sending a text message to a voice telephone
Original Publication Date: 2002-May-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
There are many occasions where you would like to send someone a text message, but that person does not have the means to receive a text message. The message could be sent from the SMS service of a mobile phone, or a two-way pager which permits the sending of messages. From the sender's point of view, they might be in a meeting and hence unable to phone the recipient, or for some reason unable to spend the time locating the recipient on a list of possible phone numbers (e.g. home, work, mobile, etc). From the recipient's point of view, they might not have a cellphone or pager, and hence would be unable to receive a text message. This invention provides a solution to that problem by offering a text to speech gateway with phone interface capability, and logic for locating a recipient from a "hunt list" of numbers. The service operates as a gateway between a text sending system (e.g. email, SMS or two-way pager) and a computer controlled telephony system capable of placing outgoing phone calls. The sender creates a text message which has the name of the recipient as a separate field (e.g. the subject line), for example "Jane", then types the message they wish to send, e.g. "I will be home at 8pm, from John". Then the sender transmits the message to a special recipient address. This would take the form of another user of the messaging service, so might be a mobile phone number in the case of SMS, or a destination pager ID, or another email address. The recipient, however, is not a person, but the gateway service that we are describing here. The gateway service receives the message, and from the sender identification (mobile number, pager ID, email address, etc), validates that that user is allowed to use the service (e.g. to enable billing, security, etc). The gateway then looks at the recipient field ("Jane" in this example), and looks in a pre-configured database to find out how to contact that person. The search returns a "hunt list" of phone numbers, in order of preference. These might represent home, work, mobile, etc. There may be extra logic to modify or reprioritise this list, based on time of day, day of week, or other influences, such as a message sent to the gateway to say where "Jane" is at a certain time. The gateway now converts the text of the message to a speech clip, using established technology. The gateway may prepend or append additional spoken words to identify the intended recipient, or that this is a machine-generated message from the text service or some other information. For example, the complete spoken message might be: "This is a message for Jane from the text gateway... I will be home at 8 pm from John.. .end of message."