Sender Managed Voicemail
Original Publication Date: 2003-Feb-12
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Feb-12
This article introduces a new method for managing and maintaining voicemail messages, namely, by providing the message storing and controlling technology at the sender's end of the communication path. In addition, this enables the opportunity to provide new functions in the context of a telephone system, such as voicemail delivery to and control of distribution lists, voicemail expiration management, voicemail delivery acknowledgement and time zone associated voicemail delivery.
Sender Managed Voicemail
Leaving a voicemail, when the intended human receiver is unavailable, has become a standard desire for human communication. With current technology, the ability for the sender to achieve this is dependent on the capabilities of the receiver. In some regards, this is presumptuous on the part of the sender, since the sender is assuming an enabling investment by the receiver, through the provision of either an answer machine or by engaging an agent (to provide a messaging service), such as in HICOM or with the BT Message Service, to hold the voicemail for later delivery.
An alternative is to store and manage the voicemail at source, that is, the sender invests in and provides the enabling technology. Further, such a capability (literally under the control of the sender) enables the provision of additional functions (noting that these functional extensions could be made to apply universally to all the solutions, if standardised protocols between the sender and the receiver and/or the agent were specified).
In general terms there are three possible solutions to the stated situation, namely the "receiver saves" the voicemail message, the "sender saves" the voicemail message, or, an "intermediary saves" the voicemail message (i.e. a go-between, such as an agent, or a broker, or a message service). It should be noted that there are two cases of the "intermediary saves" solution, namely "sender sponsored" and "receiver sponsored" (by which is meant the party who provides the enabling service technology).
The proposal identified herein is applicable primarily to the "sender saved" and the "intermediary (sender sponsored) saved" solutions. However, the functional extensions are applicable to all solutions (but, most conveniently to the "sender saved" solution).
The sender provides a device which is capable of saving voice data (e.g. a tape recorder) and which is (basically) an I/O attachment of a small specialised computer, with which the sender can interact (either by control buttons, e.g. the telephone's key pad used in specific key stroke combinations, or through voice command). Indeed, this storage device is the equivalent of the answer machine, when the (sender's) telephone is in use as a receiver.
Accordingly, the prime use is when the sender is unable to contact the receiver (who does not have the enabling technology to accept a voicemail), then the sender records the message at the sender's telephone and the specialised computer in the sender's telephone becomes responsible for the subsequent delivery of the saved message (having already captured the telephone number of the receiver).
The challenge is how the sender's telephone knows when the receiver telephone is available. The most obvious solution to this, is for...