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Virtual Meeting Curtain Disclosure Number: IPCOM000201322D
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-10
Document File: 3 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a system and method to ensure confidentiality during conference calls by allowing the chairperson to not only be aware of and identify incoming participants after the call has begun, but also decide whether or not to allow the caller to join the meeting. The core element of the invention is a virtual curtain that allows a call to be open or closed to new participants at the discretion of the chairperson.

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Virtual Meeting Curtain

Many business interactions occur over conference calls and topics vary in levels of urgency, severity, and confidentiality. Most conference calls utilize a conference number or line designated to the chairperson of the meeting. This designated line usually remains unchanged and available to the associated owner for a given period of time, which enables the user to host conference calls on-demand.

The drawback to this continuously available service is that another user may mistakenly dial into an impromptu conference call, or may dial into a scheduled conference call early, and find that a previous call is still in progress. Speakers on the call may not immediately react (and stop talking) upon hearing the indicator (e.g., beep) that a new party has entered the conference call. In which case, the uninvited caller may accidentally gain information not meant for them. To secure privacy and confidentiality, a method is needed to screen accidental participants from conference calls.

Existing art places more focus on consecutive conferences, where people aren't allowed to hear the previous conference calls and are put on hold. Previous art addresses back-to-back conference calls. This disclosure focuses on a conference call in progress, and the ability of the chairperson to manually control new participants' access to the call.

The disclosed solution is a system and method to close a conference call based on criteria deemed necessary to prevent anyone outside of a select group from joining the call in progress. The system also allows the meeting chairperson or other included participants to identify new callers through a virtual curtain: a feature that shows joined participants who is calling in to the meeting, but does not reveal to the caller who is already on the call.

The core idea is to create a system and method that includes an optional enablement of a virtual meeting curtain that allows a new caller to join an existing meeting only after being allowed by the chairperson. With the disclosed invention, the chairperson can lock the meeting after the conference call begins. Anyone attempting to join after that point must receive approval from the meeting chairperson.

For example:

User A joins the conference call 10 minutes late. The discussion has begun and the chairperson has locked the call. User A receives a ping from the chairperson asking whether the joining indicator (e.g., beep) was generated by him. The chairperson wants to verify that User A should join the call.

Using the scenario above, the solution works as follows fo...