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Broadly applicable method for tracking and reporting wait times or availability

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000235045D
Publication Date: 2014-Feb-25
Document File: 4 page(s) / 66K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This invention provides a method for tracking and reporting wait times or availability in a way that is broadly applicable to many venues. Venues would be able to update availability information using a centralized server, allowing increased convenience for users and greater business opportunities for venues.

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Broadly applicable method for tracking and reporting wait times or availability

Disclosed is a method for tracking and reporting wait times or availability, allowing users to save time and create an overall easier experience. The merits of this invention are best understood by examining a specific use case, though the invention can be broadly applied to many other environments. The specific use case relates to a person deciding impromptu to find the best place to go for a meal. In this connected world, many applications exist that enable a user to narrow down the restaurant choice by price, proximity, and food type. Applications also exist that allow users to make reservations at their restaurant of choice. Despite these conveniences, there are many popular restaurants that do not allow reservations or do not permit reservations without a significant amount of advance notice. This invention differs from what is currently available by outlining a method to expand the capabilities of the existing applications or develop a new cross-industry application which provides visibility to the user about wait times or availability, thereby enabling selection of a restaurant that aligns with the users availability and increasing overall user experience.

This type of invention can be broadly applied in any other venue that involves queues or waiting times. Possible applications of this invention include government service institutions, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Social Security Administration, entertainment venues, such as theaters, and various forms of public transportation, such as busses, trains, and subways. By using a smartphone application or website, users would be able to access vital information about the facility or service they plan to use. Additionally, the application can be designed to learn from the user searches thereby allowing quick follow-up queries or providing an option to alert the user based on his preferences. This type of application would be beneficial to users, as it would permit them to access information easily and translate to efficient use of their time.

For the specific examples cited, in the case of a restaurant, the user is able to find a place to eat without having a long unplanned wait. For a government service organization, the user can track wait times and plan his visit so as to avoid unplanned delays. For a public transportation, if seats are available, the user would be able to plan arrival at the train/bus stop and have a good probability of finding a seat, instead of waiting for the next train/bus or standing throughout the ride. Likewise for a movie theater, if the user had insight into available seating, the customer would be able to plan arrival so as to ensure seat availability for the show of interest.

The invention provides many benefits to the institutions, such as restaurants, government services, trains, buses, and movie theaters, that chose to track and report wait times...