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They Invented What? (No. 121)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on December 3, 2008

U.S. Pat. No. 7,113,911: Voice Communication Concerning a Local Entity.


What is claimed is:

1. A system for enabling verbal communication on behalf of a local entity with a nearby user, the system comprising:
         user equipment, intended to be carried by a user, comprising a wireless communication subsystem, and a contact-data input subsystem for receiving contact data;
          a contact-data providing arrangement located at the local entity for making available to a user near the local entity or to the user equipment carried by that user, contact data identifying a voice service associated with the entity but separately hosted;
          a communications infrastructure comprising at least a wireless network for communicating with the wireless communication subsystem of the user equipment;
          an audio output arrangement forming part of the user equipment, or located in the locality of the local entity and connected to the communication infrastructure;
          an audio input arrangement forming part of the user’s equipment, or located in the locality of said entity and connected to said communications infrastructure;
         a voice service arrangement for providing said voice service, the voice service arrangement being connected to said communications infrastructure such as to enable the user’s equipment to contact it over the wireless network using said contact data, the voice service arrangement being operative, in response to being contacted by the user equipment, to act as voice proxy for the local entity by signals exchanged over the communications infrastructure with the audio input and output arrangements thereby enabling a user to interact with the voice service through spoken dialog with voice input by the user through the audio input arrangement and voice output to the user through the audio output arrangement;
         controllable functionality associated with the local entity; and
         a short-range-communications arrangement comprising complimentary elements at the local entity and in the user equipment for establishing a short range wireless link between the user equipment and said controllable functionality; the user equipment being arranged to receive control data from the voice service arrangement in the course of the latter acting as a voice proxy for the local entity, and to pass on the control data via said short-range wireless link to said controllable functionality whereby to enable this functionality to be controlled by the voice service arrangement in coordination with said voice output.