Browse Prior Art Database

Cellular General Purpose User Module

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000127447D
Publication Date: 2005-Aug-30
Document File: 2 page(s) / 25K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Micheale McKay, et al.: INVENTOR

Abstract

This IDF describes a small, cellular-based device (aka “the unit”) used to communicate with appliances and devices in the home, car, garage, RV, etc. The unit allows the user to monitor and change the state of appliances and other equipment connected or available to it. The user might call the cellular phone number of the unit, enter security information, and have his or her car start so that it is warm when he/she arrives. The user might call the number and restart the heat and the hot water heater several hours prior to arriving home from vacation. The user might call the number while out of town to find that the heating system in his/her house has failed, and be able to alert the appropriate parties to repair it before returning home. When the user calls the unit, the unit responds with a pre-recorded audio greeting and prompting, and then responds appropriately to standard touch-tone signaling. Security features are provided to prevent unauthorized use. Software within the unit allows the user to create a list of connected appliances and allowable actions. This list may be created by selecting menu options for standard operations (such as: read, turn on, turn off, turn up, turn down, etc) and connected devices (furnace thermostat, water heater, sprinklers, house locks, car locks, car starter, etc.). An example of the use of the list: The user calls the unit and successfully enters the security code. The unit responds with a recorded message, such as, “You have reached the XYZ System. How can I help you? Press 1 for home temperature control, 2 for water temperature control, 3 to start your car, 4…” The list could be created using a touch-tone signaling phone or by using a small keyboard or USB interface to a personal computer. The unit has input/output interfaces that can be connected to operate various devices, including thermostat-type units and devices that operate by contact closures. One form of the unit includes an AC-switched outlet to allow control over any electrical device or appliance that may be plugged in. An environmental control version of the unit offers temperature sensing and control via contact closures of a thermostat, or it may be configured as a remote monitoring and control integrated thermostat. The unit can relay the user's command to other compatible units (which are similar to the unit, but lack a unique cellular phone number) or perform the action itself. Myriad compatible devices can be controlled by a single unit having a single cellular phone number. The unit may be a standalone device, or it may communicate to other interfaced devices via a local communication method such as standard 900MHhz or 2400 MHz wireless phone technology, IR or power line communications (PLC). The unit may be battery powered (installed in a car) or plugged into a wall (installed in a house).

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                                                                                                                                                                Sony Corporation

                                                                                                                                                                Sony Electronics Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                IPD Case # 50U8035.00

Title:

Cellular General Purpose User Module

Description of the Invention:

This IDF describes a small, cellular-based device (aka “the unit”) used to communicate with appliances and devices in the home, car, garage, RV, etc.  The unit allows the user to monitor and change the state of appliances and other equipment connected or available to it.  The user might call the cellular phone number of the unit, enter security information, and have his or her car start so that it is warm when he/she arrives.  The user might call the number and restart the heat and the hot water heater several hours prior to arriving home from vacation.  The user might call the number while out of town to find that the heating system in his/her house has failed, and be able to alert the appropriate parties to repair it before returning home.
When the user calls the unit, the unit responds with a pre-recorded audio greeting and prompting, and then responds appropriately to standard touch-tone signaling.  Security features are provided to prevent unauthorized use.
Software within the unit allows the user to create a list of connected appliances and allowable actions.  This list may be created by selecting menu options for standard operations (such as:  read, turn on, turn off, turn up, turn down, etc) and connected devices (furnace thermostat, water heater, sprinklers, house locks, car locks, car starter, etc.).  An example of the use of the list: The user calls the unit and successfully enters the security code.  The unit responds with a recorded message, such as, “You have reached the XYZ System.  How can I help you?  Press 1 for home temperature control, 2 for water temperature control, 3 to start your car, 4…”
The list could be created using a touch-tone signaling phone or by using a small keyboard or USB interface to a personal computer.  The unit has input/output interfaces that can be connected to operate various devices, including thermostat-type units and devices that operate by contact closures.  One form of the unit includes an...