnetic signals (RF signals) that are modulated in accor
dance With one or more communications standards or pro
tocols. Examples of useful standards include, inter alia,
GSM, CDMA-2000, W-CDMA, TDMA (IS-54 and IS-136),
PCS, UMTS, EDGE, and IEEE 802.16, 802.15 or 802.11.
The use of other standard or non-standard Wireless interfaces
(e.g., EPCGEN2 compliant RFID) is also consistent With
other embodiments of the invention, Which is in no Way
limited to any particular standard or air interface. Alternate
embodiments, for example, may use GHZ-band satellite
transceivers or infrared, laser or magnetic (inductance) inter
faces.
[0080] Typically, the MCD 100 includes a microprocessor
and integrated circuit or other memory for storing programs
that are executed by the microprocessor (not shoWn). The
softWare running on the microprocessor controls the opera
tion of the MCD including processing input, generating
display data and generating messages to be transmitted via
the Wireless link.
[0081] The client device (MCD 100) runs the client appli
cation (“client”). The server 204 of FIG. 2, et seq. (described
subsequently herein) includes its oWn softWare application,
or a server portion of a distributed application (DA), that
processes the client requests, and sends messages to the
separate RF communications chipset or suite is used in
conjunction With a host or baseband processor.
ment of the invention. A contextual message server 204 is
coupled to one or more access points 202. These access
points 202 interface With MCD’s 200 via a Wireless inter
face. It should be clear that netWorks, especially those of the
Wireless variety, Will often incorporate many more than tWo
access points, and that multiple servers 204 may also be
employed. Accordingly, FIG. 2 is merely illustrative of the
broader principles in this regard. Additionally, FIG. 2 shoWs
multiple locations of interest 206a-b. “Locations of interest”
may be for example restaurants, tourist destinations, places
of business, of?ces, clubs, shopping centers or other places
of interest to one or a group of people. Such locations of
interest may also be moving locations (e.g., a given user’s
mobile device, PDA, etc., their car, aircraft, the moving
location of a Weekly or periodic event, such as a club
meeting, etc.) or those speci?ed ad hoc (e.g., a WiFi hotspot
or AP/ STA netWork, Bluetooth piconet, etc.).
[0085] In some embodiments of the invention, the MCD
200 may interface With only one access point 202 at any
given time thus forcing a “hard hando?‘”. In other embodi
ments of the invention, MCD 200 may interface simulta
neously With tWo or more access points to alloW for “soft
hand-off.” Other methods for hand-off and hand-over Well
knoWn to those of ordinary skill in the Wireless and cellular
arts are also consistent With various embodiments of the
corresponding client process. It Will be appreciated that
invention.
While described in terms of a client application and a server
application, the present invention is typically embodied in
[0086] The con?guration shoWn may be, for example, a
cellular telephone netWork (e.g., 3G, GSM, or UMTS). In
the form of corresponding protocol stacks resident on each
of the communicating machines. These stacks are con?g
that case, access points 202 may be “base stations” that
ured to include, inter alia, an application (user) layer, and
physical/netWork) layers that alloW interface betWeen the
modulated in accordance With one of the many mobile
communicate With MCD 200 using modulated RF signals
tWo devices to occur over the interposed bearer medium.
Wireless communication standard, many of Which have been
previously mentioned herein. Alternatively, the access
Session and security layer processes (e.g., WSP and WTLS
points 202 may be IEEE-802.11a/b/g/n (“Wi-Fi”) style
in a WAP environment) may also be interposed in the stack
of each device, as Well as other types of functionality Well
knoWn to those of ordinary skill in the art.
[0082] FIG. 1a is a block diagram ofa mobile communi
cations device con?gured in accordance With one embodi
ment of the invention. The microprocessor 152 is coupled to
memory unit 160 via the bus 150. The memory unit 150
typically includes fast access storage elements including
access points providing nomadic Wireless Internet access.
The access points 202 may also be IEEE-802.16 (“Wi
Max”) access points that deliver high speed intemet access
in both ?xed or mobiles formats. The use of other Wireless
interfaces (including those described throughout this appli
cation) is consistent With various embodiments of the inven
tion. Also, other netWork con?gurations and topologies are
consistent With the use of some embodiments of the inven
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
tion, including non-centraliZed networks, satellite based
networks, or even highly localized PANs (personal area
networks).
[0087]
The server 204 may be a single machine or process,
power control or other ancillary signaling channel or the like
not used for in-band communications may be used for this
purpose.
[0093]
Additionally, the MCDs 200 may store “affiliation”
or a network of machines/processes functioning together
information about other MCDs or other users. This af?lia
(whether physically proximate or disparate). A logical com
tion information may be input by users, or downloaded from
munication stream is established between the corresponding
other websites or information sources for such users. A?ili
client and server processes, either uni-directionally or bi
directionally as required, in order to conserve communica
ation information may comprise many types of information
tion bandwidth.
[0088] As shown in FIG. 2, the various mobile devices
may form ad hoc networks 220, 222, either directly between
themselves (network 220) or between one or more mobile
devices and an access point 202 (network 222). For
example, a “master/slave” relationship may be created in a
Bluetooth network, or an AP/STA relationship in an 802.11
network. These roles can switch as well, such as where a
Bluetooth master undergoes an identity change during
operation.
[0089]
including, but not limited to, a “buddy list”, a social net
work, a membership, an interest list, nationality, regional
af?liation, a tag, a service subscription, or literally any other
attribute (or collection of attributes) of the user that will
distinguish that user from other users.
[0094] The server 204 (or an associated network entity or
database) may store the af?liation information of different
MCDs 200 as well. A particular MCD 200 may upload or
synchroniZe its a?iliation information with the server 204, or
the server 204 may be the primary storage location for this
af?liation information. The a?iliation information may be
The access point(s) 202 in such case may also not
associated with an MCD 200 or a particular user, and the
be part of the underlying cellular network per se, but rather
merely in communication therewith via a portal, gateway,
router, or other such intermediary networking device. Other
types of ad hoc networks and protocols may be used as well.
user would then place his personal information on the MCD
to associate it with the particular af?liation information. The
[0090]
discretion. This could be done using a “smart card” or, for
During operation MCDs 200 perform position or
user may then advantageously move or migrate his/her user
information from one MCD to another MCD at the user’s
other “location” functions to determine their absolute (or
example, simply logging in or out of the “identity” of the
relative) location. This location may be performed using
MCD.
[0095] In accordance with one embodiment of the inven
tion, the server 204 also stores a database of contextual
messages for delivery to other nodes or systems based on the
GPS, triangulation, or other techniques well know in the art.
In some embodiments (e.g., wherein relative position is
used), it may be suf?cient to merely know the range to an
object, irrespective of its exact (relative) position. For
example, where the system desires to deliver a message or
posting to a second user who is proximate to a ?rst (moving)
user, it may be sufficient to simply know when the closest
particular context in which those systems are presented. This
contextual information includes, inter alia, “location” and
af?liation. That is, each contextual message will also have an
associated location ?eld and af?liation ?eld. As previously
point of approach (CPA) is reached, and this falls within a
noted, “location” information may be absolute, relative,
predetermined criterion (e.g., 500 meters).
based merely on proximity, etc. These contextual messages
In still other embodiments of the invention, the
are typically text messages generated internally by the
presence of a user’s MCD within an ad hoc network 220,
222 can be used to provide location information. For
example, if the server 204 or its proxy knows that a given
MCD is part of an ad hoc network coupled to a particular
network operator or by other entities including other users,
[0091]
businesses, advertising entities (e.g., GoogleTM Ad Server),
WiFi access point 202, then the server/proxy can apply
heuristics or a priori rules regarding the physical location of
institutions, or government entities. Other meta-information
about the message may also be stored including for example
the source (provenance), time of entry and type.
[0096] In accordance with one embodiment of the inven
that MCD relative to the user being served or a ?xed
tion, when the server 204 detects an MCD 200 at a particular
location, since the location of the access point is known by
the server/proxy. While somewhat less precise than GPS or
triangulation, this approach advantageously obviates many
of the messages between the server and MCDs necessary to
update the latter’s position. Determination of presence
within a given ad hoc network can be accomplished by, inter
alia, IP address, MAC, Bluetooth and WiFi “beacon” func
tions can also be exploited to provide position or proximity
information.
[0092] The MCD location may be reported to the server
“location”, it checks the contextual message database for
messages associated with that location. In some embodi
ments of the invention, the server 204 will further check the
af?liation of the MCD 200, and compare that with the
af?liation associated with the contextual message(s) in the
contextual message database. These operations may be
conducted in a serial manner (so as to conserve processing
bandwidth since not all locations will match, and hence no
subsequent a?iliation analysis is required), in parallel, or
combinations/permutations thereof depending on the par
204 via messages transmitted over the wireless interface via
the access points 202. In other cases, the coverage of the
ticular algorithm employed.
access point 202 may be small enough that any communi
cation with that access point will constitute being at a
particular location. In this case, the server 204 will monitor
for links to that particular access point 202 and take action
group of messages; messages may be “bundled” beforehand
based on location/affiliation as well) match the location and
based thereon. Other alternative or “out of band” commu
nication channels may also be used for communication
between the MCDs and the access points. For example, a
[0097]
If the location and af?liation of a given message (or
an af?liation on the MCD 200, then server 204 transmits the
contextual message to that MCD, preferably by way of the
wireless network and link. The message is then viewed by
the user of the MCD and/or stored for later use. It may also
be forwarded to another entity; e.g., proxy for the MCD, etc.
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
with the particular location, a message would be sent to that
[0098] In some variants, the server 204 will ?rst transmit
a short notice to the MCD 200 that contextual messages
matching the users current location and af?liations are
user contemporaneously (e.g. “Elvis performed here in
available. The user would then have the option, via input to
the MCD, to receive the entire message. The user may also
[0104] Linking between locations may also be used con
sistent with the invention. For example, a user may sign up
1969.”)
elect to receive a short summary or title of the message(s),
for a “guided tour” of a city or facility. In this case, a user
indication of source (i.e., who posted it), and so forth in
would receive directions to various locations of interests
order to enable them to decide whether to download it or not.
The server 204 would then forward the contextual message
when the request to receive the message was received,
typically via the wireless interface although another signal
ing interface or mechanism may be used (e.g., SMS mes
sage, WAP push, etc.).
(e.g., via text message or other communication mode) along
with information about those locations when the user
arrived. This service could also be used for museums, ZOOS
or other places of interest. These messages may be time
staggered and/or sequenced in a particular order, or deliv
ered en masse.
[0105]
Af?liation data under the present invention can also
[0099] Often, the contextual message comprises a text
message with information related to the place where the
MCD 200 is located. Additionally, the contextual message
may also be associated with affiliation that is shared by the
include user-speci?c or user customiZed information and
MCD. For example, if the MCD 200 is located near a
restaurant, the contextual message may include information
(eg reviews) or recommendations about that restaurant.
The reviews may be from members of the MCD user’ s social
network, from a review service to which the user subscribes,
or even just other subscribers within the carrier (service
the user’s calendar and/ or contacts list in the MCD 200. For
example, if a person on the users contact or buddy list is
located in close proximity to the current location, a contex
tual message can be generated informing the user of an
opportunity to meet that user. The user’s calendar or date
provider) network. For example, Zagat® provides restaurant
reviews as well as other information about destinations of
interest. A user could subscribe or sign up for access these
reviews and receive the contextual messages when they are
proximate to a restaurant for which a review is available.
This may also be used to alert or prompt them to the
existence of the restaurant in the ?rst place. Selective
?ltering based on theme, category, etc. can also be
employed; e.g., “download all messages relating only to
restaurants at or near this location”.
[0100]
Other contextual messages could include informa
tion about a party or other social event, or an observation.
For example, the observation could include a preferred
menu selection at the restaurant made by a member of the
user’s social network (e.g., “try the lobster . . . it’s great”).
Alternatively, the observation could include a historical
anecdote about the location.
[0101] Once the contextual message is received, the user
can view or store the message (or forward it). In some cases
the user may respond by adding their own comments or
attributes, to assist in delivering relevant contextual mes
sages from friends, advertisers, etc.
[0106] The attributes can also include information from
book functions can also be accessed (either locally at the
MCD, or remotely if such information is uploaded to the
contextual server) to determine of a scheduling con?ict
exists. This can be “two way” in nature; i.e., both the user
and the contact/buddy calendar functions can be accessed to
determine if a con?ict exists for either person.
[0107] The user may at any time elect to decide to dis
cretionally or completely activate or deactivate the contex
tual messaging service; e.g., turn off after 6:00 pm, turn on
only when within X miles of downtown San Diego, etc.
[0108] As noted elsewhere herein, the de?nition of “loca
tion” may vary signi?cantly with different embodiments of
the invention. For example, in some embodiments of the
invention, the location can be de?ned as an area of a certain
siZe; e.g., a ten-meter circle. In other instances, the location
would be de?ned as a larger area, on the order of 50 meters
from a particular coordinate. It may also include for example
a relative distance (geographic proximity), or even logical or
psychographic proximity (e.g., within X meters of one of the
user’s “buddies”). In other instances, the location could be
a pre-existing feature, structure (e.g., building), address,
other annotations (e.g., camera phone pictures, audio clips,
block or city. Irregular shapes or cognitively associated
etc.) to the text message. This message could be forwarded
regions such as neighborhoods could also be de?ned as
locations e.g. “downtown”, “Southbeach” or “the historic
district”.
[0109] The siZe of a particular location can vary, and/or be
coupled with the type of location. For example, an internal
location in a building could have a smaller “siZe” associated
therewith, while an exterior or outdoor location could have
back to the server for later transmission to other users. The
message would include the corresponding location informa
tion and any af?liation information. Such messages will
typically include source, or provenance, information as well.
[0102] In some instances, the message may be ad hoc or
pre-stored statements from other members of the user’s
social network about the particular location. For example, a
user could leave a message about an establishment indicat
ing it is approved by other members of his/her social
networking group, or that they should “stay away,” or “avoid
at all cost.”
[0103] Attributes can also include “tags”, which are labels
that indicate a topic or other attribute of interest of the user.
For example, a user may be interested in historical churches.
When the user passes a location with the tag “church,” a
contextual message (or notice of such a message) may be
delivered to the user. Or a user may be interested in public
?gure, and if a tag associated with that public was associated
a larger siZe, as might a moving location (e.g., car). This may
also be made a function of the local features or topography;
i.e., somewhere that has a clear view around it in all
directions might be given a larger “siZe”, while obstructed or
close-in points of interest might have a larger scale (smaller
area). The siZe of the location may also simply vary with the
siZe of the point of interest. Only when a user was within the
location, as de?ned by the siZe of that location, would a
matching contextual message be identi?ed and transmitted.
[0110] In some embodiments of the invention, the siZe of
some locations (including a “default” setting or settings
based on the type of location/point of interest) can be
US 2008/0045236 A1
speci?ed by the user. This can be accomplished by selecting
a con?guration or preference parameter using the input/UI
of the MCD, for example. A user could specify a preference
for a larger “location” de?nition and thereby receive greater
number of messages. Conversely a user could specify a
preference for a smaller location and thereby receive a feWer
number of messages all else being equal. Similarly, the user
can specify one siZe for a ?rst type, a second siZe for a
second type, and so forth (e.g., 20 m for restaurants, 40 m
for historical points of interest, etc.).
[0111]
In other embodiments of the invention, advertisers
or other entities can use this service to push personaliZed
messages and information to the user on an opt-in basis (e.g.,
af?rmative selection or rejection by the user). These could
include information about offers or specials as Well as
promotionals/coupons or incentives. The service could be
provided on a user fee basis, as a premium feature as part of
a given subscription package or incentive program, or the
source advertisers or other entities could ?nance the service
themselves (e.g., on a per-delivery or per-vieW basis).
Myriad other approaches Will and permutations Will be
recogniZed by those of ordinary skill provided the present
disclosure.
[0112]
When a user Want to leave one or more messages
relating to a particular “location”, he/she can be connected
to the server 204 through the Internet and/or by Way of the
Wireless netWork, including sending SMS, WAP or other
messages to leave text, voice, video or image content. In one
embodiment, the user can specify the “size” of the location
that should be associated With a given message or group of
messages. Alternatively, the system can assign a default siZe
based on the type of location as described above, and/or
based on the type of message (e.g., “high priority” messages
might be given a larger siZe than routine or ordinary tra?ic),
or other parameter (such as psychographic proximity4one
might Want to assign a different area siZe to a family member
than merely a professional or business acquaintance). The
location associated With the message could be the current
location of the MCD, or the user can specify a different
Feb. 21, 2008
delivers personaliZed contextual messages, thereby provid
ing increased utility to that user. This value is further
enhanced by only providing message that have an af?liation
that is also shared by that user. This increases the likelihood
that the user Will receive messages that are both useful and
timely to that user. Contextual messages may be left by
members of the user’s social netWork, individuals, busi
nesses, universities, other institutions, advertisers, and so
forth. Messages can be voice, video, text and graphics
delivered to mobile phones, PDA’s or other devices With
Wireless connectivity, although it Will be recogniZed that
Wireline connectivity may be used to practice the invention
as Well (such as Where the user plugs into or logs onto a
centraliZed communication node or device).
[0116] As noted above, in some embodiments of the
invention, the contextual messages are not delivered unless
the user issues a request from the MCD (so-called “deliver
permissive”). That is, the user Would arrive at a particular
location, and then issue an affirmative request (or fail to
acknoWledge a “ping” or query from the server for such
delivery Within a prescribed period of time, etc.) for any
contextual messages. The request issued by the user may be
for just a certain type of message (e.g., those from a
particular source, those of particular genre (as indicated by
an associated message identi?cation code or descriptor), for
just the titles/sources of some or all of the messages, or for
all messages With an af?liation shared by said user. The
messages Would then be delivered to the user for viewing on
the MCD according to this delivery ?lter or mask function.
Such masks can also be pre-stored Within the server and/or
MCD, (e.g., Pro?le 1, Pro?le 2, etc.), so that the user need
not recreate them and can change betWeen them rapidly if
desired.
[0117] In accordance With a preferred embodiment of the
invention, the messages are persistent and in effect “hang
over” a given location, Waiting to be retrieved by interested
users upon being apprised by their device that there are one
location, or proximity, or other such location-related param
or more messages associated With the location (subject to
eter.
any masking as previously described). The messages pref
[0113] A “bounceback” feature can also be employed
Within the MCD 100 (and server 204), Wherein a scripted or
erably are identi?ed by their provenanceisocial netWork or
unscripted “reply” is generated by the user and left for the
originator of the ?rst message. Advantageously, this function
can be initiated by the receiving user regardless of their
current location; the server 204 in the exemplary embodi
ment simply remembers the location and association infor
choices set by users.
[0118] Such messages may also have a predetermined or
deterministic persistence or “lifetime”, such as Where the
relevance of the message is of ?nite duration. Hence, in one
embodiment, the server 204 is con?gured to remove or ?lter
mation associated With a message, and When instructed to
messages based on a persistence parameter (e.g., duration of
reply, leaves the reply message at the location of the original
message (“location” in this context can mean a physical
location, proximity to a reference point, etc. as previously
described). Hence, a replying user might be noWhere near
the original message location When this function is initiated,
yet the server Will leave the reply at the designated location
other sourceidepending on the preferences and opt-in
posting or availability), Which can be speci?ed by the
message sender or source, the target user (receiver), or a
union of both (i.e., Boolean logical “AND”). This persis
tence or duration can also be determined algorithmically;
e.g., based on tags or metadata associated With the message,
regardless.
either in the form of: (i) explicit duration or persistence
parameters present in the metadata, or (ii) evaluation of the
[0114]
metadata (e.g., one or more keyWords, etc.). As an example,
Advantageously, pre-formatted or scripted mes
sages can be recalled and sent in a “one touch” fashion, such
a message relating to a sporting event on Date XX/YY/ZZ
as a “reply” icon on a GUI or FFKISFK key on the MCD
might be ?ltered based on metadata containing such date,
100 that alloWs a rapid reply of a designated type (e.g., “Got
Wherein the local clock reference indicates that Date
your message . . . I’ll get back to you ASAP” or the like).
XX/YY/ZZ has passed. Alternatively, the metadata might
[0115]
providing contextual messages to the MCD depending on
comprise “San Diego Chargers versus San Francisco 49’ers”
as part of the metadata, and the algorithm is con?gured to
that location, the exemplary embodiment of the invention
consult one or more internal or external sources (e.g.,
By monitoring the location of MCDs 200 and
Feb. 21, 2008
US 2008/0045236 A1
this game has already been played, and hence the message
messages and associated location and a?iliation information.
The contextual message(s) is/are preferably stored in a
should be removed.
contextual message database. The server may also store
[0119]
other information about the messages including the prov
enance, time of entry, type or genre (test, audio, visual, etc.),
message siZe in Kb or Mb, netWork routing information,
schedules for the current football season) to determine that
The service preferably alloWs communal posting,
retrieval and updating of information associated With geo
graphical places. This information may also include infor
mation about the relative distance of social netWork mem
associated encryption/decryption keys (e.g., public/private
key pairs), digital signatures, descriptions of encoding for
bers from a given tagged location.
[0120] The described embodiment is in some aspects
the message or its attachments (e.g., Real, AVC, MPEG-2,
similar to services Where messages may be left for one’s
etc.), and so forth.
social netWork. It combines lM (intemet messaging) pres
[0124] At step 304, the server 204 receives position loca
tion information (and af?liation information as required) for
ence aspects With the social netWork elements of recom
mendations and the reputation of those making the recom
mendation, analysis or observation. The exemplary
embodiment of the service extends and leverages the social
processed on a per-MCD basis Where one or more common
tagging paradigm and tagging services previously described,
parameters (e.g., common membership in a delivery group,
an MCD. Note that as used here, the term “MCD” may
include one or multiple MCDs; the information need not be
such as those offered by FlickrTM, del.ico.usTM and Pub
service providers, ?lters/masks, etc.) exist betWeen the
SubTM for geographic location.
MCDs.
[0121] FIG. 2a is a block diagram of content or contextual
server 204 When con?gured in accordance With one embodi
[0125] The information may be received in many Ways
including, but not limited to, by Way of messages from the
ment of the invention. The microprocessor 252 is coupled to
memory unit 260 via a bus 250. The Bus 250 additionally
MCD 200 or from the particular access point With Which the
MCD is communicating. The server 204 may also receive
information by retrieval from a database including an a?ili
ation database for a set of MCDs. The database may be local
or remote and may be identi?ed by the MCD in some
instances.
[0126] Remote or secondary sources of position location
information may also be used, such as Where a remote
couples an input system 262 (e.g., netWork operator provi
sioning or con?guration station), associated display system
264 and netWork interface 266 to the microprocessor 252.
The memory unit 250 typically includes high speed storage
elements including random access memory (DRAM,
SRAM), read-only memory (RUM) as Well as other memory
systems including ?ash memory and disk drive storage.
[0122] During operation, softWare instructions stored on
memory unit 260 in the form of one or more computer
programs are applied to the microprocessor 252 (Which also
may contain its oWn internal program/data/cache memory)
satellite netWork provides information about subscribers via
a satellite or terrestrial data channel. This approach provides
substantial independence betWeen the MCD location and the
subscriber netWork; e.g., in cases Where the subscriber
netWork may not have the capacity to perform or transmit
Which in turn controls input system 262, display system 264
and netWork interface 266. The display system 264 and input
position location information.
262 are typically used to con?gure and control the server.
and af?liation of a contextual message With the current
location and af?liation of the MCD. That is, the server
Messages and data are exchanged With other systems
[0127]
At step 306, the server 204 matches the location
(Whether local or remote) via one or more netWork interfaces
identi?es one or more contextual messages in its contextual
266. The softWare instructions control the various systems
and causes message and data to be generated in accordance
With the various descriptions and processes described
throughout the application. Separate dedicated lCs or ASlCs
message database With the same a?iliation and location
may also be used for one or more of these functions, such as
Where a separate netWork processor (NP) chipset or suite is
used in conjunction With the aforementioned netWork inter
faces and an installed networking or intemetWorking proto
col stack. For example, the server may include an Ethemet/
GBE/lO-GigE (10/ 100/ 1000/ 10000) protocol stack and
interface, FireWire (lEEE-l394) interface, USB interface,
and so forth depending on the desired con?guration and
functionality of the server. The server may also be ?tted
directly With a Wireless interface, either directly or indi
rectly, such as via a cellular MSC, or internetWorking
speci?cation as that of the MCD(s) currently being pro
cessed.
[0128] At step 307, the server 204 receives a request to
receive contextual message from the MCD. This is typically
generated by the MCD and transmitted to the server via the
Wireless interface, although, this step may be automated or
accomplished via a server initiated process. For example,
one alternate embodiment comprises the MCD or access
node (e.g., cellular base station, WiFi AP, etc.) periodically
transmitting “location” information to the server 204, and
the server analyZing this information to identify contextual
matches. Upon detecting a match and hence doWnload
opportunity, the server 204 may then initiate a doWnstream
message to the MCD (or base station, AP, etc.) to alert the
function (IWF). Hence, any modality Which can timely
user to the presence of the message(s). This can be a separate
deliver the relevant messages to the user can be used
textual or other message, pop-up WindoW, or simply signal
ing (e.g., such as Where an icon on the user’s display is
illuminated, begins blinking, etc.) or another GUI or audible
mechanism of the type Well knoWn in the art.
[0129] The aforementioned MCD-initiated request may
consistent With the invention, With “in band” cellular-based
delivery being only one of a number of different possibili
ties.
Methods
[0123]
include a particular set of af?liations for Which message are
FIG. 3 is a How chart illustrating the operation of
the server 204 in accordance With one embodiment of the
invention. The process begins at step 300, and at step 302 the
server performs the step of storing one or more contextual
being requested.
[0130] At step 308, the server 204 transmits the matched
contextual message(s) to the MCD (subject to any ?ltration
or masking). Ideally, the ?ltration or masking is applied at
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