Intelligent Addressing Capability for E-mail systems
Original Publication Date: 2004-May-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-May-05
AbstractIntelligent Addressing Capability for E-mail systems
Intelligent Addressing Capability for E -mail systems
Users of electronic mail programs such as IBM's Lotus Notes or Microsoft Hotmail are accustomed to saving contacts in an 'address book' for later lookup and usage.
To simplify sending e-mail to a set of users these programs commonly allow the user to set up 'distribution lists' consisting of a name and a subset of the contacts in that person's address book. For instance, a user might set up a dist list called DEPARTMENT that holds all the people he works with that share his manager.
Dist lists work well when the subset of names is one that the user will want to use again and again, but are cumbersome to set up if used just once, and are also prone to getting 'out of date' quickly. As such, users that have need to contact widely differing subsets of contacts are not greatly assisted by their address book. For example, in the DEPARTMENT dist list, if people are constantly joining and leaving the dept., the list would need to be continually updated.
The notion of 'public' dist lists helps minimize the impact of such situations.
There are times, however, when a user wants to send e-mail to a subset of users based on some property of their stored profile, such as locality, instead of based on predetermined sets of contacts. This would be useful, for example, in quickly advising users within some geographical radius that a weather advisory was taking effect for the area or that a power outage is scheduled for the neighborhood, etc. Users might also want to send e-mail to all users based on some complex set of criteria, such as names starting from A to D with known phone numbers that are within 40 miles.
Proposed is an automated algorithm that would be constructed as part of the address book (AB) component of an e-mail system.
To enable users to send e-mail to users within a geographical radius, the address book would be able to query an address server (such as MapQuest, for example) to determine the distance of users from a targeted central address (as-the-crow-flies or best-street-driving algorithms) or via GPS attributes, for instance. In this way, a user is empowered to send an e-mail to a street address and radius. The address book could be enabled to cache this locality information to reduce the number of times it needs to query the server for information (e.g. if a user sends an e-mail to all users within a 50 mile radius and then all users within a 40 mile radius of the same address, the AB might not need to ask the server for the same distance information again).
Proposed also is a preferred method for the user to specifying the e-mail recipient criteria. The user could set up a request to the AB using logical constructs such as AND, OR, NOT, etc., and comparison operands like LESS THAN, GREATER THAN, EQUAL, etc., to define fields and their associated filters.
Example: suppose the AB has these four fields:
NAME ADDRESS PHONE GENDER (M/F)
The user could set up a...