Method for Constructing an Ad-Hoc Conference Call Using a Meet-Me Conf. Server
Original Publication Date: 2011-Mar-21
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2011-Mar-21
See attachment for "Terms" definitions. --- The idea is to provide the more feature rich Ad-hoc conferencing functionality to the subscriber base using a widely-available, generic meet-me server and a dose of SIP UA special sauce. The SIP UAs in this idea are the user devices (mobile phones, desktops, laptops, etc.). The special sauce is the following: (1) The SIP UA acting as the ad-hoc conf. initiator solicits the ad-hoc conf. participants from its human end-user. (2) The SIP UA acting as the ad-hoc conf. initiator then sends a SIP data message to the target conf. participants. This SIP message commands each participant's SIP UA to establish a new SIP session with the meet-me conf. server. Hence this data message must include the meet-me server connection address (e.g., a telephone number or a SIP URI) and the conference initiator's unique conference ID. This data message can be a "SIP MESSAGE" (RFC 3428) with proprietary headers enveloping the meet-me conf. call address and ID. This meet-me conference address and ID are configured into the SIP UA by the human end user. (3) The participant UA first requests permission from the end-user on whether or not to accept the conf. request. If ok, this UA then initiates the connection to the meet-me server given the conf. initiator's provided meet-me conference address. This participant UA can visually present the conference ID to the end-user for manual overdialing into the meet-me confernece at the appropriate meet-me conference voice prompt. At this point, functionality is identical to the generic meet-me conference most people are familiar with. If the user decides not to join the conf., the UA response to the SIP Message request with a negative ack. (4) The SIP UA acting as the conf. initiator will keep track of which targets have accepted the conf. invitation and which ones have declined. This info is available to the initiating end-user to know who he/she is talking to once the conf. call audio commences.
By Greg Dykes
Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Ad-hoc conferencing (i.e., 3-way calling with the possibility of adding even more participants) is an attractive alternative to scheduled, pre-configured Meet-me conferences due to its ability to invite conference participants dynamically and commence conferencing at the moment in time that suites the needs of the conference initiator.
However, Ad-hoc Conference Servers are less prevalent in the industry than Meet-Me Conference Servers. So the initiative behind this idea is to make ad-hoc conferencing functionality more widely available by making it work using a generic, widely-available Meet-Me Conferencing Server.
1) An "Ad-Hoc Conference Server" is an audio bridge plus the signaling necessary to allow an endpoint to specify the ad-hoc conference participants and commence the audio conference in a dynamic, real-time fashion.
2) A "Meet-Me Conference Server" is an audio bridge which relies on out-of-band advertisement of a contact phone number and password that pre-invited parties dial to join the static conference call. It is envisioned that this subscription-free service is a part of most existing PBXs.
Ad-hoc conferencing is only available when a server capable of establishing an ad-hoc conference is deployed. Across the industry, it is clear that:
(1) ad-hoc conference servers are relatively new and far from ubiquitous.
(2) ad-hoc conference servers (if available) are devoid of SIP standards thus hindering solution providers (telephony vendors) from deploying ad-hoc conference solutions across the industry in a standard manner.
The solution provides ad-hoc conferencing functionality using "enhanced" SIP UAs and run-of-the-mill Meet-Me Conference servers, thus making the attractive ad-hoc conferencing functionality more widely available (and cost friendly) across the industry customer base.
The “enhanced” SIP UAs are compliant with the special SIP signaling defined by this solution. This special signaling exchanged between the SIP UAs triggers each UA to communicate with the Meet-Me Conference server to establish connectivity to its audio bridging services.
The SIP UAs in this solution are the user devices (mobile phones, desktops, laptops, etc.). The special signaling de...