Advanced Telephone with Smart Ringer
Original Publication Date: 2001-Apr-26
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
This invention uses information regarding when the phone was last used and the number of rings which have transpired to automatically adjust how loud and how quickly the volume of the ring increases. In the case that none of the phones associated with a particular line or telephone number was recently in use, the phones with their ringer set to LOW (and auto-ring adjust option turned on) would, for example, ring at low volume for the first two times and then if not answered would kick up to HIGH. Likewise if the volume where set to OFF and auto ring was on the phone would not ring at all the first two times, and then would ring at low for the next two times and finally kick into high. As will be appreciated, other configurations of the ringing characteristics could also be employed. There are several modes of operation that can be enabled if the phone has been recently answered. Two such modes are described below for exemplary purposes: The first mode is a single phone operation. This simply means that if someone was on this phone within the last minute, for example, then if the auto-ring adjustment is on, the phone would ring on at low volume for the first two rings no matter what the ringer setting was because since it is likely that someone is close by. Only the first two rings would be affected in this mode. The third, fourth and subsequent rings would be at whatever volume the auto adjust feature was set to, had the phone not been recently in use. Multi-phone mode If someone was just on one phone (the time period being configurable), then no matter what the volume setting of this phone was, other phones would not ring the first time (i.e., only the one phone would be audible on the first ring). This allows the person close to the other phone to pick it up and preserve the silence in the rest of the house. In the case of this mode, the phones could also know how many rings it takes for the answering machine to answer. So if the phone rang five times before it was answered, the phones would not consider the call to have been answered by another phone, and therefore would not kick into this mode. This may be referred to as an "answering machine ignore" mode. In some office environments with multiple phone extensions and cubicles or even houseold with a home office, it may not be desirable to enable the "answering machine ignore" feature described above. However, it may be desirable that a person's phone not ring as much if a recent call was just answered by the person's answering machine. If the answering machine answers a call, it is highly likely that any calls that come in the "near future" (eg. next minute) would also go to the answering machine. Therefore, why bother the rest of the group by ringing the person's phone. In this example, the phone may be muted during the "near future" period. Another situation occurs with those who have call waiting. Often and especially when the person has some hearing problem or when there is background noise on either end of the phone, it is hard for the user to detect the sound that indicates that they have an incoming call. Another part of this invention could detect the high noise levels and actually ring the phone on low if it detects this sound more than a selectable number of times (say three times).